An experience of the absurd
Deepti Naval stars in an unusual Hinglish film Freaky Chakra
National Award-winning filmmaker V K Prakash cannot identity himself with Bollywood mainstream cinema. But he wants to be a part of 'a different tongue in Bollywood, which Indians are trying out lately'. Hence his venture, Freaky Chakra.
The film was conceived on a flight from Mumbai to Bangalore. Prakash, the director of Trends Ad Films, bounced off the idea to his team. As everyone sat huddled in the conference room, the story formed itself. The film, also produced by VKP (as he is fondly called), will star actress Deepti Naval, MTV veejay Ranvir Shourey and newcomer Sunil Raoh.
VKP's Malyalam film, Punaradivasam (1999), won National Awards in the Best Film, Best Script and Best Director categories. It also won an International Award at the Atlantic Film Festival for the Best Foreign Feature Film. It was screened at the Hawaii and Milan International Festivals too.
VKP talks about his Hinglish film to Vickey Lalwani.
How did you select your cast?
Deepti has been on the cinema circuit for a long time, her work needs no introduction. We selected her because she fits the role perfectly. Her character in the film is very unpredictable. She has not been seen in such a role before.
Ranvir's character in the film is how he is in real life --- wacky and funny! We did look at other people when it came to his role, but he was best.
Sunil is a famous Kannada film and television star. We looked extensively for this character. We held screen tests at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. Sunil's test was a clean sweep over others. He is an innocent performer --- just what we were looking for.
How was Freaky Chakra written?
It is an ensemble script, which was debated over many cups of coffee. The script and screenplay was written in a week. Then we roped in Shiven Surendranath, a friend and an ex-creative director of Leo Burnett Advertising Agency. He agreed to write the dialogues.
Tell us about the film.
The film is a four-way love story.
The most fascinating character in this light-hearted film is a slightly eccentric woman. She is a beautiful 40-year-old single woman, but always in the eye of the storm. She is highly temperamental and invites attention unknowingly. No one wants to talk to her.
She receives a telephone call every night, a call that she waits for because it sets her fantasies free for that moment. Sundaram, a retired bank officer, makes these calls secretly. He is perhaps the only person who tries to have a conversation with her --- even if it is about his imaginary illness. He goes to her house on the pretext of getting medical advice. But she does not think much of him and does not know he calls her every night.
She goes about her routine life humourlessly in this manner. Until a young boy enters her flat (and consequently her life) and a beautiful relationship develops between them.
What does Freaky Chakra mean?
Freaky Chakra is a chakra --- it is weird and wacky, serious and funny. It is an experience of the absurd. We shot on a shoestring budget for 22 days in an apartment off Richmond Road, Bangalore.
Any interesting incidents while shooting?
I used to sing this song throughout the shoot. Very soon, everyone in the unit was singing the same song. In fact, that became an anthem by the time we wrapped up the shoot.
Everyone on the unit loved singing. We had a guitar on location that Sunil and Ranvir would strum and sing along. Deepti and cameraman Mohanan are great singers too. It was one big party, till the next shot. The songs ranged from Pink Floyd to Raj Kapoor and old Malayalam songs.
Tell us about the film's music.
The music is composed by Ousepachan, an acclaimed music director from the Malayalam film industry. Music plays an important part in the film. It is pure fusion. Each character has a theme and each situation a feel.
Are you aiming for a big release?
Our sole purpose to reach the film to as many people as possible. A big or small release depends on the company that markets the film.
Are you looking at the overseas market?
Yes, because the story and humour is universal. We also want to screen it in film festivals all over the world.
When is the release?
We are looking for a September release. We will complete the post-production work in a week and then look for someone to market it.