QUEEN'S ROAD: A Kannada film whose shooting began on Wednesday aims to change the standards of low-budget films by roping in Hollywood talent and using Skype.
Actor Mateen Hussain, who lived in the US for 15 years before moving back to India five years ago, wanted his friend Randy Kent — who has made award-winning films like The Perfect House, Life Of Lemon and Timmy, The Bag Boy — to direct a Kannada film whose script he had written.
“Everything was arranged, and Randy was due to fly down, but there was a small mistake and the visa was getting delayed,” says associate director Rajesh T I.
And then Mateen said, let’s get him to direct the film over Skype. “I was terrified in the beginning, and everyone thought he had gone nuts,” Rajesh says.
But Mateen reasons, “Yes, it’s crazy, but people do all sorts of things over Skype: have conferences, get married, so I said why not?”
Producers Suraj Rajan and Adnan Shaikh agreed, and Mateen managed to convince the director, so the project took off. Ahead of the shoot, they did the script reading and casting through Skype too. And now, Mateen thinks, it’s enough if Randy comes down just for the release.
“This will perhaps he the first film to be fully directed over Skype thought a part of Planet of the Apes is said to have been as well.
The process hasn’t been too hard to get used to for either Randy or him, according to Rajesh. “Even in a regular shoot, the director sees the actor through a monitor,” says Mateen, who played the villain in the 2010 Kannada film Matte Mungaru. “The only difference is that this will be 2D.”
The film is a romance that explores the obsessive ex syndrome, when after a break-up, one of the former couple finds it hard to move on.
“This is medically treatable, if it’s diagnosed quickly enough,” he says.
“Guys’ and girls’ experiences are different. In India, the guy has more time, but the girl is under pressure to ‘settle down’ quickly,” says Mateen, who also stars in the film.
Many small films in Hollywood cost far less to make than Indian movies do. “A low-budget Hollywood film would cost around Rs 30 lakh to Rs 40 lakh. And the technology and the resources are the same. So what’s different?”
Mateen answers his own question, “The directors and the aesthetics. I love Randy’s work, and he liked the script because this is perhaps the first film that focuses on the syndrome.”
Directors in the US are open to experimentation, he has observed. “I’ve seen someone use an iPhone to light up the face of an actor. An Indian director would never agree to that,” he says. However, the film industry, doesn’t matter which one, is a hard world where so many talents don’t get enough work. “So maybe, using Skype, people from film industries from across the world could collaborate,” he muses.
Though the team would rather not reveal the budget yet, they would like to wrap up the shoot in about 40 days, including a schedule in Gokarna.
“Randy, who is an editor, will advise the team with post-production as well,” Mateen says. And after a theatrical release ‘like any other Kannada film’ early next year, they hope to take it to festivals across the globe.