Nitin Raghunath on Mere Haule Dost, his upcoming indie film

Buddy films have had a long and distinguished history in Bollywood. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Kai Po Che are the recent examples of this genre, whose most salient convention is delineating the individual and collective journeys of a group of friends.

Nitin Raghunath’s upcoming indie film Mere Haule Dost deals with a group of five friends. They are in college and want to go on the Himalayan bike rally. “Since they don’t have cash, they go about trying to make money to go on the rally,” the director says, over phone.

Location matters

The film releases on June 7 under the PVR Director’s Rare initiative. The title comes from Hyderabadi slang, where ‘haule’ means ‘idiot or crazy or mad’. Set in Hyderabad, the director’s hometown, the film is largely autobiographical. The location made sense, because “as indie filmmakers you just set it where you can get resources most effectively and efficiently. Being from there, we could make it easier on ourselves.”

Since 2002, he has been making ads and corporate films, music videos and shorts. His first film Turjya was made on a shoestring budget. “We didn’t have money to buy even a used car,” he recalls. His most recent short was part of Court Metrage (short film corner) at the 64th Cannes Film Festival in 2011. Apart from the five friends, there is a sizeable supporting cast too. “We didn’t set about with a star cast in mind, although we didn’t rule out known comedians for guest roles. For the main cast, the idea was to work with unknown actors for a realistic feel,” Raghunath says. Only one of the actors, who plays a female character, is a professional. Incidentally, before the film came to be made, Raghunath created the graphic novel With Friends based on the same story. It will be launched at the upcoming Bangalore Comic Con. His next is a docu-comedy about two guys who are conspiracy-theory enthusiasts, who find out the yeti is alive.