Acclaimed Indian screenwriter Shailender Vyas jumps into Canadian culture

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

Riders were left stranded after Expo and Millennium lines of the SkyTrain stopped running in Vancouver on Monday. Arlen Redekop/PNG

Expo and Millennium SkyTrain lines restart after 4.5 hour delay

VANCOUVER DESI UPDATE (5:05 p.m.): The Expo Line has been fixed and crews are conducting a safety sweep. The line is expected to open in segments…
Continue Reading »

A hangman's gallows sits idle at the Benghazi Central Prison on March 1, 2011 on the outskirts of Benghazi, Libya. Inmates broke free of the prison during the uprising a week ago in the city. John Moore/Getty Images

Indian state offers fat pay raise in attempt to attract applicants to jail hangman job

RAMESH BABU HINDUSTAN TIMES The Indian state of Kerala is offering a pay raise worth thousands of dollars in an attempt to attract more men…
Continue Reading »

Ukrainian emergency workers carry a stretcher with a victim's body in a bag through a field at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Monday, July 21, 2014. AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky

Vancouver’s Malaysian Consulate General holding condolence signing for victims of downed Malaysian Airliner MH17

VANCOUVER DESI The Malaysian Consulate General in Vancouver is holding a condolence signing Monday through Wednesday for the victims and families of those who perished…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Riders were left stranded after Expo and Millennium lines of the SkyTrain stopped running in Vancouver on Monday. Arlen Redekop/PNG

Expo and Millennium SkyTrain lines restart after 4.5 hour delay

VANCOUVER DESI UPDATE (5:05 p.m.): The Expo Line has been fixed and crews are conducting a safety sweep. The line is expected to open in segments…
Continue Reading »

Ukrainian emergency workers carry a stretcher with a victim's body in a bag through a field at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Monday, July 21, 2014. AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky

Vancouver’s Malaysian Consulate General holding condolence signing for victims of downed Malaysian Airliner MH17

VANCOUVER DESI The Malaysian Consulate General in Vancouver is holding a condolence signing Monday through Wednesday for the victims and families of those who perished…
Continue Reading »

Narinder Kaur Kalsi, who has been on life support, since a domestic dispute at her Surrey home last week has died. Kalsi was pronounced dead just before 4:30 p.m. Sunday, said police. Her husband Beldev Singh Kalsi was arrested and charged in connection to her death. — Facebook Photo.

Surrey temple president charged with murder as wife dies in hospital after alleged domestic assault

CHERYL CHAN  VANCOUVER DESI The charge against a former Surrey temple president has again been upgraded after his wife, who suffered severe injuries in an…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Shadab (L) and Sanjana's relationship has finally been accepted by their families and they will be  getting married soon. Gagan Nayar/Hindustan Times Photo

Man in India to marry transgendered woman with both families’ blessings

VANCOUVER DESI After a nine-year relationship filled with “emotional turmoil,” a gay man in India has finally been accepted by his family and allowed to…
Continue Reading »

File photo of a worker in a jungle in Quintana Roo State, Mexico. A baby girl was found abandoned in a jungle in India. Pedro PARDO/AFP/Getty Images

Abandoned eight-month-old in India makes incredible survival in remote jungle area

CEN NEWS A group of Indian lumberjacks were shocked to find a baby girl in a remote jungle area after she had apparently been abandoned…
Continue Reading »

A screen grab of Google Maps shows the northern Indian city of Bareilly, in which Bargauna village is located, where a mother was burnt alive when she confronted burglars in her home. Screengrab/Google Maps

Mom in India burnt alive by burglars in front of five-year-old daughter

CEN NEWS Indian woman Raaka Tamasi, 30, who apparently disturbed burglars that had broken into her house in the village of Bargauna in the northern…
Continue Reading »

courtroom drama

A different kind of courtroom drama: Woman gives birth to baby girl in witness room

IANS London – A heavily-pregnant woman gave birth to a baby girl in a court in Britain after going into labour in the witness room,…
Continue Reading »

Desi stylist and wedding planner

Vancouver woman aghast when only one man among 100 shoppers at Metrotown tried to help when her purse was stolen

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI Is chivalry dead? A woman whose purse was snatched from the busy food court at Metrotown was dismayed that none of…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

basu

Bollywood stars outshine fashion at India Couture Week 2014 (w/ gallery)

NIVEDITA IANS New Delhi  – Design esthetics and creativity may have impressed fashion patrons at the just concluded Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers India Couture Week…
Continue Reading »

JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images

Sonam Kapoor unveils Khoobsurat trailer (w/ video)

IANS Mumbai — Actress Sonam Kapoor Monday unveiled the trailer of her upcoming film Khoobsurat, and said the film’s producer and director have “exposed me…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood actor and activist

Aamir Khan’s daughter organizes charity celebrity football match

IANS Mumbai  – Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s daughter Ira organized a celebrity football match to raise funds for an animal welfare shelter. The charity match…
Continue Reading »