BENGALURU: When Bengaluru-based filmmaker Prataya Saha heard that his film, The Newly Weds, had been acquired by Disney+Hotstar, his first reaction was cheering for the community of independent filmmakers in the city. “This carves a niche for a number of new associations to follow for city-based production films,” says Saha, the director and screenplay writer of the film. The story has been written by Anshulika Kapoor who also produced the film under her banner, Red Polka Productions.
The film gives a glimpse into the life of an urban, tech savvy, newly-married couple living in an Indian city. They love each other dearly, miss each other and feel for each other, but there is something coming in between them – technology and digital devices. “The idea of this film stuck with me one day when I was watching a daughter and father sitting at a table in a cafe. In the entire episode of finishing their coffees, they did not speak a word and were engrossed on their devices. I wondered how digital conversations have replaced real ones,” says Saha.
According to Saha’s research, smartphone addiction cases are rising at the rate of 75 per cent each year, and the film presents how the future could be if we continue like this. “Hopefully, this film will make people realise that face-to-face conversations are steadily decreasing and maybe it is time to disconnect to connect,” he says. Once the story was written in early 2020, they approached Kannada film actors Suvin Valson and Mahesh Gowda, who has recently directed the Kannada feature film, Mahira.
“Moreover, Mahesh and Suvin were acquainted and were working together on some project, so I was banking between the friendship between them to create a harmony on screen,” says Saha. The team wrapped up the shooting just ahead of lockdown 1.0. Going the minimilistic way, like he has in his previous works, the filmmaker cites the example of a scene where Suvin’s character is stuck in traffic. Not having permission to shoot outside in heavy traffic, they recreated the scene in an open parking lot.
“As it was a night scene and considering our shoe-string budget, we took one car with the headlights on, and placed it behind the car where the actor is seated to give the effect of a road. Since we had only two cars, we used LED lights to replicate headlights from behind to fake the effect of other cars stuck at
the traffic signal. Finally, when the scene came out, it looked like a real congested road,” explains Saha. With over 10,000 views on social media, and the OTT deal, Saha thinks the gamble paid off.