Hyderabadi film-maker Prashanth makes his short film debut with a storyline inspired by real life incidents. SYEDA FARIDA finds outs
Around 9 p.m., the graveyard near the Whisper Valley- Mehdipatnam connecting road comes alive. Amidst the tombstones is a motley crew working feverishly- shifting a tripod and a few lights. The silence is broken by sound of a few cars passing by, rustling of scripts and a `rolling' command in between. This is the day two of the short film that director Prashant Kumar plans to wrap up in about four days, shooting near Hussainsagar Lake, Banjara Hills and other locales in the twin cities. Directed by Prashant: Romans XII: XIX is an interpretation of the Biblical verse Vengeance is mine, I will repay. "It's about a riot affected Muslim guy, lone survivor from the family, who could not get justice because of witnesses turning hostile. He knows there is something wrong with the society and the way system works but is confused about which way to react, whether to go the Che Guevaran or the Gandhian way. The movie is about one night in his life, which shakes him completely and helps him select a path to follow. I was reading King James version of the Bible and around the same time was observing developments on Best Bakery and Jessica Lal cases. It all fell in place one night when I stumbled across a cover story on Jessica Lal and I decided to make this film. We are not giving any message but it is my view of how things are and that something needs to be done," he says. Playing the lead is Akshay Pratap Singh who has worked with L&T, Google and other MNCs before moving on to what he wanted to do - writing his book. "I had approached Vinay Verma for a role in his play and he told me about this film," he says. Theatre personality Vinay Verma has an interesting cameo in the flick as Baba, the protagonist's mentor. Recollects Prashant, "I approached his casting academy for artistes and found him ideal for that role and so asked him whether he could play." Earlier, Vinay Verma has acted in 16 December and a Hollywood project. Yet another interesting find here is Paul. The disc jockey who spins classic rock at a pub plays the role of a weapons dealer. The cast is matched by a promising team of film-makers. Prashant has a Masters in Mass Communications from Manipal Institute of Communications with over three years of ad and documentary film making experience- Sri Lankan Airlines, Satyam and Lumbini Park LASER concept are some of his works apart from his stint in BAG films and Sun TV. Assistant director Shadab Alam, is an ex banker from Delhi with passion for the filmmaking and theatre interests. Suresh on the camera has a Diploma in Cinematography from Satyajit Ray Film Institute with the critically acclaimed Four Curses to his credit. Shravan, editor, has had his film Blur screened at IFFI. Architect and MIT graduate Vijay Subramanium from London has worked some innovative sets for the film. "The film is not about right or wrong but is about a certain kind of belief which has got diverse people together," explains Prashant. Plans next would be "a sequel, a 70 mm project. This movie was made on a shoestring budget. But in three months we will start working on the sequel," he sums up as he gears up to release his debut on June 21.