Actor Vikram Chatterjee and film-maker Tathagata Mukherjee have teamed up for their next project Pariah, to be produced by Pramod Films and Dreams On Sale. Pariah revolves around a reclusive young man and how he gets involved in the racket of missing street dogs. The film depicts his journey towards becoming a messiah for the pariah dogs.
Essaying the titular role, Vikram Chatterjee said, “As an actor, Pariah is the most challenging character that has been offered to me so far. For the first time, I will be doing a film that has extremely critical action sequences. So, a lot of my time will be spent on physical and emotional transformation. I am going through mixed martial arts training for the last two months and will be continuing the same till we start shooting. Hope we will be able to take the audience through an emotional and entertaining journey with Pariah.”
About the film, writer-director Tathagata Mukherjee said, “Pariah is the name of the Indian street dog breed. It also means an outcast. Pariah is the story of a socially displaced man and his journey to becoming the refuge for stray dogs who are nameless and clanless just like him. While participating in various social activities, I have seen the amount of torture and pain animals go through. My film Pariah is a story of protest against injustice to these street animals.” The Telegraph chat with Vikram...
What are your expectations from this film?
The core subject of the film is about raising a voice against the injustice that stray animals face. I hope that we can create a certain amount of awareness in the people about what these animals have to face and they just don’t deserve it. Every living being that breathes has equal rights to live on this planet just as human beings do.
Tell us about the action scenes...
The film has a lot of important, critical action sequences. At the same time the film has a soul; there is a reason for the action taking place. It has a bigger cause than the action, which is fighting against the injustice that stray animals have to face across the world.
Vikram with Ador, a retriever
Why did you decide to star in this film?
I was very convinced that I wanted to do this film for two reasons. As an actor, I could see the possibility of completely breaking away from the image that I have been carrying for many of my films of late. This character is completely different from that. And secondly, I have not done action sequences as such in any of my films. This film has very critical action sequences that’ll be shot very differently. It has been styled in a very different manner. The plan is to create an impact with the action that we do. That gave me an absolute kick. That’s why I am preparing for it. I am training in mixed martial arts. I’ll continue the training till we start shooting. I am absolutely enjoying it. I don’t remember working this hard for a film in the past.
My mother, sister, and I, we all have been animal lovers for a long time. We are aware that if a stray dog goes through any form of injustice in the hands of a human being, that human being is not penalised in any manner that will make that person believe that he or she is not supposed to do that. That’s one more reason why the subject created an impact in my head. Tathagata wanted to speak about a man who through this journey of the whole film starts becoming a voice for the helpless animals, for the stay dogs. He will bring justice for them.
Tell us about your character?
He is basically a recluse. He has a strong backstory that gets revealed through the journey of this film. He is a man with no identity, nobody knows from where he came. What exactly was he doing before this. He is quiet, doesn’t interact with too many people and comes across as short-tempered.
What steps are you taking to transform your body?
Physical transformation is a very important part in the journey of this film. I am having to go through mental transformation as well. The physical transformation includes a lot of hard work in the gym, working out five to six days a week rigorously and consistently. I am following a consistent diet. It is a challenge. The audience has been exposed to cinema across the world over the last two-three years. I want to create a body language for the character that sets him apart.
We want to create an impact by the way he looks, his body language, by the way he speaks... we are still designing it. We are still trying to add layers to it. The mixed martial arts training is a lot of hard work, we are training thrice a week. It’s an interesting combination of going from a physical to emotional to mental transformation. I am a dog lover. The kind of incidents we have come across during the research of the film... some I was aware of, some I was not. So this has taken an emotional toll on me, as I got to know what some of the animals are going through out there. Some of it is unbearable. The physical transformation is tough. But the emotional journey is a lot tougher.