Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed happiness at India's participation as 'Country of Honour' in the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in France. In a message, he noted that India's participation comes at the momentous meeting of celebration of 75 years of India's Independence, the 75th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival and 75 years of diplomatic relations between India and France.
More specifically, PM Modi said India has a lot of stories to be told and the country truly possesses the immense potential to become the content hub of the world. That said, one of the films chosen to be screened at this year's Cannes is Alpha Beta Gamma, and it truly has a different yet relatable story for the global audience.
Alpha Beta Gamma
Alpha Beta Gamma is a 2021 rom-com directed by debutant Shankar Srikumar, starring Nishan Nanaiah, Amit Kumar Vashisth, and Reena Aggarwal. Written by Menka Sharma and Shankar, the film revolves around three lead characters, who get stuck in a flat due to the COVID-induced lockdown.
The two-hour-long feature film was shot during the first COVID lockdown in 2020. Most of its cast and crew are debutants and FTII alumni. Without having high expectations and solely working for the passion, the actors, director, and the entire crew worked together like it was a school project. The movie was one of the two Hindi films to be screened under the Indian Panorama feature film segment.
Alpha Beta Gamma was made with a limited crew, limited budget but high passion. The film is well received by critics and the biggest recognition is that it has been chosen to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival along with five other Indian films.
International Business Times spoke to Nishan, one of the lead actors in the film, regarding the making of the film and learned some inspiring details.
"It was shot during the first lockdown. Shankar approached me with a script, which I really liked since it was based on lockdown. The story is about three people living in the same house for 14 days during the lockdown and how the equation changes between them, a concept I really liked. There was a lot of drama, and emotion and people would connect to it. But there were bigger challenges, like shooting during a lockdown, and extremely low budget," Nishan recalled.
Nishan said that he reminded Shankar of the challenges and said it wasn't possible to make the film, let alone release it. But the director's passion and commitment started the project and despite all odds, Alpha Beta Gamma was made. "Hat's off to them," Nishan remarked.
"Looking back, everything looked impossible. But Shankar's passion and dedication kept us going. We need such people in the industry who wants to tell story," he added.
Another major challenge was shooting in just one location and keeping the audience engaged for two hours. It required a different level of writing and performance, Nishan recalls.
The film was made against all odds and challenges.
"I remember telling Shankar that if the film is somehow made, it's in it for the long haul because there are a hundred obstacles like no budget, no location and COVID lockdown. We didn't have a place for workshop. We worked out of an office given by a friend and Shankar's wife would cook meals. This is how we cut costs. But none of it affected the passion and dedication of the team," Nishan added.
After the Cannes' screening, Nishan hopes that some OTT platform buys the rights for the film so there's some financial relief to the producers.
Describing what drove the team to complete the film, Nishan said it was sheer passion, hard work, perseverance, dedication and the vision of good storytelling.
India at Cannes
India will be the official Country of Honour at the upcoming 'Marche du Film', organised alongside the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, in France. The Country of Honour status ensures India's presence as Focus Country at the Opening Night of 'Marche du Film' being organised at the Majestic Beach with the spotlight on India, its cinema, its culture and heritage.
The Indian delegation is led by Union Minister Anurag Thakur and consists of film celebrities from across India.