Prior to "The Japanese Wife", the story of every
film the award-wining director had directed was her own.
"See, I would not be able to do anyone's story because
I have always done film on my own story. In this case Kunal
Basu and me... our mindset was similar. When I read the story,
I used to often discuss it with Kunal. I used to send him my
script at certain points. We talked over phone, exchanged SMSes,
"I found it very easy to remain true to his story while
I was fleshing it out. The film, of course, has its nuances.
For instance, he didn't give the widow (played by Raima Sen
in the film) a name in his story - as if it was a trivial character.
In the film, I have given her a name and importance to her character
too," said Sen.
Sen's story has some resemblance to Anjan Dutta's Bengali play
"Priyo Bondu", where two classmates start communicating
through letters. They continue even when they are middle-aged.
In due course, they realise they are in love with each other
but prefer to maintain the relationship over letters.
Asked to comment on that, she said: "I have also heard
'Priyo Bondhu'. There they have met each other. In 'The Japanese
Wife', they don't meet until the end of the story."
Though she has earlier acted in her directorial ventures like
"Paroma" and "Paromitar Ek Din", Sen now
finds it difficult. And that is why, she said, she roped in
Moushumi Chatterjee to play Maashi in the "The Japanese
"You know it's too much trouble directing and acting in
the same film. Even in 'Iti Mrinalini', I have acted. But here
I thought Moushumi is far more suitable than me.
"Moushumi has a very good sense of timing that makes her
a very good actor also. Her eyes sparkle all the time. I wanted
someone very vibrant and she was the only person I could think
of. Where Rahul and Raima are very shy, don't talk too much,
she is like a contrast to all of them," she added.
Sen gave instructions to Japanese actress Chigusa Takaku through
"She can't speak a word of English so I directed her through
interpreters. I don't know Japanese. Even when she came India
for shooting, we had to keep interpreters for her. A girl studying
Japanese in Santiniketan used to stay with her like a shadow.
I was scared... what if she falls sick in the middle of the
night, she won't be able to convey that to anyone."