A hard-hitting subject like rape is often talked about in films and series, but it is the digital medium where it finds many takers. As a film on the sensitive subject, titled Siya, is set to premiere on Zee5 on June 16, actor Vineet Kumar and director Manish Mundra couldn’t be more excited.
Vineet, who knows Siya isn’t a film that a group of friends or family members would turn up to watch in huge numbers in theatres, says, “The industry, which includes filmmakers, producers and actors, is not ready to accept where they lack. So, reasons like Covid, popularity of OTT or ticket prices are just excuses. Audience has upgraded themselves in the lockdown period and watched content from around the globe. For Rangbaaz, earlier only Indians reached out to me but later feedback came from the US, Canada and middle-eastern countries where people have been watching Indian digital content. If we won’t accept our mistakes, we can’t bring the change.”
Mundra, who has produced many successful films like Masaan, Newton and Dhanak, which also won National Award n 2017, turned director for Siya. As for the lessons learnt, Mundra shares, “From next time, I would make it a point to sit with my editor after the filming part is done. Even for Siya we had done extra days’ shoot but we couldn’t fit it in the runtime. So, it was a waste of time, energy and effort.
About casting, Vineet was always the first choice of Mundra to play Mahendra. For the titular character, Siya, Pooja Pandey was chosen. For the role, Vineet had to lose 15-16 kilos weight and he remembers how the second wave of Covid put a halt on Siya. He shares, “I tested positive, director was not keeping well and news of people dying was the only thing you got to hear during the second wave of Covid. So, while physical transformation is something that is an actor’s job, but it all comes down to health at the end of the day.”
Mundra wrote the script around the time when headlines of rape filled the front pages, he adds, “In India, it’s always one sensational news after the other and then life goes on. Front page headlines slowly move to middle pages and then gets lost. It’s our attempt to tell a tale from the victim’s point of view and how hard it is to fight the system for justice even after a life-threatening traumatic experience. And that makes our victim a fighter.”
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