Ronnie Screwvala and Vidya Balan’s short film, Natkhat, which also marks her debut as a producer, premiered at the prestigious We are One: A Global Film Festival on June 2. The short film is written by Annukampa Harsh and Shaan Vyaas, and the latter has also helmed the film. The short film sheds light on important social issues such as patriarchy, misogyny, domestic violence, toxic masculinity via Vidya Balan- Sanika Patel’s mother-son act. We got in touch with director Shaan Vyas, who revealed the inspiration behind this short film, the decision to cast a girl in a little boy’s role, and Vidya Balan’s contribution to the film.
Shaan Vyas is thrilled that the short film is receiving such a great response. As for where the idea for the film came from, Shaan Vyas tells that it was inspired by one of the big media cases and that was the tipping point for him, and led him to introspect, “What can I do to bring change?” He further mentioned that Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP and Vidya Balan’s collaboration brings everything to the movie, as the aim was for the film to reach a wide audience. As for Vidya Balan’s casting in the main role, he said, “If the film was made without a star, it wouldn’t have reached so many people. Vidya was perfect for the role, as we were looking for a ‘strong voice’ to reach people when it comes to women’s issues, and we thought she was perfect. Besides, throughout the film, she narrates a story, and Vidya also has a beautiful voice to narrate the fable, keeping everyone engaged in the storytelling.”
Natkhat’s co-writer Annukampa Harsh, also serves as the casting director of the short film. Speaking about Vidya Balan's character, Shaan Vyas revealed, “Me and Annukampa Harsh wrote her character down in a lot of detail with a lot of specifics. We had a lot of discussions with her and she was amazing. While we did create the character, Vidya Balan brought it to life.”
Interestingly, Natkhat casts a female child actor Sanika Patel in the role of a little boy Sonu. Opening up about the same, Shaan Vyas said that Sanika’s videos reciting poetries were viral on the Internet by the name ‘Mitti Ki Beti’, and a Bollywood star had also tweeted a video of her. “Annukampa Harsh sent the video to me and I thought it was beautiful, but which character would she be cast for? Much to everyone’s surprise, it was for Sonu’s role.” He said one of the apprehensions they faced was making a male child actor do things that were contrary to what they were trying to show, and so it helped that they cast a girl instead in the key role of Sonu, and made sure they kept guiding her. ALSO READ: Natkhat: Vidya Balan’s Debut Production To Have A World Premiere At Tribeca Enterprises’ ‘We Are One: A Global Film Festival'
Image Source: India Independent Films, IMDb
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