Reality show contestant (Zor Ka Jhatka and Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa), choreographer and actor Kushal Punjabi has now added a new feather to his cap. He has now become a writer and co director of a thriller short film on Sony LIV titled, The Gift. The cast includes Gul Panag, Mandira Bedi and of course, Kushal himself .
Talking about the journey, Kushal, who had earlier acted in a web series (Love Bytes) on the same platform says, “Digital offers an opportunity. It is tough for an actor to break out and make a film or TV series as the market is saturated. The conventional mediums do not allow us to tell the real story as well. The best thing online is that we don’t need to compromise on storyline, as in a feature we need to recover costs so have to add many other elements which we don’t need to do here, thereby retaining the essence of the story.”
Going on he says, “The Gift could have been made into a normal feature film as there was enough space for back stories of all the characters but then I realized the short format was good enough for me to tell my story about a relationship. The digital format also allows us artists to go beyond our comfort zones and explore new things i.e. direction for me apart from my staple acting. Here, I must credit Sony LIV for acting as a catalyst for such metamorphosis.”
Kushal further adds that the best part of the digital short film format is that there is no time limit.
“Sony told us to tell a story. Our first draft was 11 mins which I felt was a big longish, but when we started shooting we felt we need more time to properly explain the characters and for their layers to unravel at the correct pace. So, we finally came down post edit to 19.”
So what’s the biggest challenge in the web space, we ask, “To tell a good story, for you will get instant responses. You don’t need to wait for numbers, also you need to be ready to take criticism which come via comments .”
Any comments on your co stars? “It was really fun to work with Mandira and Gul. Since we had limited hours we would shoot cut to cut, no frill and the fact that they understood the characters it was bang on from the word go.”
We wish Kushal more success.