BANGALORE: Brothers Satyanshu and Devanshu Singh, shot to fame after their short film, Tamaash won the National Award . They are currently working on a full-fledged feature film. Produced by Tulsea Films, which the duo have long been associated with, the film deals with the story of an ordinary family. "The father is the main protagonist, and the story is about how he does all that he can to celebrate the birthday of their six year old child. Like Tamaash, the story believes in the power of goodness and shows how despite odds, this lovable family sticks together, keeps smiling, and ensures that the child gets to cut his cake," says Satyanshu.
It was Devanshu apparently, who first wrote Tamaash - the story of a Kashmiri boy who is unfairly compared with the topper in his batch and how it leads to jealousy, attempted revenge, and eventual redemption. A few weeks later, Satyanshu added the crucial magical twist to it, by introducing a new character. "The film then changed its genre from drama to a fable - where mystery, horror, and surrealism found way into an otherwise sweet and innocent story. Once we locked the script, Devanshu, and Omar - our Kashmiri friend, went to Kashmir and started the extensive search for actors. They visited several schools, met theatre groups, and eventually managed to find this wonderful cast of local actors," says Satyanshu.
The two of them come from a middle-class family in a small town called Munger in Bihar. "But we were fortunate to be born in a family where music and literature were respected and encouraged. As kids, we also learnt Hindustani classical music. By the time we entered secondary school, we were writing and directing plays and performing music shows," they inform.
Satyanshu spent eight years in a boarding school run by the Ramakrishna Mission at Deoghar, Jharkhand. He went on to study MBBS at Armed Forces Medical College, Pune while Devanshu went off to Mumbai to pursue Mass Media.
By the time Devanshu graduated from National College, Bandra, he had started assisting Nikhil Advani. Soon, Satyanshu joined him.
While the two of them grew up watching regular Bollywood fare, it's only in their early adulthood that they got exposed to world cinema.
The duo who also wrote the poetry for Vikramaditya Motwane's Udaan, feel that the Indian independent film scene is still at a nascent stage. "We need to develop an alternative distribution model. Today, the cost of publicity has gone so high that independent movies struggle even with production costs. Making a film is not as difficult as it was before. It is the challenge of reaching out to the audience that remains an extremely tough job. Most of independent cinema depends on strong word of mouth and reasonable ticket pricing. Until we find ways to do that in the current market situation, we won't be able to make a long-lasting impact," they say.
"The truth is that whether it is the so called 'independent' cinema or 'mainstream' cinema - until we realise the importance of a powerful story, an organic writing process, and an uncompromised and honest making - it will never succeed. And whenever this happens, a gem of a film emerges in our midst," they say.
The duo assert that the most important skill a director needs is good interpersonal skills. "If a director knows how to communicate well, he or she will succeed despite other flaws or shortcomings," they explain.