Parno‘s  ‘short’ story

Boom! Parno Mittra rewinds to the magical days of X, releasing on friday

  • Published 18.11.15

I love the idea of dreams. While my friends would dream to become lawyers, architects, doctors and what not, I dreamt of being an actor. How did I turn my dream into a reality? I stopped dreaming and woke up.

Yes I could have been someone else, playing it safe and stacking up on salary slips. But then I would have been such an unhappy soul, cribbing and complaining for the rest of my life. You know, I was never born for that kinda stuff! 
Daddy was always right: You are a diva! You were born to be an actor. 

Well, “success” is a word I sleep over a lot. As you get older, you constantly evaluate your life — what you have achieved, what you could have. But the material bit always creeps in. 

There was a time a couple of years back when I had started missing the good old days, those days when I would do anything to be in a movie and not think about what it would do for me. And X came to me at the perfect time as the mid-career reminder of what that feeling was like.

It all started with an instant connection with Pratim (D. Gupta of t2). First over coffee. With some gossip to go. And then with bacon-wrapped prawns and some more gossip. A bad movie really helped us bond. You know when you watch a bad movie together, you have the best time ever. And we did watch something quite hideous. Don’t ask me the name of the film!

And then a random call at 1am from Pratim, a friend by then, who suddenly spoke to me like a director. He asked: “You want to do this short film I’m doing?” Boom! I was a part of his film, a part of X.

There was no Ahalya back in early 2013, no big hoo-haa about short films. But for us, it was as big and ambitious a project as a feature film. A short film isn’t a film that is just short. Of course the length is shorter but it’s more detailed and, I think, someone who can tell a story in 10 minutes really, really knows what he’s doing. 

Back then I thought that just like Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbona was my feature film debut, X is going to be my short film debut. As for the big picture, I always knew that X is an amalgamation of 11 filmmakers and their visual — and verbal — desire to show to the world what K’s (our protagonist, played by Rajat Kapoor) ex-girlfriends were like. A very new take on the anthology structure where everyone is part of the same story but through different directors’ perspectives.

So how was the shoot? Well, I remember on the morning of July 3 (2013), around 7am, I drove down to the shoot clueless as to what I have to do. There were no dialogues. You have to watch the film to find out why! Pratim didn’t want me to be prepared but had planted in my head, over momos and chilli pork, a little brief on what we were about to do.

As I entered the shooting location, I realised I was going to become a part of the most exciting thing I had done so far. There were eight... just eight enthusiastic crew members. Coincidentally our segment in the film is called 8 to 8!
All team players, young and enthusiastic and ready to do anything to make the movie bigger and better and not worried about the whys, hows or whens. They reminded me of who I once was when I had started acting. Be it production design to ordering food to fixing sets to serving tea... fighting over what would be a better angle or what outfit wasn’t up to the mark.
We were this excited bunch of youngsters trying to put up the best show ever and I thoroughly enjoyed becoming a part of this family. Speaking of enthusiasm, our seniormost member, Usha Didi (Uthup), totally rocked it! I guess, age is just a number.

Now let’s get to Shiuli, the most dreamy character I have ever played. And I’ve had the opportunity to play a lot of amazing characters in the last four years of my film career. Be it a strong feminist, a naive village girl, a rich spoilt brat to the clueless silly girl or the girl with the guitar. Yet Shiuli will be the one that I’ll own. In my own way. 

Shiuli is a working woman in a city she can barely call her own and she falls in love with a man she has only imagined, bonding with someone she has only met in the folds of her crumpled sheets or in the bookmarks of a book.

Those three magical days of shoot just flew by. And then two years went by and out of nowhere I hear of our film X getting a major nationwide release. And before you know, suddenly everyone seems to be talking about it.

Am I excited? Very much. Am I nervous? Not at all. As John Lennon said: Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. 

A lot of life has happened in these couple of years. Pratim shifted cities but did fly in to shoot Shaheb Bibi Golaam, where too I have a character to cherish. For now all I can tell him is to come back soon and let’s get back to more gossip, coffee and bacon-wrapped prawns. Because honestly I miss our hangouts more than anything else.

Till then, thank you Pratim for Shiuli and X. And as Parno Mittra says: Let Y and Z happen, while we are busy making other plans!