Watch The ‘Trishna’ Trailer Here
Thomas Hardy’s heartbreaking Tess D’Aubervilles is set in the fictional English country of Wessex. The story has in it milkmaids, May dances, the Stonehenge and is about as English as a novel can get. When award-winning director Michael Winterbottom decided to do a modern version of Tess D’Aubervilles, where do you suppose he set it? In Rajasthan and Mumbai.
Titled Trishna, Winterbottom’s film stars Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed in the lead roles. The supporting cast includes Kalki Koechlin, Meeta Vashishth and Roshan Seth. The film will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on September 9 and last night, the trailer for the film was released. While it doesn’t answer the question of whether Pinto displays the acting chops to become the first desi heavyweight in Los Angeles, Trishna looks good.
From what we can tell, Hardy’s milkmaids and May Dance have been retained but Indianised by Winterbottom. However, there are some significant changes. For one thing, given the snippets of Kalki Koechlin and Ganesh Acharya surrounded by film crews, we’ve deduced one of the sub-plots is set in Bollywood. There are glimpses of Pinto, who plays Trishna, dancing in the countryside, at home and in clubs; dressed as service staff, and chopping vegetables in a posh hotel. This is a little different from Tess’s career trajectory of poultry keeper to milkmaid to murderer.
Also Riz Ahmed plays Jay, who is clearly Trishna’s love interest given the canoodling scenes in the trailer. However, we’re not sure if he’s meant to be Alec, the rake who ends up raping Tess, or Angel, the man who nurses a crush on Tess for years. The press release describes Jay as a British businessman who is in India to manage his father’s hotel business. We can’t wait to see whom Winterbottom turns into an Indian hotelier: the reverend or the wealthy baron.
Trishna has been shot by Marcel Zyskind, who was the cinematographer for Winterbottom’s A Mighty Heart. Shigeru Umebayashi, the man behind the haunting soundtrack of In the Mood for Love, has composed the score for Trishna while the songs are by Amit Trivedi. If all of Trivedi’s compositions for Trishna are as beautiful as the snippet in the trailer, then we wouldn’t be surprised if he gets some Oscar buzz going for him in a few months. Meanwhile, we want “I heart Michael Winterbottom” T-shirts.