Chandan Roy Sanyal turns hero with the edgy, quirky film ‘Prague’
The cobbled pathways, gothic architecture, museums, synagogues, palaces, cathedrals, symphony halls, ghettos and an ‘underground city’ that contrasts the new city known for its dusk-to-dawn music… the capital of Czech Republic is all this and more. Debut director Ashish R. Shukla’s film, Prague, explores the mystery of Europe’s historical city through a psychological thriller. Chandan Roy Sanyal, who plays the protagonist, is on a high with the response the film received after its screening at the 12th Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival last week in New Delhi. “All that work paid off. After we finished shooting, it took me a month to get back to my normal self. The film is quirky and edgy like the city itself,” he says.
The promos of Prague lead you into a labyrinth that characterises the city. At the heart of Prague is its lead character, an architect, who visits the city and finds himself engulfed by it.
Chandan was rehearsing for a play when Rohit Khaitan (producer), Ashish R. Shukla (director) and Sumit Saxena (screenplay writer) were talking about developing a story around the city Prague. “Sumit had visited Prague and was taken in by its culture and mysterious nature. The city lent itself to an edgy story. They spotted me rehearsing for my play and felt I’d be apt for the architect’s role,” says Chandan.
A month and a half later, Ashish returned to Chandan with the script. Chandan is known for his supporting roles in Kaminey, F.A.L.T.U and Tell Me O Kkhuda. Chandan is happy that he got to play the lead in a film that challenges formulaic films. “I don’t differentiate between mainstream and art house cinema. It’s not often that an actor gets to play such an intense role,” he says.
Chandan discussed his role with his architect friends. “I learnt that architects are almost always overworked and become insomniacs relying on caffeine and music for energy,” he states.
The Prague team had a month-long schedule in the Czech capital, shooting inside castles, museums, cemeteries, ghettos and the underground city. “We went beyond Prague and shot at the Kutna Hora bone chapel, Kafka Museum and historical ruins. When we weren’t shooting, I used to walk around the city. The climax of the film required me to have a crazy, intense look. At that time, I was overworked and hadn’t slept a wink. It suited the role,” he laughs.
As Chandan awaits the release of Prague and his other film Bombay’s Most Wanted (BMW) later this year, he says, “I have no problem in shifting between such quirky projects and mainstream films. Prague is a one-of-its-kind film.”