Indian actor plays German-speaking role in Austrian film - Hindustan Times

Indian actor plays German-speaking role in Austrian film

May 23, 2024 12:04 PM IST

Indian actor plays German-speaking role in Austrian film

Cannes, An Austrian film with an Indian actor speaking German, a project without precedent, is nearing completion in Vienna.

Indian actor plays German-speaking role in Austrian film
Indian actor plays German-speaking role in Austrian film

Written and directed by Indian-origin Austrian filmmaker Sandeep Kumar, the film, titled "Happy", features Mumbai-based actor Sahidur Rahman in the role of an illegal immigrant grappling with the repercussions of a deportation notice.

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Rahman, a National School of Drama, Delhi, alumnus, was in Karan Tejpal's "Stolen", which world premiered at the 80th Venice Film Festival last year.

Kumar, whose last film was Mehrunisa, reveals that the lead actor learnt the German language for four months before the shoot got underway.

"I had first contacted a busy Mumbai actor to play the lead role in 'Happy'. He liked the script but his other commitments prevented him from boarding the project.

"Sahidur has done an incredible job," Kumar told PTI on the sidelines of the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

"I have had idea in my head since 2012," Kumar reveals. "Newspaper sellers in the subways and other spaces of Vienna are mostly immigrants from the subcontinent who lead precarious lives," says the filmmaker who is putting finishing touches to "Happy".

Kumar had a documentary in mind to begin with but as he interviewed people and heard their stories, he decided to turn it into a fiction film. "I felt I would be more at ease making fiction. Documentary filmmaking is not my forte, he says.

A large number of illegal immigrants were deported from Austria in 2023. "The time was ripe. I simply had to tell the story," says Kumar.

"Happy" revolves around the protagonist's relationship with his nine-year-old half-Austrian daughter. "The film is about his struggles to find happiness for himself and his daughter in the face of the prospect of being deported from Austria," says Kumar, who grew up in Delhi.

"The film also focuses on people around the protagonist who have it all but still have to fight to achieve happiness," says Kumar.

Sandeep Kumar's "Mehrunisa", starring the late Farrukh Jaffar, played at the International Film Festival of India Goa in 2021 before travelling to various other festivals.

Backed by the Austrian Film Commission, "Happy", which also has a smattering of Hindi and English, is set for a festival run followed by a theatrical release later this year.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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