Sinam is inherently about the respect our women deserve, Anandmurthy says talking about his short film starring Sai Dhanshika and Bidita Bag (of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz fame) that is creating quite a buzz on the festival circuit. The short film has already bagged several awards at the Calcutta Cult Film Festival including a Best Actress Award for Dhanshika, continuing its streak at California’s Best Shorts Competition. A story about a prostitute who meets a short film director to tell her story, Sinam is based on a real-life story. “You might have seen several similar incidents but the perspective here is what makes Sinam different. I think that’s the reason behind the festival circuit accolades,” said Anandmurthy.
The poster of Sinam has Dhanshika unapologetically brandishing a cigarette. “Our society doesn’t accept a woman smoking but a smoker can put his mouth on hers and kiss her. The story and emotions in Sinam are very organic,” quipped Anandmurthy. He says the intent is to not create controversy. “I want my films should address larger issues such as oppression and slavery.”
Anandmurthy began his film career working as an assistant to directors like Kadhir, Ameer and Bala. It was on the sets of Paradesi that he met Dhanshika. After his first feature film, Dhileepan got stuck with financial issues. He got some help from a friend who decided to help him make Sinam. That’s when he approached Dhanshika with the project. “So when I approached her with the idea, she liked it and asked me for the script. And when she read it, she called me up and said that it is painful. She said she couldn’t sleep reading it at night,” he recalled. A major chunk of the film is a monologue by Dhanshika — a single shot. “I had asked her if she could learn the lines. She said that she doesn’t have the habit of mugging her lines but that she will read it repeatedly and get the hang of it. Once she was ready we went for the shoot. I must really thank my producer. Not many people want to fund such a project,” he said.
This monologue was originally shot for 26 minutes and was later trimmed to 15.6 minutes. “I only came to know later that the longest monologue officially shot, according to the Guinness Book of records, was only 9 minutes. Had I known earlier I would have done something about it,” remarked Anandmurthy.
The other face in the film Bidita has also won several accolades for her role in the film. “While there is Dhanshika’s monologue, the film begins and ends with Bidita. When she read the script, she said that there are spaces where she could score and she did it really well,” said Anandmurthy. The actor has also sung a Rabindranath Tagore song composed by GV Prakash Kumar for the film. After the festival circuit, the filmmaker is keen on taking Sinam to Netflix.
Interestingly, Anandmurthy’s next project, a feature film, is also with Dhanshika. “I’ve narrated a script to Dhanshika and she really liked it. We are now trying to find someone who would produce the film.” It is a women-centric film as well, he says adding that it is not that he can’t write for men. “Most of my scripts are women-centric. I think it important that their stories should be told,” he added confidently.
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