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'The film is universal...'

"The film is universal..."

Tête-à-Tête

Walkaway, an independent, "Bolly-Merican" film by first-time director Shailja Gupta, explores the conflict between social obligations and cultural mandates for four South Asian couples living in New York City. From single life to dating to engagement to marriage, the characters in the film struggle to maintain some semblance of sanity, while questioning their desires, choices, and engrained traditions - all in an attempt to determine whether they should stay or walk away.

We were lucky enough to interview the cast and director of Walkaway to learn more about the film:

How was it working together on this film?

Manish:I was lucky working with a beautiful and talented actress like Palavi

Pallavi:I second that I met him on day one and he was so supportive of me so having him as a friend was an integral part of shooting this film.

Walkaway is being compared to a male version of Sex and the City, what are your thoughts?

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Sanjeev:The comparison is valid, one of the things I love in sex and the city is the friendship between the 4 women, it is evident how close they are to each other and that they are always there for each other. In this movie the chemistry between the 4 guys is clearly evident. Their expression is going to be different because they are guys but what I think is absolutely evident is that the 4 guys are friends and through the sort of telling of their relationships you see how they help each other out how they are sort of there for each other and constantly in each other's lives so I think it is a valid comparison.

In the movie your characters faced a lot of obstacles and issues did you relate to any of them as a South Asian in NYC?

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Deepti: I think the film is universal in the fact that anybody and everybody faces problems whether single, married, or engaged the thing that makes this film different is that the fact that these couples or at least all 4 guys are South Asian but it is universal because it is based on relationships and everyone goes through struggles.

Shailja: I don't know if the actors personally can relate but all the characters and stories have been taken from real life experiences so that the audience will be able to relate to them.

Indian tradition and culture is important to many so do your characters try and carry on these traditions while they are living overseas or are your characters struggling to keep up the traditions and cultures?

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Manish: It's not your typical struggle against tradition and being an NRI in this country. What is wonderfully written is we all live in this country, whether we were born here or if we are from India and moved here everything is not simple as it boils down into many movies and what is great about these four stories is that you see every complexity coming out in these stories. You see that these are people who are dealing with keeping traditions but also their own values of what a marriage and relationships should be. This is more interesting to me than seeing your run of the mill arranged marriage or struggle against tradition to me which is why I think this film is worth watching.

Deepti: They all struggle but they all choose their own thing, they all come to their secure and comfortable conclusion.

Manu, you are very talented musically were you able to incorporate that into your character in this film?

Manu: Luckily our wonderful director, Shailja incorporated this as my character is a jazz singer slash a regular banker so I think we came up with something that could satisfy the jazz vision but that we could also use without running into rights problems (laughs) making it unique and really neat. It's a must see!

Cast: Can we mention how much we loved working with our wonderful director Shailja?

Manish: Working with Shailja was a really great experience because she had a very unique style that I wasn't used to as an actor and I got to learn a new style of taking direction, she has such a clear vision of what she wanted from us and exactly what story she was telling which is something I really appreciate in a director and I think she is going to be very successful with this movie!

Pallavi: I would second that sentiment I think watching that film last week everything Shailja said to me on set makes such clear sense to me. I have never met a director with such clear vision and has such insight into the psyche of South Asian women and it is amazing to see in such a young new director.

Shailja: All of these people are being recorded and are required to say nice things! (all laugh)

It's obvious that the cast of Walkaway enjoyed working together and have developed quiet the camaraderie; they were even finishing each other sentences! This kind of chemistry is exciting to see because if they are so charming and witty off screen one can only imagine how good they are on screen! Walkway is sure to be hit!

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