Had it not been for the pandemic, the team behind the movie Srishti would have been busy chalking out plans to head over to Mumbai to take part in the JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2020. The film Sristhi has been selected under the India Story category and is made by a group of friends — Paul Ratnaraz, Dinesh Yadav, Kartik Parmar and Matthew Samuel — from the city.
Tipped as a festival film, Srishti is a dark and gritty story about an idealistic photographer who returns from a mystical forest and then tries to live a normal life, only to take up a job in a dumpyard for a photo assignment to get entry into an art gallery. The catch comes when he discovers that those who dwell in the wasteland are on the lookout for a bitcoin harddisk and his one accidental capture of a dying boy kick-starts a chain of events.
Admittedly, the team lucked out as they shot the entire movie before the pandemic struck. “We started shooting in April last year and spent close to three months in Kolkata, and then moved to Himachal Pradesh. We all had experience shooting short-films, ad films, and such, but shooting a feature film came with its own challenges. We were supposed to stay only 15 days in Kolkata for the location recce, but that became 3 months. We learnt along the way and were lucky to have a cast and crew that loved the script and were as passionate about making the film happen,” says Dinesh who is the executive producer.
The star cast features actors from National School of Drama and Film and Television Institute of India.
The protagonist Sumeet Thakur was most recently seen in Chris Hemsworth-starrer Extraction and their leading lady Indira Tiwari will next be seen opposite Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Netflix’s upcoming movie Serious Men. Managing with the film’s skeletal budget, the team got slum children living around the dumpyard to play key bits and taught them nuances of acting in a two month-long workshop.
The vast swathes of garbage seen in the film’s trailer are all real, says the director Paul. “The first few days of shooting were difficult, but one gets used to the smoke and smell. There are people who live and work there, burn the garbage and children who pick the rags, it’s not seen on cinema that much. So we wanted to keep it as close to reality as possible. It took me a year to write the script, and we wanted to keep it real so we kept the languages specific to the area also,” adds Paul.
The team is now busy with post-production work on Srishti and hopes to send it out to more festivals.
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