Prathmesh KriSang, who is a BMCC graduate, worked as a graphic designer before turning into a full-fledged filmmaker. He is currently collecting funds through crowd-funding for his first short-film One Last Question, which is based on the true story of his friend from a small village called Agia in Assam and how despite being on the verge of becoming a militant, he chooses to live a life of dignity and lands up at the Oxford University.
An idea is born
Prathmesh met Manjit while travelling in a train. “Manjit writes blogs and I got to know about his story only after I read one them sometime in July last year. It talked about how they (he and his three friends) in 1998, in a small village of Assam were influenced to join an extremist militant outfit when they were merely teens and his life-changing journey to becoming a student at the University of Oxford. By the time I completed reading Manjit’s story, the film had already taken shape in my mind,” says Prathamesh.
Almost 70 per cent of the shooting is complete and the director is now waiting to arrange funds to finish the remaining 30 per cent. When asked why he chose crowd-funding as a source of money, he said that he had a tough time with the producers who were not keen to put money in his project for it’s politically sensitive content. “I went to several producers based out of Pune as well as Mumbai, but they were not interested in ‘risking’ their money on my film. For the simple reason that they didn’t feel connected to the story which was about the freedom of Assam. Also, there are very few takers for short films in our country. We were only short of four lakhs, but no one agreed, so we finally thought of going for crowd-funding,” he adds.
It’s been almost one month, and the crew has managed to collect a sizeable amount. “We got a great response and support from the audience through word of mouth and web activities. We have managed to get two investors - one is an Assam-based producer, the other one is an Indian from US - who have contributed a large chunk of money to finish the film. We hope to begin the final shoot in the next one month,” he says
Adil Hussain as a mentor
Prathmesh managed to rope actor Adil Hussain, who has been seen in movie like Life of Pi, English
Vinglish and Lootera, to act in his film. It was during the initial days of shooting when Prathamesh met Sukracharya Rabha, a theatre director who has his institute in Assam, who introduced him to Hussain over a phone call. “I spoke to him about the story and he asked me to mail him the script, and within 10 days he was in Assam for the shoot. He is one of the most professional and humble persons I have come across. All through the shoot, he mentored us by sharing anecdotes from his experiences of working with international filmmakers such as Ang Lee with whom he worked in Life of Pi as well as his stint in regional films. The two days that we shot together was a great learning period,” says Prathamesh.
For this 24-year-old filmmaker, one of the main reasons of choosing the subject of this film was the attitude of the country as a whole towards people from the North-East, and some incidents which drove him as well. He said, “We need to get out of our cities and states and travel through the country. It is funny and surprising how people don’t even know how many states are there in the North-East. Many even don’t know that they are actually a part of India and not a foreign country. This clearly shows how badly our education system has failed. If there is anything we should add on to the curriculum, it should be travelling the country for every student. Besides, I think people from these states too, should speak out and communicate with others. I am sure that because of internet and the wide media exposure people will come closer. This is a great time for us to know and appreciate the various cultures in India.”