UWI medical student Nadia Kandhai never set out to be a movie star. However, a random meeting on a flight to Tobago set her on the path to play Rosalie, the female lead in Green Days by the River movie, that will be screened at the gala opening of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (ttff) next weekend.
“I’m a third-year medical school student,” said Khandhai as she reflects on how she ended up playing the lead female character.
“I met Christian (James) on a flight to Tobago. He told me I looked like what he imagined Rosalie would look like, I auditioned and here I am,” said Khadhai in a media release.
She is one of just under 100 local actors that bring Michael Anthony’s beloved novel Green Days by the River to the big screen nationwide on September 27.
Though Kandhai had no acting experience, James and Michael Mooleedhar coached her to make her “feel real.”
“Rosalie inspired a boy to want to become a man, you had to see her and feel her powerful innocence,” said Mooleedhar, a UWI film school graduate.
Mooleedhar teamed up with James to win the bpTT Best Film in Development award in the 2014 ttff. Three years later, their latest project, a locally shot period movie will open the film festival.
“It’s really an honour to show our film not just at the festival, but the nation,” said James as he described the feeling of seeing the movie’s poster on show at MovieTowne Port of Spain last month.
“[This year,] 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the Green Days by the River novel so in a way, it feels like serendipity that the movie’s opening coincides with such an important milestone in our nation’s literary history,” said James. “So many of us read this book in school, I hope that parents, children and grandparents will come out to see the film.”
Speaking of her company’s support for the festival and other projects, Danielle Jones-Hunte, bpTT manager corporate communications said: “Over the years, bpTT has helped Mayaro grow and develop but we never lose sight of the natural beauty of the community and the people who live there. This film showcases the lush greenery of Mayaro as the backdrop for a coming of age story many of us know and love.
“We support local film through the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. We don’t usually do individual projects but this one was based in our host community so it took a while, but we found a way to support.”
Support also came from Look Opticians and First Citizens Bank, while bmobile retained title sponsorship of the movie.
To reconnect audiences to the characters of the novel and the beauty of the Green Days by the River movie production, bpTT is currently running a VIP ticket giveaway on radio stations where anyone can win tickets to see the film by answering questions about the book and film production.
“Over 200,000 people have viewed the Green Days by the River movie trailer online,” said Mooleedhar. “We hope that these promotions and giveaways funded by bpTT will continue to raise public interest in the film which will only stay in theatres as long as moviegoers go out to see the movie.” Thousands are expected to see the movie – including the friends and family of the key cast of characters, not the least of which is the “real” feeling Khandhai.
“I never pictured myself on the big screen. I never pictured members of the public answering questions about me to win contests,’ said Khandhai. “It’s a surreal feeling – in a way it’s like I’m coming of age because of the movie – just like my character.”