Q1. Tell Us Something About Yourself?
I’m a French actor-writer living in Mumbai. I have a BA in acting and a BA in English Literature from Colgate University in the USA. I’ve lived in several different countries and speak four languages. I suppose that would qualify me as multicultural, although for me it’s all seamlessly part of my culture. And I love living in India!
Q2. How did your Journey Begin as a Writer?
At a very young age actually. I decided to become a writer by the age of about eight, and tried to write my first novel at nine. Writing was always going to be central to my life, even in my work with cinema. I came to Mumbai to write a feature film screenplay, and that film opened at the Toronto Film Festival and went on to win several awards at film festivals worldwide. In fact my approach to acting is, in my own mind, very close to my mental writing process. When I wrote Warrior it was like my very own epic IMAX 3D film in my head…
Q3. Olivier is an Actor, Model and Now a Writer. How did manage so many things and for you which is more difficult?
All the things I do come from passion, and none of these passions are in conflict, so none of them are difficult for me or difficult relative to each other. Practically speaking, these careers are structured such that they can all fit well together, being somewhat modular. I can shoot a film for a month, then come home and write for two months, and in the middle go and shoot as many ads as I want. I also have a fairly high degree of discipline, I don’t need to trick or force myself to do any of these things. My passion is making what might seem difficult easy.
Q4. How do you feel when your first book Published?
Although I’ve been published before, having Warrior come out in India was a particular pleasure. So much of the Warrior is influenced by my personal Indian story, having grown up in India, and the specific interface of cultures I experienced here. And having Penguin as my publisher is of course validating. I’m pleased to be a Penguin author, you just can’t find a bigger publisher, literally. At the same time I’m quite impatient, I have so much more I want to do and write, so I’m feeling kind of “Okay, great, next…?”
Q5. Tell us something About your book?
The warrior is an epic novel set in modern India. I’ve taken many elements of Indian mythology and woven them into this exciting, action-packed adventure that takes place over three days. My hero, Saam, is the son of Shiva, god of destruction, and has inherited a great deal of his father’s power. He’s like this frighteningly powerful superhero in hiding, trying to escape his past, but it just keeps coming back and dragging him into the heart of war. So he has to go to war again, this time against his own history and his own father.
Q6. You have won several awards… Tell us your experience and How do you feel?
Winning an award is lovely, it’s always nice to get that recognition and see that prize on your mantle. It can be a delightful milestone reminding you where you were at that time. At the same time I believe that full success comes from the appreciation and respect from your audience or your readers. For example, people still approach me regularly out in public and ask me about my role in 3 Idiots with a twinkle in their eye and a big smile. When they express how much they loved the role, and then pick out the details of the performance that I crafted (details that I frankly thought would go unnoticed because films are absorbed so gluttonously, and there was so much to enjoy about 3 Idiots!), then I feel I really did that successfully. And I also feel humbled by that love and respect.
Q7. Working with Bollywood Director is more difficult or With Foreign Directors?
Neither. I had actually expected there to be some kind of difference in the approach or the work culture, but in all my films I came with my interpretation of the role, and we just went ahead and shot in pretty much the identical way.
Q8. Who is your Favorite Actor? Both Hollywood and Bollywood? How was your Experience in Working with So many talented Actors In 3 Idiots..?
From Hollywood, these days I like Liam Neeson, I’ve always liked Jason Statham, and I’m interested in Ryan Gosling’s work. In the Indian film industry I always come back to Amitabh Bachchan. I had the pleasure of shooting with him last year. Such a gentleman, and such an artist…
Working on 3 Idiots felt surprisingly simple and natural. I met Raju Hirani and Aamir Khan for a meet-and-read before the shoot began, and it was a really nice and easy time, just getting acquainted with them and the scene. As I met more and more of the cast it was just one nice meeting after another. I found Kareena Kapoor to be a really lovely person and such a kind actress to work with. Boman Irani, as well as being an exceptionally courteous person, seemed always keen to play games and keep everyone laughing. Sharman Joshi was all smiles in the ironing scene, reassuring me it was okay every time I shook him harder and harder. And of course Raju Hirani, the mastermind of everything that film was and became - I thought a director of his calibre would be correcting my every word and gesture, but he was so supportive of my interpretation, and seemed to genuinely enjoy the tweaks and nuances I brought in. A real maestro, and utterly passionate.
Q9. “Suhas Tandon” Character Was loved by All… Do you enjoy this character?
Of course I did! For the film, for the scenes I did, the character was perfect. This is part of Raju Hirani’s genius, that he creates characters of apparent simplicity who then reveal such exciting complexity. Suhas Tandon was a very straight stereotype on paper, and it was great fun to take the potential of that character and stretch it to those ridiculous extremes. It’s fun to play these characters that are so different from you. I’ve played a lot of comic characters in that same vein, it’s something I enjoy doing and that audiences seem to appreciate. I’m looking forward to doing something different now, something serious and dramatic, or dark and full of action, and take audiences on a different ride through my imagination.
Q10. How did you find Penguin Publisher?
It was very straightfoward, I approached them and after a point of time they reverted with a positive. My editor has been very supportive throughout.
Q11. Who is your source of Inspiration.
My wife. She lives her life with an extraordinary amount of internal honesty and integrity, far more than anyone I’ve ever met. She’s also the most genuinely fun person I’ve known, she’s one of those rare individuals that, when she walks into a room, everyone perks up and goes, “Ooh, I want to go see what she’s talking about right now!”
Q12. Which is your favorite Genre in Writing?
Fantasy, broadly, and its many reflections and refractions through other genres of literature. Of which Warrior is an example, in my mind.
Q13. Olivier is a multi talented Person. How do you carry your success?
Hopefully well. I try not to think about how people view me in terms of success, it’s a trap to be avoided. I try to measure my success internally according to myself, how my days go, my work.
Q14. How do you market your book?
I leave that to the experts. My job is to present and represent Warrior as honestly and passionately as possible.
Q15 How do you take a negative and positive reviews of the readers?
I’ve gotten both in the past for other written work, although so far Warrior has only had positive and enthusiastic reactions. It’s always nice to get positive feedback, you can throw a little party in your head to celebrate. Negative feedback can make you wonder if you’re not smart or good enough, it can be debilitating for some people. I’ve reached a point, however, where it doesn’t particularly faze me, because I’m confident about my writing.
Q16.. From Where did you get the idea for the book “Warrior”… Have you done any research for it?
The first incarnation of Warrior was actually a feature film screenplay I wrote in 2001. I then moved to Mumbai to write a feature film for a director, became busy with that, and Warrior the script went into the drawer for some time. Around 2007 I was finding time to write, and Warrior drifted back into my life, so I decided to turn it into a novel. Once it was finished, I got busy again and back it went into the drawer. Until recently - and here we are today!
I’ve done a lot of research for Warrior. There are so many interests of mine I explored through the book: mythology, history, physics, philosophy, metallurgy, geography… A quarter of my writing time must have ended up in research, following the trails of some knowledge or other to get just the exact information I needed for a particular effect or element. And it’s been fun to investigate all that!
Q17. What message you would like to give to all the readers?
There’s no message in Warrior except the ones readers will find for themselves. I wrote the book from fun, for fun. Whatever messages I wrote in the book were entirely for me, since the process was as much about enlightening myself as it was entertaining a reader.
Olivier All the best for your book…..
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