Among the many international films having their Indian Premier at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), was Australian drama ‘Hearts and Bones’ that was screened on Sunday. Directed by Ben Lawrence, the film tells the tale of a friendship that develops between a war photographer and a South Sudanese refugee.
Addressing a press conference, Australian actor, Andrew Luri, who makes his acting debut with the film, said: “Lawrence was looking for someone to play the role of a refugee and he went all over the country but he could not find the right person. Suddenly he remembered that Melbourne has a lot of members from South Sudan so he came around and one of the community leaders asked me to give my name. That is how he and I came together for this film.”
Luri who migrated from South Sudan to Australia plays the role of the refugee named Sebastian Aman who shares a similar background with the actor. Speaking about his experience, Luri said: “I know the environment and what is happening back there so it was very interesting for me to play this character. Also, it was like I am representing the refugees and I am telling people what is actually happening with them.”
He added, “The film emotionally connects with whoever is watching it. There are so many people there who do not have the way to explain something but I got the chance to explain that on their behalf. And I do it from the heart; I don’t just do it for the sake of acting in a film. I do it as something that has happened to me because it is very similar to all our stories.”
The actor also revealed that, “We shot with twins so if one was tired, we shot with the other and vice versa. We also shot in a real hospital and the cameras were set very far. Few of the doctors didn’t even realise that we were actors shooting. They would actually come and check us thinking we were patients.”
Speaking about India and Indian films, Luri said: “I am very interested to work with Indian actors because they are very popular in Sudan and I have grown up watching them. I really like it here. I am going to talk about the people and Goa in my country when I go back.”
He further added, “Indian films are highly respected in North Sudan. People there watch films at night and sometimes watch two Indian films at night. In spite of them being long, people watch them and enjoy till dawn.”
On asked if formal training is necessary for actors, he said: “You need to act from your heart. Something you learn through pain, you never forget.” Luri also spoke about his love for Hindi films. He said: “I have a collection of Hindi films at my home and I love the acting of Amitabh Bachchan.”