Interview : It is an Australian film about people who are Indian : Vidya Makan

Growing up, Vidya Makan was actually more of a musical girl. She played piano from the age of three, and then went on to sing in choirs, play cello with the school orchestra and the pipe organ for school assemblies! She also played a lot of soccer growing up, and her dream was to play for Australia because She loved the sport so much. She only got into acting at around age 16, when She auditioned for the school musical and played ‘Dorothy’ in ‘The Wiz’. That’s when the acting bug caught Vidya.

The Colour Of Darkness” is releasing in India on 25th of May, 2017 & in Australia & New Zealand on 19th May, 2017.  “The Colour Of Darkness” a Indo – Australian film based on a real life incident.

How did you get this film?
Girish was actually in my hometown visiting some family friends, expressing that he had auditioned hundreds of girls for the role of Maria and couldn’t find the right fit! They mentioned that a friend of theirs had a daughter (me) who was an actor, and I subsequently flew to Melbourne to audition for the role. There was an immediate chemistry between Sahil (whos plays Giri) and I in the audition room, and something about playing Maria just clicked. I suppose the rest is history.

What are the challenges you have faced during TCOD?
Probably one of the biggest challenges at the time of filming was the fact that I was 20 years old, having to portray a character in her mid-late twenties. A lot of life and growing up happens in these crucial years, so it was quite a journey to put myself into the shoes of someone in such a specific time in their lives, which I had not experienced. I sort of had to ‘grow up’ for the role.

Share your experiences working with Girish Makwana?
The Colour of Darkness is such a personal film for Girish and therefore it was SO important to both Sahil and myself to bring authenticity to our characters. All said and done, this film is very much Girish’s story, and it was an honour to, in some way, contribute to getting aspects of his AMAZING life story out there for the world to see,in the forms of our characters.

Girish is also an extremely accomplished musician and composer, and a love for music is something that we share. It was a very special thing between Girish and I to approach much of the work with a musician’s mind.

Are you involved in any upcoming movies?
Since shooting The Colour Of Darkness, I have actually been very fortunate to have done a lot of work in Australian theatre! Last year I played the role of ‘Lil Inez’ in an Australian Tour of ‘Hairspray: The Arena Spectacular’, amongst other musicals (The Oasis, Nine) here in Melbourne. This year, I have just finished a season of a concert celebrating music by the Beatles to a sell out season in Melbourne, and I am going on to perform in a musical called ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ next month at the Southbank Theatre.

Do you think India is the most racist country in the world?
I think every country, community and group of people has its own set of ‘prejudice’s; whatever that may be towards. Race, Gender Roles, Stereotyping jobs, Sexuality- the list goes on and is endless. This is actually the whole point of ‘The Colour of Darkness’, that EVERYONE has their own flaws in their way of thinking. It’s not useful to say “who is the most racist?”, but rather “how can we, as a people, improve on loving and accepting those around us, despite our differences”. So yes, I do believe India is racist. But I also believe Australia, America, England (the list goes on) is racist. In saying that, I have also been witness to some AMAZING acts of kindness in both India and Australia, which completely derails the statement that “India is the most racist country in the world”.

What did you want to be when you grew up, and are you surprised on where you ended up?
My mother often tells me the story of when I was 5 years old, I turned to her and said, “mum, I feel the music running through my veins!”. So even though I didn’t take up acting until much later, I think I was always destined to spend my life as an artist! Even despite wanting to play soccer for Australia for many of those years!

Before the release of ‘Naine Tore’ and ‘O Piya’, the song is already hit on social media. What is your opinion?
Girish is a great director, but he is a genius musician. His music is absolutely gorgeous. I am not surprised at the amazing response to both of the songs on social media.


What is the success formula for a hit film?
In my opinion; a great story, great characters, and a great vision. My favorite films are the ones that aren’t afraid to be about the moments.

5 interesting things you want to say about TCOD?
1. It raises questions most people don’t want to ask
2. It gives answers a lot of people don’t want to hear.
3. It is an Australian film about people who are Indian.
4 It was actually a real journey for myself, learning about my culture and heritage as my character learnt about her culture and heritage throughout the shoot.
5. The fact that we have made it this far is really quite incredible. Girish started this project with close to nothing but a vision and a dream; and now we are having an international release across Australia and India. I really am lost for words, and am so proud of Girish’s efforts.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our viewers?
Please go and see our movie! Whether or not you like or agree with the film, I can guarantee that it will raise questions and discussions that you will take home from the theater. And really, that is the most important thing that we set out to do.

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