Thursday 12 December 2019

Nigel Planer: Long-haul flights to Asia gave me inspiration for new play

He was inspired to adapt an old French comedy by Indian cinema.

Nigel Planer's latest work was influenced by his passion for Indian cinema (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Nigel Planer's latest work was influenced by his passion for Indian cinema (Jonathan Brady/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The Young Ones star Nigel Planer has said he drew inspiration for his new play from Indian films he watched on long-haul flights to Asia.

The actor has penned a modern day version of romantic comedy The Game Of Love And Chance by French playwright Pierre de Marivaux, influenced by his passion for Indian cinema.

The update, called The Game Of Love And Chai, centres on an Asian family in England and employs Bollywood song and dance.


He told the Press Association: “I toyed with the idea of updating it but until I thought of putting it into an Anglo-Indian family it didn’t work because you wouldn’t have a family like that.

“I initially got a literal translation but it’s 250 years old and a lot of French puns.

“Now it’s an Indian family with a first generation mother, some of the characters were brought up in India.”

He added: “I’m a big fan of Indian cinema and have been for a long time. I enjoyed it very much.


“A lot of the comedy in Indian movies owes a lot to Comedie-Italienne and there is a real fusion, it’s not an imposing, it’s an arrangement and a fusing.

“I had great fun finding the appropriate music trawling through YouTube songs and finding appropriate things.”

Planer said he first discovered his love of Indian cinema on aeroplanes.

He said: “It is not so much Bollywood as parallel cinema, what we could call indies. They are not like Bollywood movies, more like art films.

“I got into them on a long-haul flight, especially to Asia, I started to educate myself on long-haul flights, picking up books and downloading films.”

The actor, also known for Filthy, Rich And Catflap and Episodes, said he plans to continue writing for the stage.


He said: “I have got a couple of other things, I’ve written an adaptation of Fay Weldon’s The Life And Loves Of A She-Devil, which is a musical, written with Hannah Jane Fox who I know from We Will Rock You.

“We are going out pitching that now.”

The Game Of Love And Chai will open at London’s Tara Theatre on February 28 before a nationwide tour.

PA Media

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