2021 Sep 14
“My very first short film was a father-son story, and I am beyond excited that my second feature-length movie will return to this arena,” stated BAFTA-winning Welsh director Philip John, about his new venture to direct ‘Arrangements of Love’. Phillip John is renowned for directing award-winning shows like ‘Outlander’, ‘Downton Abbey’ and the current season of the ITV series ‘The Good Karma Hospital’. ‘Arrangements of Love’ is the sole Asian project, out of 41 global works, nominated at the Toronto International Financing Forum, which sits alongside the Toronto International Film Festival, where selected international and Canadian producers are brought together with international sales agents, US distributors, agents, equity financiers and executive producers, for brokered meetings and networking opportunities. Unlike the festivals held previously, which are usually a combination of in-person and online screenings, the TIFF will be held entirely online this year.
‘The Arrangements of Love’ is originally based on the best-selling novel of the same title, written by Timeri N. Murari. Murari is an Indian novelist, journalist, playwright and screenwriter. He is an author of fourteen different published popular novels, including the best seller ‘The Taliban Cricket Club’.
Sri Lankan Actress and icon, Nimmi Harasgama together with Phillip John, are writing the adapted screenplay to it. Nimmi Harasgama is an award-winning actress and writer who starred in several Sri Lankan and international productions and won the Best Performance/Best Actress.Nimmi is also quite famous for ‘Auntie Netta’, her online personality that she created. She has been commissioned by The Tamasha Theatre Company to do a one-woman-show ‘Holiday for Asylum’. Her portrayal of Nurse Mari Rodriguez in the hit UK TV series ‘The Good Karma Hospital’ and her role as the female lead in Deepa Mehta’s ‘Funny Boy’ are known to be some of her greatest recent achievements as well. Her initial plan, pre-pandemic, to produce her play ‘My Homemade Kite’, in London and New York, is what led to her meeting the head of Guru Productions, Sunita Tati, who is producing ‘Arrangements of Love’.
This story relates a Welsh-Indian man’s journey to seek out his estranged father with an out-of-the-blue visit to India. Murari expressed, “it is an intricate and subtle exploration of love; quirky and oddball it tells of the characters all looking for something – and hidden under their stories is the search for love, in its many guises. Love, after all, is the raft we all cling to in this very lonely sea in which we exist. Without it, everything else is meaningless.”
The film will be in English and will be shot in Wales and India. Post-production deals have already been signed by Guru Films with UK outfits Gelert TV and Bang Post Production. Deian Humphreys, known for ‘Doctor Who’, is said to cater to the sound design.
Nimmi shared, “exploring culture and identity within this screenplay has been my favourite part of the collaborative work with Phillip. It is all thanks to Sunita Tati and her belief in our ability to push boundaries and make something that both respects culture and challenges stereotypes that make me feel so thrilled to be a part of this Guru Productions project.”
Tati, the producer, expressed, “it has been an enriching experience to kick off this journey with the expressive and all-knowing Timeri, the writer of the book. As we went along, working with the multitalented director and writer Phil and perceptive writer Nimmi who have added so much to the project for it to take the next leap in storytelling.”
With regards to co-writing, after having worked with Phillip John for a span of 3-4 years, Nimmi also mentioned, “he’s great to work with, and it is a very easy collaboration because we’re able to fight and not fall out, as sometimes in a collaboration you need to get your point across clearly, and sometimes the other party/parties don’t necessarily agree with you. It’s great because Phillip makes it a very safe and fun space. The both of us can really express ourselves.”
Despite the initial logistical obstacles due to the pandemic, Phillip stated with excitement, “both Nimmi and I are thrilled that our project, into which we have poured the most vital of our internal organs, has been chosen to attend this distinguished TIFF forum.’’
Putting Sri Lanka on the map yet again, Nimmi Harasgama has played quite the role in making us proud!