India is a country where superstitions abound. More often than not, there is no basis to these stories, all it takes is a misunderstanding and they spread like wildfire.

Ganesh Shetty’s debut short film Paroksh (invisible) is an apt example of how such superstitions are born, largely out of simple human acts yet they are often attributed to supernatural forces. The noted line producer turns director with the film that is inspired by true events that took place in his native town. The beautifully shot film features Amit Sial (of Titli fame) and Pooja Upasani. It also marks the entry of Manish Mundra’s Drishyam Films into the short film genre.

We caught up with the filmmaker to know everything about the making of this thought-provoking thriller.

Ganesh Shetty

Ganesh Shetty

Paroksh is said to be inspired by true events, what was it about these events that prompted you to make it into a film?

I first read this story in a local newspaper called Kannada Malla. I was surprised with the story and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I come from a small town near Mangalore which has a lot of educational centers coming up. Yet, I have seen similar kind of stories there. Educated people like doctors and medical students also start believing in superstitions. This got me thinking that such things happen even in today’s time.

I narrated the story to some of the directors I know and suggested that it should be made into a film. But a lot of them said that there was no story as such. Then, I was narrating the story to a friend and he told me that the way I was talking about the story, describing the shoots and location, I should be the one directing the film. Initially, I was surprised as I am a typical production guy, but the more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that I should make the film. That was the starting point for Paroksh.

I made Paroksh for my people who can easily understand and relate to it

How long did it take to make the film and how did you mange the budget since this a short film?

Once I decided that I am going to direct the movie, I quit my job as a line producer and started scripting the film. This took about a month. I knew that we would need another month for the prep. I had a talk with my producers regarding the budget but they said that spending approximately two lakhs on a short film was difficult because there are no returns on these films. But I was determined to make this film.

We started looking for actors on which we spent approximately 35 days. After finalizing the cast, we started our recce. Then we had to hire technicians and there was the production aspect that needed to be handled. Initially, we were going to hire local people, but then we decided to get a team from Mumbai. The prep of the movie took approximately four months, but we shot the movie in two and a half days. As we were working on the film, the budget kept rising. On multiple occasions, I was told that I should stop because we were going over-budget. We had planned on around one and a half lakh, but the total budget of the film went upto 16 lakhs. I wanted the prep to be extremely strong. We haven’t compromised on anything. From the sound to the color grading, everything is done by some of the best people in the industry.

Shooting of Paroksh

Making of Paroksh

How has your experience as a line producer helped in the making of this film?

It has definitely helped. I have worked with more than 100 directors till now, so one gets to learn a lot. I have also worked on international commercials, so I have a lot of experience. While you are in line production, you have to work according to the point of view of the director. You learn a lot on the set as there are a million things that can go wrong and being a line producer showed me how to handle the problems.

On multiple occasions, I was told that I should stop because we were going over-budget. But I wanted the prep to be extremely strong

Can you tell us about the location, why did you decide to shoot it in your own house?

During our recce we saw around eight to ten locations in Mangalore, but did not find anything that was ideal. Finally I decided to shoot in my own house. Since it was my own house, I was very clear about the placements and had a clear idea about which shoot would be done where.

A still from Paroksh

A still from Paroksh

How did the association with Drishyam Films happen?  

I worked with Drishyam as a line producer for their film called Newton. Everybody there is like family. But I had never met Manish Mundra. I met him after my short film was complete. It was around four to six months ago that Manish saw the film and he liked it. He asked me to meet him. I met him and it was amazing, it was like my dream come true. I will now be working on two other feature films with them. One of them is a story that I wrote a couple of months back and the other is Manish’s project. We have started the pre-production for one of the films and will start shooting soon.

Educated people like doctors and medical students also start believing in superstitions. This got me thinking that such things happen even in today’s time

Since the movie deals with the concept of superstitions, do you think it will be easy for people to relate to it?

My aim is that the film should connect with everybody. In the film, there is a man who comes towards the end, he has been an employee in my house for the past 25 years. If I show him the film, he should be able to understand it and that is what I want. I made Paroksh for my people who can easily understand and relate to it. I think the idea of the film is extremely relevant today because even though people are educated they tend to believe in superstitions. So from my crew members to any common man, I think everyone can connect to the film.

Watch the film here –

Summary
Name
Ganesh Shetty
Job Title
Director