Nayantara’s Necklace is a lot more than just a thriller
Jaydeep Sarkar starte
The filmmaker opens up about his latest venture, working with an interesting cast, the future of short films in India and more.
Tell us a little about Nayantara’s Necklace
It’s not really a thriller. It is a story of two women who chance upon an accidental friendship and the film delves into their desires. The story has a dark twist in the end. It is more a meditation on marriage, contemporary urban living, material ambition, friendship and life in general. Honestly, this 20-minute story is a lot more than just a thriller. I personally think it is a dark comedy.
How did you zero in on Konkana Sen Sharma, Tillotama and Gulshan Devaiah? How was the casting process? Was it easy to convince them to come on board?
Konkona and I go back a long way. We were in college together and have also done theatre together. In fact our last play was at St. Stephens College in Delhi. Similarly with Tillotama, I have a bond that goes back 7-8 years. And the story came to me from a news report that Tillotama and I were chatting about one evening. Post that I called Konkona and all of us got really excited about the story itself. Short films probably give you the liberty that feature films don’t and I am an ad filmmaker and for me to be able to say a story through films is interesting. When I narrated it to Gulshan he actually agreed immediately. Quite fortunately, the people I had in mind when I wrote the story were actually the people I ended up casting.
How was it working with Konkana after your theatre days?
The last time I worked with her was 14 years ago and both she and I have grown incredibly since then. She has gone on to become one of the most sought after actors in the industry today and a National Award winner too. But somewhere down, she is still the same actor who wants to practice her lines to perfection and do several rehearsals before the final take. And she has always been a very compassionate, empathetic person and she understood that we had limited resources so we did a lot of rehearsals before we rolled.
Since its a short film what was the preparation process like? Did you have any readings before you went to shoot?
We did a lot of readings especially on Sunday’s in the producer’s office. We sat with lots of coffee and also had dress rehearsals with the costume designer. The characters also depend a lot on how they look, so costumes were a very integral part of the film. We also listened to a lot of music to get in the mood of the film. We would sit, chill and jam on it. Because of all the groundwork we all feel a sense of ownership towards the film, thanks to the time we spent making it.
Tell us about the music. Who has composed it and what were your requirements for the music like?
The film has a lively background score. It has been composed by a young talented chap called Somesh Saha. He too primarily works in advertising and makes jingles etc. The music plays an important role too. I wanted some live instruments that Somesh got in. However, there are no vocals.
After the success of a short film like Ahalya what are your expectations from your short film? What do you think is the future for short films in India?
I’ve had a lot of fun making the film and I am happy to let the film take its own turn. As long as people watch it and love it, that itself is a good achievement. Since it is a short film there is no revenue burden so I will be gratified if people appreciate it.
With respect to the future of short films, the digital platform is definitely going to change the game. It has and will greatly encourage more producers to move towards this form of storytelling.
Where has the film been shot?
The film has been completely shot in Mumbai but it does not tell you that it was shot here. Because the nature of the story is such that it’s not place specific.
How did your association with Large Short Films happen? Did they approach you or vice versa?
The co-producer of the film, Exceed Films and I have known each other for a very long time. And when Tanvi from Exceed called me, it so happened that I had story in mind. I guess it all just fell in place.
What are the other projects that you are working on?
I am an ad filmmaker and I make commercials for a living. I just made an 8-minute short film for United Nations and that has been a very gratifying experience too, working with theatre artists and technicians. I love the short format in general and hopefully this journey will continue.