Acclaimed Indian screenwriter Shailender Vyas jumps into Canadian culture

Published: March 22, 2014

Ritika Anand (R) and Vancouver actress Starlise Waschuk seen in a still from Three Colours + A Canvas, which is releasing in Vancouver Tuesday March 25. Submitted photo.

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

When acclaimed Bollywood filmmaker Shailender Vyas sits down to write a Hindi script he closes his eyes, turns on some music and the words just come to him.

But when it came to writing his first Canadian feature-length film, Three Colours + A Canvas, which premiers in Vancouver on Tuesday, it wasn’t so easy.

“This time when I closed my eyes I saw nothing — just black,” Vyas told Vancouver Desi.

Born and raised in India, Vyas’ work has been screened at the Cannes Film Festival and the Dubai International Film Festival. He moved to Canada four years ago and now with his wife, Ritika Anand, owns Calgary-based Vision 10 Productions Inc.

When he finally sat down to work on Three Colours + A Canvas, which centres around four friends battling drug addiction in Calgary, culture shock provided “biggest challenge” to writing the script.

“If I talk to my friend in India, the humour would be so different, the human values are so different, everything is so different,” he explained. “To frame a scene, to frame a relationship between characters, that part is more challenging more than language.”

Still accustomed India’s idiosyncrasies, Vyas needed to familiarize himself with his new Canadian surroundings.

“You can tell a drug addiction story in India, you can tell a drug addiction story in Canada,” said Anand, also a producer and actress in the film. “But how you write it . . . will be very different. For him to write a scene, you know, where two friends are talking — how would two friends talk here?”

So the pair decided to dedicate a year for research.

Vyas dove right in. He picked up a job at a friend’s convenience store in downtown Calgary where he spent the year listening to stories and making friends with whoever filtered through the store.

“It was very important for me to go out and break the shell and start to meet people,” he said. “Now I have friends from every race, every colour, every religion and I’m learning everyday.

“My perspective has changed . . . my sense of thinking was more Indian — now I think more like a Canadian.”

The storyline around addiction was also inspired by the couple’s experience as new immigrants.

“This is the land of opportunities, a land that everybody can find something to do, (so) why is there still homelessness and poverty in certain areas and addiction issues?” Anand asked. “Why do people resort to things like that when there’s so much to offer in this country, especially coming from India.”

But in their research, they found “it’s not very different from anywhere else in the world.

“A person who wants to go down that path . . . will,” Anand said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re living here, or in India, or in Timbuktu.”

Both Vyas and Anand, now settled in Calgary, plan to continue making Canadian films and may even have their sights set on Vancouver for their next venture.

Ritika Anand (R) and Vancouver actress Starlise Waschuk seen in a still from Three Colours + A Canvas, which is releasing in Vancouver Tuesday March 25. Submitted photo.

“Making films in this part of the world has more of a global approach,” Anand said. “Making them in English, mastering that art — no matter how hard it would be — would open up our audiences across the globe to tell important (stories).”

Vision 10 Productions also partnered with The Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of B.C. for the film’s Vancouver release, with 10 per cent of local proceeds going towards the organization. Three Colours + A Canvas premiers Tuesday at the Pacific Cinematheque at 6:45 p.m., with additional screenings running March 28 to 30 at 2 p.m.

lcahute@vancouverdesi.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

 

IFRAME Embed for Youtube

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,





Featured

Const. Ian MacDonald says: ‘You don’t want to see anybody carted away in an ambulance over this, and that is a very real possibility. Ric Ernst/PNG

‘It’s pride getting in the way’: Feuding Indo-Canadian youth factions worry Abbotsford cops (w/ video)

JENNIFER SALTMAN  VANCOUVER DESI  No one really knows how the conflict started. According to a number of people who are involved, in February one person…
Continue Reading »

Stone-health-Kaleem

Eight-year-old Indian boy’s swollen hands are larger than his head

VANCOUVER DESI Kaleem, an eight-year-old Indian boy suffering from a mystery condition has puzzled doctors after his hands swelled to giant proportions and are larger…
Continue Reading »

Illegitimate sex

Two sisters from India headed to the gallows for killing nine children may not be executed for some time

VANCOUVER DESI Two sisters from western India headed to the gallows this week would have become first women to be hanged in the country, but…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary named among the best places to live: The Economist

BC-Livability-Cities-Survey, 1st Writethru Correction By Linda Nguyen THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Three Canadian cities — Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary — have been named as…
Continue Reading »

BC Sikhs

Commercial vehicle safety blitz in Toronto targeted minorities: lawyer

ETHAN LOU THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — A commercial vehicle safety blitz that led to the arrest of 21 people for immigration offences targeted minorities…
Continue Reading »

Const. Ian MacDonald says: ‘You don’t want to see anybody carted away in an ambulance over this, and that is a very real possibility. Ric Ernst/PNG

‘It’s pride getting in the way’: Feuding Indo-Canadian youth factions worry Abbotsford cops (w/ video)

JENNIFER SALTMAN  VANCOUVER DESI  No one really knows how the conflict started. According to a number of people who are involved, in February one person…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Annu Gaidhu

Mississauga beauty Annu Gaidhu crowned Miss India Canada (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI Mississauga’s Annu Gaidhu was crowned Miss India-Canada at the 24th annual pageant in Toronto Saturday evening. The 23-year-old yoga instructor and aspiring child…
Continue Reading »

Best and worst places to live

Vancouver named among the best places to live, Karachi among the worst: The Economist (w/gallery)

LINDA NGUYEN THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Three Canadian cities — Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary — have been named as some of the best places…
Continue Reading »

Long fares bribe BC

Vancouver taxi driver calls for end to queue-jumping bribe scheme

Network of drivers pays hotel staff to secure long-haul YVR fares JEFF LEE POSTMEDIA NEWS A small clique of drivers at Vancouver Taxi is being…
Continue Reading »

Video footage from a surveillance camera allegedly shows a pickup truck striking Singh. Submitted photo/The Sikh Coalition.

New York police arrest man who injured Sikh father in alleged hate crime

VANCOUVER DESI New York City police arrested a man on Tuesday who allegedly drove his truck over a Sikh father last month, according to the…
Continue Reading »

Jewellery

Treasure hunter finds 50 pieces of jewellery on Mont Blanc from 1966 Air India crash (w/video)

VANCOUVER DESI A French treasure hunter has found 50 pieces of jewellery, including bracelets and necklaces on Mont Blanc belonging to passengers of an Air…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood

Aamir Khan dropped pants for ‘PK’, wonders would Salman Khan follow suit?

IANS Mumbai – It seems Aamir Khan is in the mood to rag his friend and colleague Salman Khan! The former dropped his pants for…
Continue Reading »

Ajay Devgn

‘Singham Returns’ hits jackpot on box office

IANS New Delhi – The combo of Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn has once again hit the jackpot – their latest offering “Singham Returns” has…
Continue Reading »

Indian singer Honey Singh

Yo Yo Honey Singh injured on reality show ‘India’s Raw Star’ set

IANS Mumbai – Popular rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh, who will soon be seen in a new singing reality TV show “India’s Raw Star”, fell…
Continue Reading »