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‘Srishti’, a dark, twisted tale of a photographer fighting the odds

A film by a team of film students from Hyderabad finds a place among MAMI screenings

A trilingual film Srishti, made by four Hyderabadi film students has been selected for the Mumbai Film Festival organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI). under the ‘India Story’ category this year. The category presents new Indian feature films of merit and provides a platform for promotion and networking possibilities. This section of the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival focuses on diversity and bringing quality films from across the country.

'Srishti', a dark, twisted tale of a photographer fighting the odds

Srishti is a dark twisted tale of Neerav, a photographer fighting the odds to display his picture in an art gallery; fate takes him down a series of unfortunate events revealing human psyche, as his world crumbles down. Neerav, who returns from a mystical forest and tries to live his everyday life, takes up a job in a dumpyard to get into an art gallery. Meanwhile, people at the dumpyard, are on a treasure hunt for a lost Bitcoin hard disk. Matters spiral down after Neerav photographs a kid’s death for a fundraiser.

'Srishti', a dark, twisted tale of a photographer fighting the odds

Written and directed by Paul Ratnaraj the film, was conceived as a short film. Then the idea came up during a casual discussion between Paul and DoP of the movie Karthik Pramar. Paul shares, “After listening to the narration, Karthik insisted that I develop it as a feature film. He followed it up with me on developing the script until I said I was on it.”

While Paul was busy writing and developing the story, Karthik finalised the crew, bringing on board his friends from a film institute who were hungry to work on something creative. Says Karthik, “As freshers, when we approach any production house with an idea or story we are asked about the commercial gains. However, we wanted to make cinema to tell a story and explore the craft to its fullest.”

Executive producer Dinesh Yadav is a graduate from Flame University, Pune (Film & TV majors), Karthik Parmar and Abhimanyu Kumar from Annapurna film school are graduates from Annapurna film school, Hyderabad (Cinematography and editing majors respectively). While Abhimanyu and Hari Shankar are editors, Rohan Singh is the production designer for the film

Paul says, “As a film buff, cinema has become my escape from reality and nothing felt more interesting than creating a film. I worked as a writer, DoP, on various indie shorts, documentaries, and music videos earlier, so the team had confidence in me.”

'Srishti', a dark, twisted tale of a photographer fighting the odds

As the film was shot mostly in Kolkata, the team picked actors from the City of Joy. “We are all in the same age group; for all us in the team it was our first project. So we selected character actors, apart from one veteran Bengali actor,” says Mathew Kilari producer of the film. The team made Kolkata their home because major chunks were to be shot at a dumpyard there. “No amount of set designing could have got us the real feel of a place like that where people work under harsh conditions,” clarifiesDinesh. “Sound recordist Sandeep Singh from SRFTI, Kolkata did a very good job at bringing in the real feel,” adds Mathew.

'Srishti', a dark, twisted tale of a photographer fighting the odds

A small portion of Srishti was also shot on the hills of Hamta in Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 4270m. “We had to adapt to ever-changing weather conditions and logistics. The crew and the cast worked tirelessly to bring this film alive. We had a lot of fun and learning on the sets as well,” adds Paul.

The team is waiting to send the movie to other international festivals once it is screened at MAMI. “Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, most of the festivals are cancelled this year, so we are excited about next year’s screening,” said Dinesh

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