LIGHTS CAMERA ACTION – And let there be Life !
Directed by Oorvazi Irani
Starring: Sanjay Nath as Asab
Tushar Ishwar as Mantri
ASAB played by SANJAY NATH
The power of cinema ‘creating a parallel reality that does not exist otherwise’ always fascinates me, the power as a filmmaker that I can create a world with characters of flesh and blood, with ideas that take form in a real time and space in the imagination of the audience is challenging and satisfying. In my recent film “The K File” this dynamic becomes even more interesting as the lines between fact and fiction blur and fiction is used to reflect on a contemporary event that is part of our lives.
To make this world come to life, at the core of this creation is the actor. The actor breathes life into the character. The only human element of the frame I feel deserves great respect and is responsible to a large extent to make you live the experience.
The character of Asab in my film was inspired by the real life lone surviving terrorist of 26/11 Ajmal Kasab but as a filmmaker or Sanjay Nath as the actor we did not want to dress up like him or duplicate his mannerisms to play the real life terrorist. Rather we wanted to make our version of Asab, and Kasab was the starting point not the end itself. Sanjay did do his homework of observing live recordings of Kasab and tried to create a space to begin, to feel, to think to become this man(as an artist) but tried to go beyond that.
So how does the film project the lone surviving terrorist in “The K File”? The film starts at the point where in the beginning of the film we have a title card ‘…The Death sentence to the surviving terrorist was awarded by the Bombay Trial Court on 6th May 2010’ and Asab is introduced at this critical juncture with an intercut montage scene with the clips of the 26/11 attacks. The treatment of the film including the dialogue and acting introduces this character as a negative powerful force, remorseless and having a lack of conscience. While the end of the film sees him vulnerable, defeated in his own game. ‘Power from the barrel of the gun ’ is the most intense moment in the film and symbolizes the character of Asab for me as a filmmaker.
What the scriptwriter and me as a filmmaker provided Sanjay is the scenes and his character graph in the film which he has beautifully engaged as an actor and made it his own. In his own words Sanjay says “I loved each scene, as each was totally different from the other. What was most intriguing was the constant scope of transforming with each scene – beginning with no remorse and madness, moving to helplessness and surrender. From here the negotiator the cunning fox (the Mantri) arises his inherent nature, full of deception and trickery the Minister plays this nature to his advantage to trap him. This causes the character Asab to leap back to madness again by the power of the gun”.
I gave Sanjay a lot of freedom to create his character and emote and interpret the scenes. I loved his input of ‘contrast’ that he uses in his acting to match each scene. There is a calmness in the jail scene while an explosion of madness in the hostage drama. I remember telling Sanjay about the Jihad Zindabad scene on the shoot, ‘this scene is the most intense and is the peak of your madness’ and he delivered powerfully to meet the demands of the scene.
In Sanjay’s own words “I loved the illusion, Asab the character feels totally in control till the twist in the climax of the film and the last scene is my personal favourite”. I would like to draw your attention here to how his breadth is key to the impact of this scene which is highlighted in the sound design of the film.
Asab will live on in the imagination of my audience and comparing him with Kasab does little justice to this performance. The ending moments of the film are powerful and Asab as a character embodies all that we hate and want destroyed but emerging from that character is an actor I feel that truthfully brings that experience alive.
MANTRI (Home Minister) played by TUSHAR ISHWAR
“The K File” is a chamber film concentrating on two characters and their conflict and there lies the drama. The film’s point of view is objective and not subjective, and is thus not the point of view of any of the two characters.
The Mantri in my film is quite not the stereotypical conventional politician above 50 years old. But a rather handsome dynamic young Minister. Its interesting that when Sanjay introduced me to his friend Tushar for the character of the Mantri the character came to life and took a new form. The actor inspired part of the youth and charisma in the personality of the Minister. Initially I remember Tushar reading the script and being very concerned about how he should portray such a character, what really are his intentions, his desire as a backstory. The single take introductory scene of the Minister was the most challenging as it poses the dilemma and introduces his character, while the camera waits on this one actor to witness all the nuances without cutting away to the judge who is deliberately kept offscreen as a cinematic choice of not going away from the drama of these two characters.
I would give Tushar full credit that he convincingly as an actor truthfully responds to the situation and scene and keeps the audience in the dark about his real intentions. The audience is caught offguard by the Mantri and his fear turns to the telling smile as the last shot of the film. One smile says it all and the magic touch by a humble actor. When asked what is the secret of that smile he says, “ I had this dialogue running as a inner monologue – Tu jis taalaab ki machhi hai us taalaab ka main magarmach hun” and this quite sums up what his character represents in the film. So if you have not yet seen the film please go ahead and experience the intensity of Asab and the cool and charismatic calculative Mantri.
Click the link below to watch the film….all you film critics eagerly waiting your Film Reviews, Comments