As far as urban legends go, there is an elusive substance found in the Himalayas that guarantees a high to anyone who finds it. It is this high that drives backpackers by the hordes to the pristine slopes each year. It is perhaps in that same enlightened wisdom that Agneya Singh decided to explore the larger context of teenage rebellion and anxiety. “Around three-four years ago, when I was in New York to complete my film studies there was something unique going on in India. I heard about a backlash coming from the youth by them staging protests, and speaking out in college campuses. So I wanted to tap into that sentiment,” says the 25-year-old, who has just completed his debut feature film, titled M Cream. It was the Closing Film at the Rhode Island film festival last week, where it was awarded the Best Feature film.
Singh was inspired by a tale he heard during his days studying at Springdales School, Delhi, about a friend who went to Manali, in search of a superior quality of hashish. “I wanted to use that as a premise for exploring the current state of flux among the youth today,” says Singh, a graduate in film direction from the Tisch School of Arts, New York University.
The story revolves around four friends from Delhi University, whose favourite pass time in between attending classes is smoking up hashish on the college lawns. One day, they organise a trekking trip to Manali in search of high quality hashish, better known in the community of users as M cream. Soon this journey uncovers their inherent personalities and anxieties about various issues concerning their future. Starring Imaad Shah (Figaro Bhardwaj) and Ira Dubey (Jayashri Bose) as best friends and at the same time very idealistic individuals who have differing points of view on everything.
M Cream taps into the mindset of the 20-something Indian. “The characters are individuals who don’t identify with the system. Then there are some whose views are politically oriented while others are quite idealistic and opposite ends of the spectrum. It represents the myriad shades of today’s youth,” says Singh, who has also written and co-produced the two-hour English feature and believes his film is “independent” in the true sense.
Singh formed his own production company with friends for this film and raised Rs 1 crore through crowd-funding for filming and plans to raise more for promotion and distribution. Singh will be taking the film to Chicago and Denver film festivals next and hopes to screen at IFFI Goa in December.