National Award-winning filmmaker Vinod Kapri’s next feature is a single character film based on a two-year-old girl.
What does a toddler do when she is left alone at home? For filmmaker Vinod Kapri that was the most intriguing thought behind the research for his second feature film. “I had read about an incident in a national daily last year about a four-year-old girl who was left alone at home due to certain circumstances. I wanted to build on that thought and see where it takes me,” says Kapri, who won the National Award in March in the Best Film on Social Issues category for his documentary titled We Can’t Take This Shit Anymore. While the documentary looked at the collective absence of hygiene and more specifically the lack of women’s toilets in the country, his latest feature is a fictional narrative. “Though the film has a script and there are a few dialogues, the film completely depends on how the girl behaves. So every shooting schedule is unpredictable,” says the journalist-filmmaker, whose film revolves around a single character, a two-year-old girl alone at home.
The narrative entirely rests on the two-year-old Pihu, (played by Pihu Myra Vishwakarma) and how she reacts to the environment around her and what she experiences when she is alone. In a larger context, the story explores the problems faced by a married couple and societal compulsions about the concept of family and children. Though all this is presented through the point of view of a kid reacting to being left alone at home by her parents. Kapri admits that making a feature-length film on a single character does seem like an ambitious idea, but he would not have it any other way. “The plot demanded that there was only one character in the film,” says Kapri, who spent four months with the kid getting to know her and familiarise her with the other crew members. The girl has never acted before and Kapri is close friends with her parents, so they agreed for her to act on this project.
There have been very few single character films, with Sunil Dutt attempting one in 1964 titled Yaadein, where he cast himself. British director Steven Knight made the 2013 single-character film Locke, starring Tom Hardy. “I faced many reservations from producers as they were sceptical about how I would execute this film with a single character. Finally, I got a production house on board to fund the film,” says Kapri, who has completed 80 per cent of the shooting. Meanwhile, he is gearing up for his first feature film release, Miss Tankpur Haazir Ho, starring Annu Kapoor and Om Puri, next month.