Hindi adaptation of the H’wood romantic drama The Fault in our Stars kicked off in Jamshedpur today with Mukesh Chhabra calling the shots
Roshmila Bhattacharya (MUMBAI MIRROR; July 9, 2018)

Mirror ( March 19) was the first to report that after months of scouting, Mukesh Chhabra had zeroed in on Sanjana Sanghi, seen briefly in Rockstar, Hindi Medium and Fukrey Returns, to play the leading lady opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in his directorial debut, the Hindi remake of Josh Boone’s 2014 Hollywood romantic drama, The Fault in our Stars. The film kicked off in Jamshedpur today with a 5 am shoot. “The first shot will be taken with Sanjana, who plays Kizie, and her parents in their home,” Mukesh informed from the Steel City on Sunday evening, admitting that he didn’t think he would get much sleep before D-Day. The film is titled Kizie Aur Manny, after its protagonists.

Based on John Green’s bestselling 2012 novel, The Fault in our Stars, it’s the story of a 16-year-old cancer patient who is forced by her parents to attend a support group, where she meets and subsequently falls in love with another patient who has lost a leg to bone cancer. “The very fact that the story revolves around cancer makes it seem heavy and intense. But we’ve turned it into a beautiful love story which plays out lightly between these two main characters. I’ve tried to keep it as simple as possible which is why we decided on this title that has the ring of a rhyme, like Bunty aur Babli,” explained Mukesh.

When it was pointed out to him that Kizie is not a common Indian name, he acknowledged that they had imported it from Africa because it is a perfect fit for their leading lady. Manny, on the other hand, is a common name across countries and unusual enough to spark of interest.

The first-time director pointed out that as one of Bollywood’s best known casting directors, he was sure when he met her, seven years after Rockstar, that Sanjana is best suited to play Kizie. “As for Sushant, I was the one who got him his first break, Kai Po Che! and during the shoot of PK where again I was the casting director, I had told him that whenever I directed my first film, he would be in it and he had replied that he would always be there for me. Four days ago, he reminded me of that. In an age of empty words, he has kept his promise,” exulted Mukesh.

And why Jamshedpur? He reasoned that the city happily welcomed people from across the country and gave them a home there. “So you have a South Indian living next to a Bengali family, while a Parsi and a Bihari could be neighbours. I needed a place with a small town vibe and had heard a lot about Jamshedpur from Imtiaz (Ali) and R Madhavan. When I came here for recee, I knew instantly that this was where I wanted my love story to take root,” he avered.

Rucha Pathak, Chief Creative Officer, Fox Star Studios, which is producing the romantic drama, is happy that finally the stars have aligned for their Indian adaptation of The Fault in our Stars. “We’re especially happy that the script that we’ve been developing over the last few years is seeing the start of shoot and the title itself has come so organically from the Indian characters in the film. Kizie and Manny are characters from the imagination of Suprotim Sengupta who wrote the screenplay and Shashank Khaitan who gave them wonderful voices through his dialogues. Mukesh now is going to bring them to life,” she asserted.