NFDC Screenwriters’ Lab 2013: Shanker Raman’s “My Brother the Salesman, and I”
D earCinema profiles the six screenwriters who are participating in NFDC Screenwriters’ Lab at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival.
Screenwriters’ Lab, a 2-part workshop conducted by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) is designed to prepare screenwriters with original Indian stories for working with the international filmmaking community.
Shanker Raman answers five questions about his project “My Brother the Salesman, and I”:
Tell us about your project.
My project “My Brother the Salesman, and I” is a feature film set in the year 1984. It is an unflinching look at a middle class family’s dreams and aspirations. A large part of the story is from my memory of how things were during my early teens. We were a family of five, ever expanding, growing, trusting and hopeful through moments of change and peace. And then one day I felt alone. I was not a part of that environment any more. Something changed and it wasn’t for greater love and harmony.
The story is about a South Indian family living in a predominantly Sikh neighbourhood in Delhi. Vishy, is the oldest son of a family of five. A photocopier salesman with a huge passion for sport. He wants his younger brother Senthil to become a Wimbledon champion. Senthil internally rejects his brother’s dream but ourtwardly plays along out of fear. Until one day when this unresolved fear snowballs into an explosive finale.
At what stage of development is it?
The project is in the stage of script development. The film is targeted to go into production next year.
Is a director/producer attached with the project? Or do you plan to direct it yourself?
This is an independent film with no producer attached yet. I will be directing it.
What are your expectations from Screenwriters’ Lab?
The Screenwriter’s lab is a great opportunity to spend focused time and attention on the script. I look forward to working with the mentors who are wonderful accomplished people with lots of experience. I look forward to a committed learning environment and sharing the space with the other participants.
Tell us about your background.
I am a Cinematography graduate from the Film and TV Institute of India, Pune. I won a National Award for “Best Cinematography” for Frozen. In 2013, Harud, a film I co-wrote and co-produced with Director Aamir Bashir, won the Indian National Award for the Best film in Urdu language.
In 2011 after working on The Reluctant Fundamentalist as Second Unit Cinematographer, I collaborated with Mira Nair to shoot her short film God Room, as part of a compilation film titled Words with God, with six other directors; Emir Kusturica, Bahman Ghobadi, Amos Gitai, Warwick Thornton, Hector Babenco, Alex de la Iglesia and Hideo Nakata and produced by Guillermo Arriaga.