Filipina-French actor Solenn Heussaff is a certified world traveller. Though born and raised in the Philippines, she has lived for several years in Paris to study fashion and makeup, and in between, has travelled to as many parts of the world as her wanderlust can muster.
Returning just this month from spending the holidays with her Argentinian boyfriend in his hometown of Igauzu, Solenn went straight to the promotion of her newest movie, Mumbai Love, which opens in cinemas today.
The film is very close to her heart, she said, not only because it involves two of her passions—acting and travelling—but also because it is an opportunity for her to encourage Filipinos to be more open to other cultures.
Shot mostly in Mumbai, India, the movie is described by its director Benito Bautista, as “a cross-cultural romantic comedy, and a landmark film that tackles Philippine-Indian relations.”
For Solenn, who plays the role of a Filipina jeweller who travels to Mumbai for her business and falls in love, she hopes the movie will inspire openness among Filipinos in learning and embracing different cultures around the world.
“With this movie, sana maging mas open ang mga Pilipino hindi lang sa kultura ng India, but sa kultura sa buong mundo [I hope Filipinos will be more open not just to the Indian culture, but to different cultures around the world]. I hope this will be the beginning,” she averred.
A picturesque production that captures the colorful sights and bustling sounds of Mumbai in the West Coast of India, Mumbai Love tells a story that has been told a “million times.”
“Love stories have been told a million times but we always go back to it because everyone has that chance to meet with the person they will fall in love with,” Bautista, the director, continued. “But in Mumbai Love, the movie also shows how you could also fall in love with a new city, a new culture, as well as fall in love with someone.”
Cast opposite Solenn is promising Filipino actor Kiko Matos, who portrays the role of an Indian tourist guide whom the story finds at odds with his parents’ traditional ways of agreeing to an arranged marriage.
“Kiko plays the role of Nandi, and when he meets my character, Ella, she goes on a joy ride in the beautiful city of Mumbai, and her life takes a whole new journey,” related Solenn.
In watching the movie and in visiting Mumbai, the actress happily warns viewers and travels to “expect the unexpected.”
“I’ve always wanted to go to India, and it’s always been part of my bucket list of countries to visit before I die,” the adventurous stunner revealed. “Since I’m also a fashion designer, I’ve always known that they have such beautiful fabrics, beads, stones and jewellery there, which is why I was already excited at the thought of filming in India even before I read the script!
“The city is just beautiful. Even in the streets, the women wear saris and there’s always so much going on. Everything’s just so exciting over there.”
The most important part of the movie, according to Solenn however is this, “It shows how people from two different cultures can be friends, and how they can even fall in love.”
Mumbai Love also stars Raymond Bagatsing, Martin Escudero and Ronnie Lazaro. Directed by Benito Bautista, it is produced by Capestone Pictures Inc.—a business venture of Filipino-Indian Neil Jeswani and Spanish-Filipino Neil Fabregas, and distributed by Solar Entertainment Corporation.