x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Pair hope Sendhil Ramamurthy offer will appeal to West

Latest production featuring the star of the hit US television series Heroes, as the NRI who returns to Mumbai, premieres at Dubai festival.

Bollywood directors Raj Nidimoru, left, and Krishna DK, right, talk about their new film, Shorr, at the Al Qasr Hotel.
Bollywood directors Raj Nidimoru, left, and Krishna DK, right, talk about their new film, Shorr, at the Al Qasr Hotel.

DUBAI  // Two former software engineers believe their new Bollywood feature film, a gritty thriller based in India's financial capital, has all the right ingredients to draw international audiences.

The movie, Shorr (Noise), plays out in Mumbai's busy streets with three narrative lines: the fast-paced film centres on a non-resident Indian (NRI) who returns from the United States to start a charity group; a conman who discovers a bag stuffed with explosives; and a cricket fanatic looking to bribe his way into a local team.

The filmmakers, Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru, said they hoped the plot was entertaining enough to draw in audiences that normally did not frequent Indian cinema.

"It's not about art or commercial cinema," said Nidimoru, who, along with his college friend DK, left software consultancy jobs in the US four years ago to pursue their filmmaking dreams. "It's about making a mainstream film you can show anywhere in the world: everybody gets it and it appeals to their sensibilities, too."

The friends met in 1996 while studying engineering at SV University, in southern India. This is their third feature film together. Their first movie, Flavours, made in 2004, did well on the film festival circuit. Their second movie, 99, a rollicking comedy about the escapades of two small-time con artists, was a box office hit in India.

Both men believe their new movie, which is in Hindi with English subtitles, will appeal to a western audience.

Casting the Indian-American actor Sendhil Ramamurthy, the star of the hit US television series Heroes, as the NRI who returns to Mumbai, is one aspect they hope will draw interest from overseas.

"The fact that we got Sendhil, an American actor to begin with, is also a step to reaching out to an audience outside of India, to a non-Indian audience, and giving them a glimpse of India," Nidimoru said. "So it is an international film, but it has enough Indian-ness in it to work and be authentic."

The movie also has another character - the vibrant city of Mumbai.

"The city is an added hero," DK said. "It's about how the city affects you, and how you become a part of the city."

The movie premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival (Diff) yesterday and will be shown again on Saturday at Mall of the Emirates. It will release internationally in March next year.

Kanchan Roy, a Dubai-based airline employee who counts herself a fan said: "I really enjoyed 99. It was so full of laughs. I think these guys really understand the audience. They sure know how to entertain."

rtalwar@thenational.ae