Filmmaker and actor Prakash Jha’s latest short, Highway Nights, is a subtle take on social struggles
The short bagged the grand jury prize at the LA-based Best of India Short Film Festival and is awaiting theatrical release in the US
After Saand Ki Aankh and Matto Ki Saikil, filmmaker Prakash Jha is back again as an actor in the short film Highway Nights. The short bagged the grand jury prize at the LA-based Best of India Short Film Festival and is awaiting theatrical release in the US. Starring Mazel Vyas alongside Prakash, the film, directed by Shubham Singh is also under consideration for the 2023 Oscars.
Prakash is also currently filming the second season of his highly controversial web series Aashram based on a real-life religious guru played by Bobby Deol. We had a short chat with Prakash about the short film.
What made you say yes to Highway Nights?
The simple and subtle story and the deep message within it had made me say yes to the film. I have always fallen for content that has some deep and significant social message and this film has really nice content that made me say yes to it immediately.
You look so very convincing in the role of a truck driver, how did you prepare for the same?
I have had some references of truck drivers and I used to drive with a friend who owned trucks. I used to spend some time and drive along with them, but also I have been primarily observing and trying to know more about them. It was also more important to find this guy (the truck driver in the film) and it took me some time to do that but as actors, we keep working, reading and rereading the story to create a background.
How was it working with Mazel?
Mazel Vyas is a brilliant actor and has been working for a long time now, in fact, she is a senior to me as an actor and it was a pleasure working with her.
Your web series Aashram has attracted a lot of criticism for its controversial content. How do you react to the same?
It is good that people think about it and talk about it, the issue is something that needs to be spoken about and I’m happy about that. We haven’t yet finished filming the second season.
What are your other upcoming projects?
We are working on a few feature films and web series and there are also a couple of projects as an actor. I am planning to start shooting for a new film early next year, but I would like to reveal more — as and when they concretise.