Bazodee is a Caribbean word meaning confused – it’s used to describe the feelings of Natalie’s character Anita, a dutiful daughter who is due to marry wealthy Bharat but has her head turned by fun loving musician Lee, played by Soca superstar Machel Montano. Will she play safe or follow her heart?
And while there are songs and dancing involved, this is not Bollywood – it’s more about the infectious rhythms of Soca music and the fun of Carnival.
“It’s a light film. I think people who see it will leave with a big smile on their faces – that and a desire to go to Trinidad and Tobago and experience carnival, the beaches, everything.”
“But at the same time it does have these themes running through it, of a sense of duty to your family, and having to choose between your head and heart. These are themes that I think lots of people can relate to, whatever their background.”
It is the first time that films from the London Asian Film Festival have come to Leicester, specially curated for the city. Phoenix is showing seven films over four days in the Leicester Asian Film Festival.
“Festivals like the London and Leicester Asian Film Festivals are really important because they’re creating a platform to tell these stories. Most of them are universal so anyone could go and see them and relate to them.”
“Without the festival I think some of these stories would be lost, and they are so wonderful and varied. A lot of the time these minority stories, actors or directors don’t get as much exposure because they are told that their stories are not relatable.”
With recent debates about diversity and equality in the film industry and the successes of films like Twelve Years a Slave and Moonlight, it feels like things are evolving.
“One of the things we’ve seen recently is that there are people out there who have been fighting for more opportunities for themselves and they are now getting them. It’s giving more people confidence to create more opportunities. But we still need more minority writers – without them we won’t be able to get our stories out.”
She laughs when I ask if she has any advice for aspiring actors and says: “I’m not sure I’m the right person to be handing out advice, but I have got very used to waiting and keeping my fingers crossed. But I’m not very good at it, I need to keep being creative keep doing things. That’s why I got into writing, something I didn’t imagine myself doing originally.”
It led to her writing a short film, which is also being screened at London Asian Film Festival. Diversity was a core issue for the producers, reflected in the number of women crew members.
“One of the things I want to see is more women in front of and behind the camera. The inspiration came from working on Bazodee, which was so diverse. You learn so much by working with different people. There were so many different nationalities but we were having this wonderful experience together.”
The Leicester Asian Film Festival runs from Thu 16 to Sun 19 Mar. Bazodee is on Sat 18 Mar at 7.30pm.