I’m super excited to be working on a new short film called Priyanath. It’s the story of six-year old, Priyanath, an adventurous, mischievous boy who imagines himself to be a superhero taking down imaginary villains with his extraordinary powers. But when Priyanath learns of a real danger near his home, he has to decide if he’s actually got what it takes to be a real life superhero!
Although Priyanath (played by Likith Yalam) likes to imagine himself as an international superhero, like most six year-olds, he spends most of his time at home. In the film, the kitchen is the central place where the story begins to unfold. In one of the main scenes, Priyanath climbs up into a chair and doodles while his mother, Kadambini, (played by Krishna Smitha) prepares a meal for her family.
We spent a lot of time in the kitchen on this production and bringing authenticity to the kitchen scene was highly important. I wanted it to look like Kadambini was actually cooking dinner. And I wanted to create a visual feast for the audience so that they could actually taste and smell the fragrant spices of a delicious, Indian meal. So, what did we do? We brought in lots of food! After all, what’s more authentic to a kitchen than food?
As you can see in the production stills, we had lots of food, especially fresh produce on set. Zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, onions, green beans. These brightly colored, nutritious props added life, color and realism to our set and helped paint the picture of Priyanath’s family and their home.
I wasn’t the only one who thought it smelled good. When we wrapped that evening, I found out that a few of our crew members wanted to take the prop soup home for dinner. Before they took it, they asked me what was in it and if it was okay to eat. (After all, it was prop soup. Anything edible or non-edible could be in it.) I was shocked! I couldn’t imagine such a thing - eating prop soup! I laughed heartily and scolded them: “Who eats prop soup? Are you kidding me? And why would you take home prop soup instead of the good, homemade food we had for lunch? That food was made with love. There’s no love in prop soup. It’s utilitarian in nature. Seriously, who would eat prop soup of all things?!”
They just laughed and carried away their bags of prop soup, paying me no mind.
One of the things I love most about filmmaking is the collaboration. I love how each person brings their talents and skills to a project, making it better than a singular person’s efforts alone. I often compare the art of filmmaking (and theatrical productions) to making soup. Everyone adds something different, spicy, creative and exciting to the pot. And what we end up with is a unique, cohesive piece of art. As artists, we hope that our piece of art is brilliant, stunning or good at the very least. And when it is finished, everyone who helped create that piece of art walks away with a tangible or intangible piece of it.
Looking back, I can’t help but feel that our pot of prop soup is its own character in our film. We envisioned it, bought its ingredients, chopped them, stirred it and simmered it. It even got a nice close-up shot which will be included in the film. And at the end of the day, when all was said and done, some of us took it home. I won’t soon forget that pot of prop soup. And if I do, I’ve got a prop soup burn mark in the bottom of that big, red pot to help me remember!
You can learn more about the film, the inspiration behind it and get a sneak peek of footage from the film by visiting our Indiegogo campaign page at http://igg.me/at/priyanath. We're raising funds to finish the film on Indiegogo.com. We'd love your support! And please spread the word. Thank you!