Reetta Flink is called “The Messenger of Bollywood”, thanks for her hard work to make Bollywood known in Finland. In 2006, she graduated as an editor from The Tampere Polytechnic School of Art and Media. During her studies, Reetta worked as an internship in Mumbai, India, and made her final thesis about the musical scenes in Bollywood movies.
After having worked with Bollywood Frost Entertainment to bring Bollywood movies to Finland, and being one of the organizers of the first Bollywood Flash Mob in Finland, Reetta directed Ek Kahani - Love Story in 2012. It was the first Bollywood style dance theater play performed in Finland and became a huge hit.
Exactly two yeas ago you directed Ek Kahani - Love Story. What inspired you to make another play?
- The making of Ek Kahani - Love Story was an incredible experience. It was wonderful to work with talented, lovely people. Our team became so tight-knit that we still, even today, talk about the "Ek Kahani family". Last year while I was on maternity leave, I heard about the problems Indians on onsite assignments in Finland face, and inspired by their stories, I began to plan a new play. The possibility to work with familiar faces from Ek Kahani will be unforgettable!
- I get inspired from a good discussion, by movies and books. The faiths of different people are what I’m most interested in.
Is this play based on real life events, as was the previous play, Ek Kahani?
- Temporary lives is not directly based on a true story, but it is heavily influenced from many people’s life stories.
The first play Ek Kahani was almost sold out, were you surprised at its popularity?
- Yes, very! I knew that there might be demand for a play like Ek Kahani, but the fact that we had to turn people away at the door at the premier night because there were no tickets left, and that the second night the tickets were almost sold out again, surprised everyone. It was incredible!
How does this project differ from the previous?
- Fueled by the popularity of the first play, Ek Kahani, I wanted to make Temporary Lives even bigger. It was obvious for me to ask the dancers and actors from the previous play to join this new project. I also wanted to gather together several dance schools, groups, and dancers specialized in Indian dance styles as well as other persons eager to participate in such a project. I got together a massive group of 60 talented persons for Temporary Lives. And since the play itself is going to get bigger this time, it was obvious for us to get on a bigger stage. This time we are performing at Kanneltalo, in Kannelmäki.
Nowadays, most people have some time in their life studied or worked abroad. Do you think they can relate to the topics of the play, the hard times experienced when living between two different cultures?
- The play has been written so that the audience can relate to the different topics. But since it is a Bollywood style play, it portrays great emotions and colorful dance scenes.
With the experience of one play behind you, does this one feel easier?
- I think it does, because this time it’s a bit easier to expect the unexpected, and make everything smoother, for example by dividing the work tasks and making schedules. It is important this time to share the so called “silent information”, with so many new people involved.
How does a Bollywood play differ from a regular Finnish play?
- Temporary Lives has been written as a true Bollywood story, it has it all: the structure, great emotions and dance scenes featuring different styles. A traditional Bollywood movie aims to entertain the audience and that’s exactly what we are trying to do. We also want to share new point of views about Indian culture and customs with the Finnish audience through our play.
Temporary Lives is written in English. Is it easier or harder than if it was in Finnish?
- I’m actually surprised at how fluent it is to write dialogues in English. Of course the topic has a big effect. Bollywood movies and Indian culture is close to my heart and for that reason, writing is easy for me. During the acting rehearsals, directing in English does give some small problems time to time, like when I can’t come up with some words. But humor helps in many situations! During our rehearsals you can hear languages like English, Finnish, Hindi, Tamil and Kannada.
Bollywood movies are visually impressive, not to mention the exciting action scenes as well as the music. Is there anything in the movie world that you would like to see happen in the play?
- It would be so much fun to do a fantasy-like musical scene, where the hero and the heroine go on adventures in these beautiful landscapes, and the audience is left amazed at how many different sarees the heroine was wearing during the scene! Unfortunately this is not possible on a theater stage. However, colorful and big musical scenes that the Bollywood genre is well known for will be seen in Temporary Lives, expect for the wind machines!
Read previous interviews with Reetta Flink from Ek Kahani – Love StoryIntroducing: Cast & Crew
A moment with the director: Interview with Reetta Flink
Reetta's own blog:
A Blog about the Bollywood phenomena in Finland
Interview by Pia Grundström