PERFECT CAST: The talent of the actors truly elevated the film, 'Peace Lily Sand Castle'
PERFECT CAST: The talent of the actors truly elevated the film, 'Peace Lily Sand Castle'

French showcase for 22-minute Goan film in Toulouse

Thrilled by the selection, director Himanshu Singh talks of the challenges that went into making the film, 'Peace Lily Sand Castle'

A film shot in Caranzalam has now been officially selected for the Toulouse Indian Film Festival in France. Yes, you read it right. Konkani film, Peace Lily Sand Castle, has been selected for the Toulouse Indian Film Festival in France, which will have its international premiere in France at the festival which will take place from April 18, 2024 onwards.

The 22-minute film features Goan actors – Daksha Shirodkar, Ugam Zambaulikar and Sobita Kudtarkar. The film is based on a conversation between two ladies – Mansi and Janaki – talking about a house they shared at different times. 

WOMEN CENTRIC: In 2023, it was adjudged as the Best Film on Women Empowerment at the Indo-French Film Festival.
WOMEN CENTRIC: In 2023, it was adjudged as the Best Film on Women Empowerment at the Indo-French Film Festival.

In a chat, director and script writer Himanshu Singh throws light on the film and the excitement of showcasing it in France. The film was also awarded the Best Film on Women Empowerment at the Indo-French Film Festival in 2023.

Q

In a world where people are shifting homes and moving around the world, what does this film talk about?

A

I have lived in 14 different homes throughout my life as my father’s government job was subject to transfers, but I’ve come to understand that at some point you carry memories of that house with you. Peace Lily Sand Castle is that one favourite house every child has in mind and secretly yearns to return to its courtyard where evenings were spent lying on mother’s lap and dreaming about the future. Except that in this film, the pain of separation from one’s favourite house is portrayed by adults.

DIALOGUES MATTER: Director Himanshu Singh speaks to the actors on dialogue delivery mid-shoot.
DIALOGUES MATTER: Director Himanshu Singh speaks to the actors on dialogue delivery mid-shoot. Photo: Himanshu Singh

In this vast world enriched with bountiful nature and overflowing beauty, every house is to an individual his own world. Isn’t it? Be it the windows, the curtains, or the plants that decorate the house, the living space becomes more like one’s skin – inseparable and painful when ripped apart.

PERFECT CAST: The talent of the actors truly elevated the film, 'Peace Lily Sand Castle'
Get a foothold one step at a time at this climbing gym in Goa

I believe the emotion at the moment when one has to vacate the house forever is universal. As a child of a government servant I have had many such encounters where it was easy to forget my childhood crush but it tore me apart when I had to bid goodbye to my ‘house’.

Q

Is it a dream come true to have your movie being screened at the Toulouse Indian Film Festival?

A

The level of excitement has crossed borders, literally! It is an honour to be selected for the Toulouse Indian Film Festival – France, where films of legendary filmmakers like Mari Selvaraj were screened. His debut film Pariyerum Perumal (Tamil), was screened at this festival. The film Newton (Hindi) was also screened here. We are blessed to see Peace Lily Sand Castle taking its place at this festival amid such great films, and it has boosted our energy to another level. We are thankful and feel blessed at this moment. I am very excited about this selection and hope the film gets its deserved acclaim at the festival.

A GOOD BREAK: The Toulouse Indian Film Festival sounds like a perfect platform to showcase a Konkani film.
A GOOD BREAK: The Toulouse Indian Film Festival sounds like a perfect platform to showcase a Konkani film.
Q

From what did you draw your inspiration for Peace Lily Sand Castle?

A

The inspiration behind the film has its seeds from our previous short film – Ardo Dis (Half-day), which our team made in 2022. It was about a heated argument between a married couple about career, compromises and sacrifices in their marriage. Though the film ended on a happy note, during our post-screening discussion, an interesting conversation arose. As they say, in the arts, there is always an answer to the “what if” question you ask yourself. So, one of our crew members jokingly said, “What if this couple gets separated and the man remarries?”

I am a big-time fan of  Gulzar’s film Ijaazat. In that film, there was no interaction between the character that Rekha played and her husband's ex-lover, played by Anuradha Patel. I have always imagined what would happen if these two characters had met at a certain point in time. What kind of conversation would take place between them?

PERFECT CAST: The talent of the actors truly elevated the film, 'Peace Lily Sand Castle'
Get a foothold one step at a time at this climbing gym in Goa

Thus, I believe all these questions are attempted to be answered and expressed in this 22-minute-long film.

FOURTH PRODUCTION:  'Peace Lily Sand Castle' is the fourth production made in Goa.
FOURTH PRODUCTION: 'Peace Lily Sand Castle' is the fourth production made in Goa.
Q

Goa is known for its scenic beauty and landscapes, what was your thought when shooting the film here?

A

As my Director of Photography (DoP) often says, Goa is a place where you put a tripod on any random place and the shot is ready. It is such a scenic place for any filmmaker and we have been grateful to the people of Goa who have helped us in getting our film made. This is the fourth film the team has made in Goa.

I wanted to capture the conversation in such a way that the space itself denotes or sets the tone for the conversation. We were hunting for locations that sit within our budget, including verandas of houses; we were hopping from one beach to the other. Finally, when we were taking a break after shooting a couple of shots for the opening scene of this film, we found a huge boat anchored to some piece of wood on the shore.

PERFECT CAST: The talent of the actors truly elevated the film, 'Peace Lily Sand Castle'
The lurking danger behind Goa's wide roads

The boat was majestically floating, overlooking the waves that were hitting its body while unable to proceed ahead into the waters as the anchor was holding it back. Suddenly, an idea struck me: how cinematic it would be if the women had their conversations at this location. It was a beautiful coincidence that Mansi’s costume kind of matched the colour of the boat that was anchored. It was divine intervention, I would say, because the boat left after the scene was shot. This was a moment of blessing for a team fuelled only by passion and no funds.

SHOT IN GOA: Goa's scenic beauty can capture any shot perfectly.
SHOT IN GOA: Goa's scenic beauty can capture any shot perfectly.
Q

With a lot of blessings, come a lot of challenges too. Though you triumphed with the limitations at hand, could you tell us what kind of challenges you had to face?

A

The biggest challenge was to shoot with minimum resources. This eventually means we had fewer number of days to shoot to keep the expenditure at its lowest. However, working under such a budget has always been a learning ground because it makes us better at finding our own DIYs in filmmaking. Thankfully, the team spirit to make a film has always driven our creative works, that any level of resource crunch does not compromise the quality of output.

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