A young, supremely passionate filmmaker, Nirmal Sahadev, is making his debut with Ranam /Detroit Crossing -- a film that boasts US locations, badass characters, and a pan Indian appeal. Starring Prithviraj, Rahman, and Isha Talwar, the film’s unique, spoiler-free promotional strategy has got everyone talking. Needless to say, the expectations are sky high.
Excerpts from an interview with Nirmal:
Can you tell us about your vision for the film?
Right from the beginning, I was very clear about the kind of film I wanted to make. The aim was to do a serious gangster film that is strong on content: a technically superior film that closely resembles a Hollywood thriller, devoid of songs and dances. And in the trailers, I was extremely cautious and held back as much as possible.
Some of the recent Prithviraj films have been criticised for their forced stylishness. Judging by the promos, Ranam doesn’t seem like one of those.
You are right. There was a conscious effort on my part to not do the usual clichéd stuff that has been done before. For me, it has always been about the characters. It's their attitude and outlook that informs the film’s style.
The title track has made a massive impact. We have never seen something like this done in Malayalam cinema before.
Initially, I didn’t plan on including a title track, but the immensely positive feedback we got for the background score used in the first two promos compelled us to create a full track based on that score.
The third trailer, titled ‘Damodar’s Law of Survival’, focused entirely on the uber-cool and seemingly street-smart character played by Rahman. What made you approach the actor?
I have been dying to work with Rahman for a long time. The man is a legend! He has such a tremendous screen presence -- raw, brilliant and charismatic.
And underrated too…
Yes! The characters in this film have shades of grey. They are neither good nor bad. And for Damodar Ratnam, I needed an actor who can be likeable, and yet, display a dark edge too -- and who better than Rahman to play him?
How did you convince Prithviraj to come on board?
I had a couple of scripts lying around and this was the one that Prithviraj liked. I had been working on the script for two-and-a-half years but was able to pitch the idea only at the beginning of this year. As soon as I got the approval, we began filming around the end of February.
Some of the footage in the trailers reminds one of the films of director Michael Mann.
Wow! That's a huge compliment. But Michael Mann is a master and compared to him, I’m nothing! (laughs).
Who is the cinematographer?
Jigme Tenzing (Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait).
When is the film releasing?
The date hasn’t been fixed yet, but we are definitely aiming for a Vishu release.