The Jakarta Post
Laksmi Pamuntjak trusts the director Edwin to bring her novel to the screen. (laksmipamuntjak.com/-)
Indonesian novelist and food writer Laksmi Pamuntjak, whose novel Aruna dan Lidahnya (Aruna and Her Palate or The Birdwoman's Palate) was adapted into a film with the same name, praised the actors in the movie, namely Dian Sastrowardoyo, Oka Antara, Hannah Al-Rashid and Nicholas Saputra.
“When the cast was assembled, I was amazed,” said Laksmi during a press conference for Aruna and Her Palate on Thursday in Plaza Indonesia, Central Jakarta. “It’s almost like writing the book with these actors in mind because they’re very suitable to play the roles.”
Laksmi, who also wrote independent eating guide Jakarta Good Food Guide, said she was so impressed that she often mistakenly called the actors by their characters' name instead of their actual name. “Sometimes when I met Oka, I’d call him ‘Farish’. Same thing happened with Dian, Hannah and Nico,” Laksmi said.
The critically acclaimed novelist said she did not interfere with the casting process. “I know [the film’s director] Edwin; I know the people he knows and his taste, so I fully believe in him, including the actors who would be selected for the roles,” Laksmi said.
Laksmi also knew that the script, written by Titien Wattimena, would be different from her novel. “But there’s something that I learned. The language of film is different [compared to books]. It’s about visual language. […] I think the script is fresh and natural. How the actors play their role is also very good,” she said, adding that she was touched when her book was made into a film.
Aruna and Her Palate novel was re-released with a new cover on Aug. 3. The cover was taken from teaser poster of the film that features the four actors.
Meanwhile, Edwin told The Jakarta Post that he had been interested in adapting the book ever since he read it. “It’s because I’m interested on the relationship between food and humans – and how they influence each other,” Edwin said.
“This book is able to give a description about humans that is close to the heart. There are also other details about Indonesian food. A tasty dish is the same as life, full with friendship, love, career, secrets and social issues. Such complexity can make us grateful of how lucky we are to be human.”
Aruna and Her Palate is scheduled to be released on Sept. 27. (kes)