Panaji: Now, here's a Bhojpuri film with an Iranian twist. 'He', a well-received Bhojpuri film screened at the 42nd edition of the IFFI, based on a 13-year-old rag picker, has been co-written by an Iranian Master of Philosophy student Reza Dreza, who is currently studying in Pune, with the film's director Mangesh Joshi.

'Iranian and Indian cultures are quite identical. He is studying Master's in philosophy in Pune and the film's story has been given a philosophical touch. We co-scripted the story together. Reza is also my associate director in the film,' Joshi said on Wednesday. Joshi's film 'He' has been produced by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and deals with the story of a rag-picker, who leaves Bihar for Mumbai, where he lands up with a role in a short film and faces several conflicts and struggles.

 According to Joshi, the film was scripted in 2008, a year before Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionnaire' made the theme of 'rags to riches' quite literally popular.

“Me and Reza had been working on the script for quite some time. We wrote some 20 drafts before we submitted the script to NFDC,' Joshi said.

When asked why Joshi, a Maharashtrian, chose Bhojpuri as a language for his film, he said that the language suited the script best because the boy runs away from Bihar, home to the language.

“Also, we had to do it in a regional language because NFDC funds films only in regional languages,” Joshi said, adding that the entire crew had to undergo a month-long workshop learning the language and its nuances.

When asked if a serious and critically appreciated film 'He' would manage to break the 'sexy and raunchy' stigma which is associated with contemporary Bhojpuri films, Joshi said: 'One film cannot change things overnight.' The 42nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) started Nov 23 and will end December 3.

(Agencies)