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Sandcastle is the film. Shomshuklla Das is the director. We spoke to her.
1) Where did the inspiration for Sandcastle come from?
The story of Sandcastle is one that plays out in countless homes the world over, except there’s no one to hear it. It is a quiet, silent struggle that women, who are aiming to carve a niche, their own unique identity face every single day. For me, the contrast between the different India’s – the urban-modern, and the urban-traditional is where I set my story.
2) What research was done before filming?
I’ve always felt that the best research one can do, especially when telling a human story, is simply talking to people around you. The threads that emerge from people’s lives, often tell a very compelling tale. These observations I made along the way, while meeting different women, from various strata of society, is how the story was formed.
3) Was it a difficult film to pitch and did you have much of a budget?
When I first wrote the script for Sandcastle in 2006, I knew it was going to be an uphill battle to, not only pitch the film, but more importantly, get it made and tell the story of Sheila. It was difficult, because I was a debutant, with no film background or history.
Luckily for me though, I found a fantastical technical director, Abraham Cherian, and a superb crew, who have believed in this project every step of the way.
Being my first, indie feature, this was practically a micro-budget film, but truly the kind of team, I’ve been able to work with on this feature, that I can confidently say, no amount of money could have bought.
4) How hard was the casting of the principal characters?
My journey into cinema began with theatre in 2006, under my own company, Kali Theatre. Having worked with theatre actors in the past, I realized that from a feature film standpoint, they are truly versatile and can add tremendous dimension to the characters on screen. Hence even with Sandcastle, I cast theatre actors, Shahana & Malvika who I had worked with previously on different theatrical productions. Even the supporting cast is predominantly from the theatre fraternity in India, so were very adaptive to the needs of the script.
5) What are you working on at the moment?
My next feature film of course! It’s a classical romance film. I look forward to showcasing it soon enough.