"It was a good experience," says Mariel Rodriguez on working with her husband Robin Padilla in their upcoming movie Tum: My Pledge of Love.
The project was shot in India. It features several Bollywood actors and also stars Robin’s daughter, Queenie Padilla and Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition Plus winner Ejay Falcon.
The movie follows the story of two lovers who struggle against the barriers of conflicting faiths, beliefs, and traditions. PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked Mrs. Padilla what it was like working with Mr. Padilla.
Mariel laughs and says it was an opportunity to test their relationship.
"When we were shooting the movie in India, tine-test yung partnership namin. Feeling ko we were able to work hand in hand."
She is all praises for Robin’s work attitude.
"Ibang klase siya katrabaho. Ngayon ko lang naintindihan na iba pala siya kapag nagtratrabaho, yung focus niya, yung passion niya, ibang klase, so medyo nag-rub off yun sa aming lahat," the Kapamilya host-actress says.
The advantage of working with the action star is that she can be herself with him and she could ask him any question: "Babe, anong gagawin ko dito?" or "Babes, saan ako, dito ba ako?"
She adds, "Siyempre, pinaka-bonus na yung inspired ako kasi kasama ko asawa ko, masaya."
Mariel has nothing but good words for Robin, whom she says, can draw a clear line between work and family life: "Mayroon siyang nilalaan na oras para sa tunay na buhay at mayroon din siya, kapag trabaho, trabaho talaga."
When asked what it was like to shoot a movie on foreign soil, she says it’s quite a challenge.
"We were there for more than a month."
She says they seldom fought because, "iba yung artista ka, actress ka, tapos iba naman yung asawa ka. Hindi yung porke’t tapos na [yung shooting], pinag-aawayan niyo pa rin, hindi naman ganoon. Kailangan hanapin yung line [which separates] yung working relationship at saka yung personal relationship."
ROAD TRIP INSPIRES MOVIE. For his part, Robin, who is director and leading man, recalls how the movie was conceptualized.
"Ang katunayan po, ang pagkakagawa ng pelikulang ito, wala po sa plano. Noong nagpi-pictorial po ako para sa Star Studio, para sa Idol, may mga pangyayari po na nagkaroon ng mga romantic moments habang nasa India kami.
"Hindi ako maka-concentrate sa aking pictorial. Ang nangyari, ang akala ko kasi ang aking pag-ibig ay di tinanggap ni Mariel... sumunod siya doon," kwento ni Robin.
They were able to come up with a concept for the movie during that five-hour journey from New Delhi to Agra.
"Habang nasa kotse kami, nagkuwentuhan kami nila Jun de Leon [photographer], hanggang sa nabuo yung istorya."
Upon returning to the Philippines, Robin relates, "E, hindi ko na nakalimutan yun hanggang umuwi na kami. Hanggang sa nakipag-meeting po ako sa Star Cinema para sa ibang proyekto. Hindi nawala sa isip ko yung napag-usapan po naming istorya."
With regards to the budget, he says, "Ipinaglaban ko na sa sarili ko yung istoryang iyon. Ako na ang humanap ng mga magpi-finance, at hiningi ko naman po yung go-signal ni Ms. Malou Santos [Star Cinema’s managing director]," whom he calls his "batchmate sa pelikulang Pilipino."
Robin stressed that the movie is a collaborative effort. "Hindi lang naman ako mag-isa dito pero siguro po, ako lang yung overall director."
Binoe (his nickname) says there are several directors who worked on the film. "Mayroon po dalawang Pilipino na associate director, si Raquel Domado and Jigs Recto and mayroon ding tatlong Indian counterpart. Bale anim po kami dito sa Tum."
With regards to the cast, "Hindi naman po ako nahirapan dahil mababait po ang aking mga artista ko, lalo na po si Queenie at si Ejay."
Did he have a hard time directing his daughter during her love scenes?
"Hindi ako nagkaproblema sa kanilang dalawa dahil sweet sila doon kahit na ako ang," he pauses, and then laughs pointing at Mariel, "tayong dalawa ang No. 1 fans nila. Pero hindi po ako ang nag-direk ng kanilang mga eksena dahil baka himatayin ako."
Robin is known for his being conservative as far as his daughters are concerned. He says he assigned Jigs to handle the sensitive scenes of Queenie and Ejay.
And what was it like working with his wife, Mariel?
"Tungkol naman sa aking minamahal, hindi po ako nagkaroon ng problema sa kanya dahil... hindi naman siya yung artista na sumasagot sa director."
He’s also very thankful for her understanding, even if "alam ko may mga pagkakataon na nakikita niya yung aking masamang temper, sinisigurado ko na yun ay trabaho lang... Pagdating namin sa aming tirahan, kami po lahat ay masasaya na, kami po lahat ay nagkukwentuhan na, kami po lahat ay magugulo na..."
For Pinoy movie buffs, the title My Pledge of Love refers to the movie that starred then screen partners Vilma Santos and Edgar Mortiz circa 1970.
Tum: My Pledge of Love is produced by Liwanag ng Kapayapaan Production Foundation and RR Foundation and will be released by Star Cinema starting April 6, 2011.