Actors Gulshan Devaiah, Kalki Koechlin, Monica Dogra and director Ahmed Roy speak to Minority-Review’s Sailesh Ghelani about an interesting short film they’ve worked on just for the love of it.
Gulshan, who recently acted in Ram-leela (read that interview here) has a chat with us first:
So Gulshan ol’ boy what’s this short film you worked on?
Severing Ties is a film written by Ahmed Roy. He was hanging out with a bunch of us one evening and struck upon an interesting idea for a short film. Initially I wasn’t even supposed to be in it, since Ahmed didn’t know I was an actor. Kalki told him to cast me, as I was one of the people present that day when he was struck with inspiration. Ahmed sent us the script and me and Kalki immediately agreed. Monica Dogra joined the cast once Ahmed came down to India to prepare for the production.
Who’s this Ahmed Roy chappy?
Ahmed Roy is a young filmmaker from Birmingham – or Brummy as he likes to call it – in the UK. I got on with him from the get go and that made it so easy to work with him. He has very strong and interesting ideas and I think he’ll blossom into a fine storyteller. He can rap too!
And what’s the story about?
The story is about a jealous spat after an evening with friends that ends with tragic consequences. Me and Kulkster (how I lovingly refer to Kalki) are a married couple and Monica Dogra is our good friend.
So it’s not a big budget production…
Ahmed raised the money for this film through crowd funding and I think he has done a great job. We wrapped up shooting in 3 days in Mumbai.
You and Kalki have been friends for a while now. Tell us something about her.
Kalki and I have been friends for 6 years. She is one of my closest friends. Knowing each other really well helps create more details in our onscreen work. She is fabulous as an actor and I’ve seen her grow right from her early days on stage to where she is now. We have very few women actors who are as good an actor as they are gorgeous. She is one of them.
You’ve worked with Kalki before but how was Monica Dogra to work with?
It was my first time working with Monica. We had a wonderful time rehearsing and filming our sequences. She is a very talented woman and a hell of a performer as Shaa’ir and Func (her electronic music band with Randolph Correia). I think initially she thought I had a wicked sense of humour but soon found out that I am full of bad jokes!
Actor Kalki (read our last interview with Kalki here) also spoke to Minority-Review about the film and her co-star/friend Gulshan Devaiah:
“I’m looking forward to seeing how the film shaped up. It was a tricky story with difficult characters and layers. Also, it was my first time working with Monica Dogra, who is so much fun to work with.”
She adds: “Gulshan is always a pleasure to have as a co-star. He is so professional and stays calm on sets, unlike me who gets stressed! He knows how to look after me.”
Last seen in Aamir Khan’s Dhobi Ghat, actor Monica Dogra tells us about her part:
How did you learn about this film and why did you do it?
A casting director for this film called me. He told me I fit what the director was looking for. Ahmed was such a cool guy, we had six-hour long meetings. I was aware of Kalki and Gulshan’s work and was interested in the process of creating this piece of work. When you’re an artist you’re focused on the joy of creating.
How was it working with Kalki and Gulshan?
I didn’t expect it to be so great. They’re the kind of people I’d want to hang out with.
What else have you been upto?
I’m shooting a film called Mastaan. I’m focusing on my music right now.
I read on twitter (https://twitter.com/Shaair) that you’ve had a tough week…
I often feel like a hamster on a wheel. At the end of it I feel like a psychotic overly ambitious woman. I’m doing a juice cleanse this week!
Director of the short film, Ahmed Roy:
You’ve studied and lived in the UK and now you’re in India. Is it difficult getting jobs in filmmaking there?
It’s a very tightknit community in England. You really have to start off at the bottom. You’ll serve two years serving tea, and they’re the lucky ones. I spent my time directing/editing music videos. I was a one-man band.
You’ve used Kickstarter to crowd fund your film…
It didn’t do much in terms of finances to be honest. I ended up paying for equipment. All the key players just did it for the love of film.
How do you plan to release it and promote it?
Film festivals and anywhere I can take it.
How was it working with these actors?
Amazing to work with all of them. Gulshan is a very professional actor and he’s not selfish. He thinks about the whole of the film when he’s acting. Kalki is brilliant; she’s a one-take actress. Monica is very good looking on screen apart from being a good actor too.
What plans after this?
I love India; they’re very welcoming here. I have an idea for a feature film.
PS: All photographs are courtesy Gulshan Devaiah and his Nokia Lumia 920!