'Shyam Singha Roy' will be released in theatres on December 24. In this interview, director Rahul Sankrityan talks about why he chose Nani for the tough character, the Devadasi system backdrop, the scale of the project, and more.
After my debut film 'The End' (2014; which had a limited release in theatres), I struggled a lot to convince producers with experimental films. The producers were scared to invest in those subjects. I then came up with 'Taxiwala', which was my second feature film. It had a commercial angle. I couldn't convince producers with subjects even after that movie. That's why the gap between that film and 'Shyam Singha Roy'.
I used the time I had at my disposal during the lockdown to fine-tune the script. Nani garu was the first and only choice. Shyam is a performance-oriented character, so I couldn't think of anyone else. Sai Pallavi was the first choice as well. Nani garu was excited about the choice.
The Devadasi system is a pan-India phenomenon. We have discussed its drawbacks in the film. That's why 'Shyam Singha Roy' is more to be a multi-lingual. This is not a social message film. The protagonist fights the system.
The screenplay style is familiar but the treatment, the climax, the scenes will be novel. You won't find them familiar. What you have seen in the trailer is template-driven. But the film will be different. The story has got a thrilling plot point. There is definitely an other-worldly aspect in the story. I can't say whether it's a reincarnation story.
Nani garu okayed the story in the first sitting. After the full script was developed, he told me the effort will have to be three times what it takes for a regular film. He liked the detailing in the script. He supported me fully because he believed in me thoroughly.
Nani garu is an amazing actor. After watching 'Jersey', my faith in him only increased. He can pull off any character. So, I was confident that his look and performance in the period backdrop will be believable.
The budget is definitely high (rumouredly Rs 60 Cr). More than market calculations, we were confident because the subject warranted it. The producer (debutant Venkat Boyanapalli) didn't want us to be restrained. He has pushed the envelope. He likes Nani garu a lot. He has been going all out in promoting the movie. Without investing adequately, there is no point in doing a subject like this one.
The toughest part to be executed was the climax. You will know it when you watch our movie. I don't want to give away anything right now.
The CBFC people usually call us in after the show after a gap of 30 minutes or so. After watching 'SSR', they didn't call us in for an hour. We were tense. They then spoke to us and appreciated us, saying that our film took them to the era of the 1970s. They googled a lot to know if there are any objectionable portions that have to be censored. They appreciated the research that went into writing the movie. They gave us UA certification. The run-time is 157 minutes.
My first choice for music was AR Rahman garu. But he was busy. Mickey J Meyer was my next choice because he has got in-depth knowledge of the genres of music this film needed.
The Kolkata schedule went on for about 30 days. We then shot a 7-day schedule in a nearby village.
My next film will have time-travel as a plot point. I am still in talks.