Close on the heels of his romcom drama ‘Destiny’ which was awarded Best Foreign Film Award at The Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival and went viral on YouTube with over 4.3 million views, came Vikkramm Chandirramani’s newest short film ‘The Perfect Murder’with Rohan Gandotra, Samvedna Suwalka, Niharica Raizada and Deepak Daryani in the cast. It has been receiving rave reviews from film festivals and critics. Danny Caprio of Mediterranean Film Festival (MEDff) said he had stopped reviewing
Indian short films, disappointed with their poor quality but, stunned by the film, made an exception for The Perfect Murder, rating it 8.5/10. The Utah Film Awards described the film as a masterpiece; and Vikkramm as an outstanding visionary.
On exploring a new genre with The Perfect Murder, Vikkramm Chandirramani says, “Digital as a medium is very liberating. You can make a film in any genre and any format and there’s an audience out there for it. I have been exposed to varied cinema from my early years and can straddle various genres with ease. I like crime and drama as a genre and this one is a mixed-genre because it is an urban crime drama. I am open to everything.”
Talking about his journey, Vikkramm says, “I have been born and brought up in Mumbai. I had a liberal upbringing and a gamut of influences thanks to my family. I have watched films, read non-fiction literature, travelled, and learned digital design. I have been reading since I was five. Writing comes easily to me because my father was a writer. Along the way, when filmmaking became democratized with DSLRs and the internet taking off, I learned the ropes through books and videos and started making films. In that sense I am a self taught filmmaker and have never assisted anyone. With every film, you work with people who also bring their own experiences to the film. It is a collaborative process. Everyone grows creatively. It’s been fun!.”
On working with the cast for The Perfect Murder, he states, “It was excellent! It was the first time Rohan (Gandotra) and Niharica (Raizada) played dark characters. Samvedna (Suwalka) has excelled and this is her career best in terms of performance so far. Unsurprisingly, all of them have been praised in the reviews. TV as a medium doesn’t have much scope for experimentation and in mainstream films, most actors don’t get large parts. Short films and web series are where talented actors can show how good they are at what they do.”
On the casting for his films, he avers, “Casting is a very important part. When we invite actors for auditions it is usually after being familiar with the artist’s work, as far as possible. So, only select artists are invited. I don’t recall the last time I did an open audition because they take up far too much time.”
On breaking stereotypes with The Perfect Murder, he quips, “My film does break a few stereotypes. The protagonist, Kabir has married up. This is far less common and less social acceptable than a woman marrying up. The two female characters are very strong and very unapologetic about their expectations. In terms of genre too, my film is not a conventional whodunit but a crime drama. The end is also unexpected and not what you are used to seeing.”
On the production process, he shares, “Our production process is very meticulous. It starts with locking the script. Then we commence auditions. By the time we finalize the cast we have also done a location recce. The location is vetted by my sound design, camera and production design team. I have my artists rehearse till I see it all coming together. Rehearsals don’t cost much money. Filming is expensive. Good rehearsals ensure everything goes smoothly on shoot day. We source the costumes and props, do costume and look trials and lock the shoot days. We then source supplies, organize transport, etc. When shoot day arrives, my artists are usually able to deliver in a single take. My crew knows which shots we need and in which order. Everyone, from the fashion stylist to the make-up artist and ADs knows in which order we will shoot, so we save time and money. Finally, when the shoot ends, the rushes reach my office where after a short break, I sit down to view them and start editing. The size of our production house makes us agile, so we can be quick and efficient. Besides, when you work with the same people again, everyone understands each other better and it shows.”
“I am thrilled that critics have loved the film. Everyone worked very hard to make the film what it is. That said, by the time you are done with a film, you have seen it so many times, especially since I edit myself, it is tough to be objective about how it will be perceived. We were just hoping for the best and are overwhelmed with all the love.”
On future plans, “Many artists and some companies have shown interest in collaborating creatively. I write a lot, so I have several scripts across genres and formats including short films, web series and features at various stages. Every day brings news possibilities. Let’s see.”
Way to go!!