Dubai movie premiere beckons for RejctX’s Anisha Victor

Line of Descent star is in the city for film's opening at Mall of the Emirates on Wednesday


David Light

Published: Tue 26 Jan 2021, 5:44 PM

Last updated: Tue 26 Jan 2021, 5:46 PM

SHOULD WE CREDIT streaming platforms and their exposure of different nations’ cinema to the rest of the world? Time was when a “Bollywood-Hollywood crossover” was short hand for either a huge star from the Indian film industry making a cameo as an often poorly-crafted tertiary character in an American comedy or, going the other way, a washed-up LA actor donning a dodgy British accent and tatty tricorne hat to take part in a low budget period piece. Line of Descent, opening in UAE cinemas this weekend, however appears modern, gritty and genuinely interesting, filled with decent actors and believable performances. Times have certainly changed.

Directed by Rohit Karn Batra, the film brings together an ensemble star cast including Brendan Fraser alongside Prem Chopra, Abhay Deol, Ronit Roy and Neeraj Kabi. The plot explores a dysfunctional mafia family in Delhi, as three brothers fight for control of their father’s legacy all while employing an international arms dealer to do their bidding and trying to avoid an undercover cop.

The story around getting this picture to market is somewhat of its own epic. Initial filming began in 2016 when Fraser spent two weeks in Mumbai to complete his scenes, while newcomer Anisha Victor shot her part playing one of the brothers’ girlfriends in 2017. The film’s release was then delayed and, as a result of the pandemic, dropped on streaming platform ZEE5. Finally Descent is receiving the premiere and theatrical release it deserves over in the UAE today, for which Victor has travelled to Dubai to attend. The RejctX web series actor was quarantining in a local hotel when our Zoom was scheduled, having just flown in.

“Even though I have a small part in the film, when someone tells you Brendan Fraser is in it and you have grown up watching The Mummy you just say ‘yes!’” an excited Victor told us. Despite an almost three-year gap between being on set and choosing a dress for Wednesday’s event, the memories were still fresh.

“We have some really senior Bollywood actors in the film. It was a great experience for a newcomer like me back then.

“I play a girl called Sima, the third son’s girlfriend. There’s a stark difference between him and his brothers. He’s a little brat and I’m always trying to calm him down. It was so fun.”

The daughter of an Indian army colonel and growing up a confessed ‘quiet child’, Victor’s passion for acting rose early on, though she felt it necessary to conceal the desire from friends.

“It’s the only thing I wanted to do since four years old, but earlier back in India it was frowned up,” she explained. “When I was in high school I started lying to people saying I wanted to be in the army like my dad. I didn’t want another lecture.”

It appears ignoring the naysayers has paid off. Victor’s lead character Kiara in ZEE5’s RejctX, a show centred on a group of private school students tackling the issues of today including mental health problems and shaming, is a hit with two series to its name and now an international premiere beckons. The pandemic has obviously thrown a bit of a spanner in the career works, though towards the end of last year the industry began to pick up.

“2020 was a roller coaster,” Victor said. “The first three months I was in Thailand shooting for RejctX. We had to leave on the last flight out with two days’ notice. We shot right up until we left for the airport.

“Then shoots back in India stalled. It was October before I started again. I did one ad and an independent feature for a few days. I feel in 2021 my stars should align!”

More news from In The City