Cannes: Tamil and Hindi movie star Dhanush's first international film, "The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir", will feature a full-on Bollywood dance number in the company of Berenice Bejo.
While French composer Nicolas Errera has composed the film's music, Amit Trivedi has contributed three songs to the "Fakir" soundtrack.
Montreal-based director Ken Scott revealed that he was mindful of incorporating "Indian elements" because the opening portions of "The Extraordinary Journey…" are set in Mumbai.
"Knowing Dhanush's exceptional dancing skills, I wanted a great dance number," Scott said during an interaction in the India Pavilion in the ongoing 71st Cannes Film Festival.
"Berenice is a good dancer too, but she was initially somewhat nervous because these dance moves involved a different kind of choreography. But it worked out perfectly well. It is a fun number," added the director, who made the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival hit, "Starbuck".
Adapted from a bestselling Romain Puertolas novel titled "The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe", the film will open in France on May 30 before it goes into worldwide distribution.
Co-producer Aditi Anand of Little Red Car Films revealed that a July release is being planned for the Dhanush-Berenice Bejo starrer. A Tamil version of the film, keeping Dhanush's fan following in mind, will be released simultaneously.
"The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir" is about a magician-conman from a nondescript Mumbai neighbourhood who finds himself in the midst of a series of adventures across Europe when he sets off for Paris to look for his father.
Besides Dhanush and Bejo, who won the best actress award in Cannes in 2013 for her performance in Asghar Farhadi's "The Past" and an Oscar nomination as supporting actress for "The Artist" (2011), the cast of the film includes Gerard Jugnot, Erin Moriarty and Barkhad Abdi.
"This was a completely new kind of experience for me," says Dhanush, "and I had to follow an unfamiliar set of rules. Ken guided me through the process while adjusting to my methods and sometimes even my tantrums," said the actor who is currently also focused on the upcoming release of the Rajinikanth starrer "Kaala".
Did he have to effect any major changes to his approach for the "Fakir" lead role? "Not really," says Dhanush. "Em0tions are universal, so once you understand a character and its impulses, you are fine." Dhanush added: "To my mind, Fakir is an important film. The world needs more positivity today. The film delivers a strong message about the global refugee situation, but does so in a light, comedic manner." The director, on his part, described the film as fable-like with dashes of comedy.
"In an international film such as Fakir, they plan long and hard so that there is absolute clarity when the shoot begins. In fact, we were aware of minute details like the colour of each backdrop well in advance," said Dhanush.
So is a steady international career in the offing for Dhanush? The actor replied: "More than that, I am concentrating on backing good and meaningful Indian films that can travel across the world." One such film – Vetri Maaran's "Vada Chennai" – is already wrapped up. "The director is readying an international cut right now. We have received enquiries from several festivals," said the actor whose production credits include critically acclaimed independent Tamil films "Kakkaa Muttai" and "Visaranai".