Two Indians and Liv Ullmann - in one film

Dec 14, 2011 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Dec 14 (IANS) Pune-based architect Dheeraj Akolkar and Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty have taken Indian cinema to the next global level by collaborating with one of the world's most iconic actresses, Liv Ullmann, on a film.

Ullmann has been putting together a docu-feature on the life of her mentor, discoverer, lover, and companion, Ingmar Bergman who died in 2007.

She has now decided to chronicle her turbulent relationship with the Swedish filmmkaer Bergman in "Liv & Ingmar" and has got Akolkar and Pookutty to help her put together a saga that could become the most iconic love story.

"Liv & Ingmar" is being readied for the Cannes film festival next May.

Pookutty, who recently spent a week with Ullmann at Bergman's home at Faro Island in Visby (Sweden), said: "I got to know Liv Ullmann through my friend Dheeraj Akolkar. Dheeraj and I both assisted Sanjay Leela Bhansali. We became friends during 'Black' and kept in touch.

"One day Dheeraj told me about Liv's dream project which he was helping her put together. It was going to be a quasi-documentary inspired by Liv Ullman's bestselling autobiography 'Changing', a docu-fictional account of her years with Ingmar."

Akolkar was approached by Ullmann for her project. Dheeraj in turn approached Pookutty.

"We've quietly spent a good two years with Liv on 'Liv & Ingmar'. It's shaping up into a truly evocative love stories. Do you know, Liv did three films ('Persona', 'Passions Of Anna' and 'Cries & Whispers') with Bergman, then they broke up. She left him for a career outside his ambit. But she kept returning to him personally and professionally. He just couldn't imagine making one of his masterpieces without her," said Pookutty.

The best was saved for the last.

"Two days before Ingmar Bergman died, she returned to him. They spent two days at his residence on the island of Faro. Then he quietly died in her lap…What a beautiful ending to their romance! This is when I decided I had to be part of Liv Ullmann's dreams," said Pookutty, who won an Oscar for his work in "Slumdog Millionaire".

Pookutty and Ullmann have developed a durable bonding.

"I spent a week with her at Bergman's home in Faro.I was always a big fan of Bergman and Liv.This project has brought me close to both . I now know them as humanbeings, and the portrait is very gratifying," he said addding Ullmann has now offered him her directorial venture.

"Yes, after we wrap up 'Liv & Ingmar', I am doing the sound design for Liv Ullmann's directorial venture entitled 'Miss Julie', which she will direct next year."

Pookutty's contribution to the Bergman docu-fiction is far more comprehensive.

"For 'Liv & Ingmar', me and Dheeraj have surrendered ourselves completely. We are an integral part of Liv Ullmann's 'Taj Mahal' for a man who built so many imperishable edifices in cinema. Who can forget what Bergman did with Liv in 'Scenes From A Marriage' and 'Autumn Sonata'? We've brought together footage from the Bergman-Ullmann classics and recreated their love story through fictional devices."

Rasool Pookutty Pictures


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