Shanker Raman calls cinematography his “day job”. His new film Gurgaon, produced by JAR Pictures and starring Pankaj Tripathi, Akshay Oberoi, Ragini Khanna, Shalini Vatsa and Aamir Bashir, hit theatres on August 4.
In his first directorial outing, Raman shows different shades of urban dystopia—literal and metaphorical, grim and gloomy, dark and deep. “It’s tough to get an audience’s attention. They are far more intelligent than we think. They have been managing their lives all this while, and we can get their attention only if they stop by and care to listen to what we want to say. Gurgaon is an attempt to connect with them on issues that exist around them, but aren’t spoken about or discussed,” he says.
Gurgaon is a multi-layered story. If it talks about power play in a family against the cut-throat real estate business in the city, it also brings forth its rustic past on which mega dreams rise higher than the brick and mortar towers, predatory land deals, brazen masculinity, the brash nouveau rich, hideous civility, menacing crime rate and a skewed gender equation. Raman says the story is inspired by true events. “It’s a fictional account of the rise of a city and all that came with it.
The topography of the place underwent a drastic transformation in the last 20 years, but lies behind the growth and expansion? Gurgaon shows how a dystopian world came into existence,” says Raman, a BA from Delhi’s St. Stephen’s College. Attending film festivals during his college days kindled his passion for filmmaking. An internship at a news channel during the Babri Masjid demolition in December 1992 was a shot in the arm for his dalliance with the camera and cinema.
“I loved the excitement of handling a camera,” he says. He graduated from Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, in cinematography.
He has been behind the camera for films such as Peepli Live, Words With Gods (God Room), Harud and Rocky Handsome, documentaries, short films and TV commercials. He won the National Award for Frozen, for which he co-wrote the screenplay, along with Harud, both which he also co-produced.
Gurgaon premiered at the International Film Festival and Awards at Macao.