Independent filmmaker Sandeep Mohan's Nirmal Anand ki Puppy will warm your heart with man-pet relationship
For Sandeep Mohan the script matters the most. After directing three films – Love, Wrinkle-Free (2011), Hola Venky! (2014)and #Shreelancer (2017), the Mumbai-based independent filmmaker is back with a new feature film, Nirmal Anand ki Puppy. Soon-to-be-released on an OTT platform, the film stars Karanveer Khullar and Gillian Pinto in the lead and has been screened at a few film festivals, winning Best Screenplay Award at DCSAFF in Washington DC in 2019. In a candid chat, the 45-year-old Jabalpur-born filmmaker who is known for The Great Indian Travelling Cinema (that looks for alternative platforms to screen films), talks about co-writing the script with his dog Hermione, evolving as a human with each film and adapting with changing times.
Nirmal Anand ki Puppy is co-written by your pet, Hermione. Do tell us more about this collaboration.
It sounds a little crazy, but yes, she is the one who not just inspired the story but even helped me write it. Her pleasant stares and consensual barks helped me build the plot. Of course, it’s not really her but my new writing process. However, I would want to give her due credit as she has also acted in the film. I was a completely different person before we adopted her three years back. Also, I believe I evolve as a person with each film. I discovered this beautiful bond between pets and humans and thought how will life be if a pet, who is an integral part of a family, is taken away from them?
And the film was shot in 21 days, straight…
We finished shooting the film in three weeks and it is my first film which is shot in Mumbai. The city is noisy but as an independent filmmaker, I have to utilise what is there at my disposal. The story is based in an urban setup so Mumbai fitted with ease. We shot the film in 2018 and for me, the script is the king and the queen.
The film has already screened in a couple of festivals and it won the Best Screenplay award at Washington DC Film Festival (DCSAFF). It was supposed to release in India this month, but now it will be releasing on an OTT platform soon.
You started The Great Indian Travelling Cinema, discovering alternative space for screening of films. Now that OTT platforms are having major releases, what is the way forward?
With lockdown, digital platforms have turned into the mainstream option. As we speak now, films are being released there. For independent filmmakers, it will be very tough and we will have to be adaptive to the new developments.
What can we expect after Nirmal Anand Ki Puppy?
I have changed in the last two years and so has the world. There are lots of ideas on my mind, triggered by the current situation of the country but I want to focus on doable stories.