Kajal Bagwandeen, Rahul Brijnath and Bianca Isaac on family, feuds and fame
Kajal Bangwadeen, Bianca Isaac, Rahul Brijnath (Photo: Supplied by Starburst Promotions)
Cape Town - Channel24 grabbed a coffee and "eggs benny" with Kajal Bagwandeen, Rahul Brijnath, and director Bianca Isaac ahead of the nationwide release of the local flick: 3 Days To Go.
3 Days To Go tells the story of four adult siblings, leading very separate lives, who reunite after their father suddenly dies. (Read our review here)
Together with their extended families, Riki (Rahul Brijnath), Amy (Kajal Bagwandeen), Janet (Leeanda Reddy), and Melissa (Jailoshini Naidoo) have to spend three days together in their family home, before they can spread their father's ashes and go their separate ways.
Award-winning producer Bianca Isaac (Umilio, Swartwater, Kruispad, Getroud Met Rugby) makes her directorial debut with 3 Days To Go.
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Rahul, who takes on the role of only-brother and gambling addict Riki, says the "authenticity" of the movie is what initially drew him to the project.
"It resonated with me because I know so many people like these characters in my own life, and I wanted to work on a project that added value to people's lives," he says.
I'm surprised to find out that two years before Kajal was cast as the spoilt and bratty younger sister, Amy, she was already signed on as casting director.
Looking over at Bianca, Kajal laughs, saying: "But I was drawn in by her!"
"It was daunting because it was my first time as casting director. I've been a casting associate before. It was a really big task, but sometimes you just need that push. And I got that push from Bianca. And yes, I had to audition just like everyone else for the part of Amy."
About what made her decide to act in the movie as well she says: "I have a big family, and I see this type of drama all the time. For me it was the story, it is an important story that everyone can relate to."
All three are in agreement when they say that they haven't seen a movie like 3 Days To Go on the local movie scene yet. "It's a story that crosses borders, races, and cultures," Kajal adds.
Elaborating more on their characters, Kajal points out the similarities between herself and Amy, saying: "Amy loves traveling and the finer things in life, and so do I."
But at the same time she is quick to point out the differences: "I am the eldest in my family, so I resonate more with the Janet character. I like to set a good example, I think about my family before I think about myself and that's just how I am. Whereas Amy is selfish, and only thinks about herself. Even though she doesn't mean to come across that way."
Ironically her favourite scene to film was one where Amy completely throws her older sister, Janet, under the bus in a last ditch attempt to save her own skin.
She becomes very shy, laughing: "It was such a horrible thing to do, but I enjoyed it so much and loved every second!"
Sitting next to Rahul, I could easily identify the characteristics between Rahul and Riki. Both are full of life, quick on their feet and full of jokes.
Rahul has a funny anecdote or remark to share with the waitstaff when they bring us our coffees, or ask: "Aren't you in a movie I've seen before?"
And he agrees with me, saying: "Riki and I are similar in ways. We both love people, love having fun and traveling."
But there are darker parts of Riki that was much harder to identify with, like Riki's gambling addiction and deception.
There is one particular scene when Riki ransacks his family home, and attempt to locate an item that he desperately needs to cover up for a scheme that didn't pan out.
He talks about an incident many years ago that he drew inspiration from: "When I was a kid I would go through my mother's drawers and look for 50 cents coins to go buy sweets. I would upset my mom's draws and then try to put back everything back the way it was."
"I took that little experience, and used it in the mind of an adult."
Bianca, Kajal, and Rahul had the opportunity to work with well-known Bollywood actress Lillete Dubey on 3 Days To Go, an experience they call "life-changing."
Kajal says: "When we first cast Lilette, there was a moment we panicked and thought: 'We don't have a trailer, we don't have this, and that. What do we do for this Bollywood star?' But when she arrived on set she was just so humble."
"There was one day where she had one line, and we told her she could come in later, but she stayed the whole day."
Adding on, Bianca explains: "The first day of filming we booked Lillete into a guest house, across from the first location. The rest of the cast and crew were changing in tents, and she said: 'I don't want to be here, I want to be in the tent with everyone else!'"
"She was engaged, and wanted to learn all the time, it taught me that you're never too big of a star to learn. She would question, and keep herself at the top of her game," says Rahul.
Even though all three agree that 3 Days To Go was one of the most fun sets they've worked on, the project was not without stumble blocks.
"The end scene was the most challenging," Bianca explains, adding: "When the script was ready the end scene was still 'TBC.' We had figured out how to tell the ensemble story parallel to each other. And then we asked ourselves: 'How do we end this movie?'"
"We had like five or six different endings and choosing the right one was important, but I had a lot of help."
What Bianca hopes people will take away from the movie is that: "family is important, and your family isn't as dysfunctional as you may think. We fight today, and don't talk to each other for five years, but we make up. It's okay. No family is perfect."
"I Hope that people who haven't spoken to a family member in a long time, will pick up the phone and call their loved-one after the end-credits roll."
3 Days To Go is showing in South African theatres now.
(Photos: Starburst Promotions)