Director Pulkit’s Maroon will feature in this year’s Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) film festival. This is his first feature-length film after his first short film Bombay 1992 that came out in 2013 based on the riots that hit the city in the early 90s. With the star cast of Manav Kaul and Sumeet Vyas, two of the most stunning actors today at different platforms, Pulkit has managed to pull off a spectacular film with a very low budget.maroon-manav kaul-pulkit-trailer-full movie-interview-bollywoodirect

He talks to Bollywoodirect about the joy and challenges of making an independent film and how he did not want to be another business graduate.

Tell us about your film Maroon?

It is a psychological thriller. The entire film is shot in one house. Manav Kaul is playing the lead. He is a university professor in Dehradun. This film is this man’s story. This story is internal travel through Manav Kaul’s character’s mind.

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Tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Bihar. I did my schooling till tenth in Bihar. Then, I moved to Haryana for my higher education. I went to Lucknow to do my graduation and then I left it in between and came to Mumbai to try in films in 2011.

What made you leave graduation in between?

I always wanted to tell stories. One fine day, I decided that I cannot settle for just Bachelors in Business Administration degree and packed by bags and came to Mumbai.

When was the time when your inclination towards film began?

I used to watch films in my childhood only but the major thing happened when I was in boarding school in Haryana. I got quite a good exposure to literature and world cinema. That excited me. Then I moved to Lucknow and started hanging around with theatre people over there.

What were the films which had a lasting effect on you?

In world cinema, it was always the dark films. David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, David Fincher and all such filmmakers’ films I saw and was very impressed and in awe. In literature, I was more into hindi literature. I was not much into the world literature.

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Before Maroon, you have made one short before too?

Yes, I made Bombay 1992, which was a short movie based on Bombay riots in the early 90s. The film travelled around the globe and won many awards also. I made it in 2013.

How did you manage your finances after coming to Bombay?

I never did a job. I was assisting in some commercial company but they did not pay me well. That was not my calling. I left it in 2012. I was supported by parents at that time.

What is the most important thing that an independent filmmaker needs to keep in mind?

The most important thing is your budget, which in almost all the cases in very limited. We hardly get the budget to make our films. At the same time, you should not make a creative sacrifice because of the budget. So, each penny counts. Luckily, we had a decent amount of money to make this film happen. I have a great producer in Jyotsana. We had to plan the days accordingly. We cannot go a single rupee over than the budget.

Sometimes, you write scripts which suit your budget. Same is the case with Maroon where the film is shot in one room mostly. We took a bungalow on rent in Lonavala.

maroon-manav kaul-pulkit-trailer-full movie-interview-bollywoodirect
Pulkit on the sets of Maroon with Manav Kaul, Sumeet Vyas & D.O.P. Soumik Mukherjee

You have worked with Manav Kaul, who is a known name now in the industry. Sumeet Vyas is again one actor who is making headlines with his performances in web series. How was the experience of working with these two?

It was quite an experience working with them. These guys are a big name now but at the same time, they are very, very professional. They make you very comfortable. They are very open to new ideas and new challenges. They will never say that I won’t do this or that. The main problems happen with actors in mainstream cinema who have their tantrums. Thankfully, Manav and Sumeet were both amazing on the sets.

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What’s next for you after Maroon?

I am writing another film. The same producer who is producing Maroon will be backing this one as well.

Maroon is going to be filmed at MAMI this year. How important are these festivals for independent films like yours?

They are a different kind of platform. In independent cinema, you don’t have an audience because distributors won’t back your films. Film festivals are a good platform for storytellers like us. These festivals are not partial and they only pick a film based on the merit. They don’t see the names attached to these films. If they like it, they will take it. MAMI is a big deal. It is a huge festival. We are very excited to see this film open at MAMI this year.

Interview By: Shubham Pandey

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