Praana is not a gore-filled horror film: VK Prakash
Apart from getting his latest film Praana ready for release this Friday, VK Prakash is also busy with post-production work on the first episode of a Hindi web series titled Parchayee - Ghost Stories
VK Prakash is a very busy filmmaker. Apart from getting his latest film Praana ready for release this Friday, in four different languages — Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, and Hindi — Prakash is doing some last minute post-production work on the first episode of a Hindi web series titled Parchayee - Ghost Stories, which is based on Ruskin Bond stories. The first episode will premiere on Zee5 on Tuesday.
When asked how he manages two things at once, he informs with childlike enthusiasm about a third activity he is involved in: a play called Maratta Cafe which he is co-organising with Kuku Parameswaran on the 19th in Kochi. It is an initiative by the students from the first six batches of the School of Drama, Thrissur. Ranjith is the director with Shyamaprasad on the music. Murali Menon and Manu Jose are the actors.
Praana, a horror thriller starring just Nithya Menen, didn’t begin as a single-character film, says Prakash. “It was a multi-character story that evolved into a single-character one. The main hook of the film is its scary atmosphere. It’s not a repulsive, gore-filled thriller. It’s more of a psychological horror film reminiscent of the early Roman Polanksi films dealing with paranoia. The story will be relatable for any writer who has felt that their creative freedom is under threat as a result of the rising intolerance.”
Prakash brought on board Academy-award winner Resul Pookutty to design the film’s sound. The entire film has employed a modified version of the sync sound called ‘surround sync sound’. A microphone created by Resul called the ‘Brahma’ was used on the film. “We decided that recording the sound live would make the film much more interesting. This ‘Brahma’ microphone captures sound from all directions. We used a lot of mics. If there was a car, we attached a mic on the interior and exterior. We also set up mics on the car’s route,” he explains.
Filming was scheduled as per the time of the scenes mentioned in the script. “If it’s an 8 am scene, we shot it at 8 am of that particular day. The same goes for the 8 pm scene. We made sure that we didn’t leave the set until all the sound we needed was captured. After the shoot was over, we stayed back to get the necessary ambient sounds,” says Prakash, who feels that sync sound is far superior to the ‘studio’ sound done in post-production. He opines that more filmmakers should embrace it. “The pleasure of doing sync sound is something else entirely. In fact, this Hindi web series I’m working on was also done in sync sound.”
He calls Praana the most challenging work in his career. “This is the toughest film I’ve done after Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla (starring Fahadh Faasil). You’re dealing with a single actor in a single space along with highly talented technicians. We not only have to pay attention to the technical side but also have to ensure that the audience remains glued to their seats till the end,” says Prakash.
Among his upcoming line-up of projects are Madras Lodge —the sequel to his 2012 hit Trivandrum Lodge — and King Fish, starring Anoop Menon and director Ranjith. But Prakash says he is doubtful about directing the latter as he is currently occupied with the web series. Anoop Menon will be most likely helming the film with Prakash lending him creative support.
Speaking of Parchayee, Prakash will be the first Malayali director to release an Indian web series on an online platform. Sarah Jane Dias, Kabir Sajid, Farida Jalal, and Swanand Kirkire are part of the cast. Two episodes — The Ghost in the Garden and The Wind on Haunted Hill — will be helmed by Prakash and the other two — Wilson’s Bridge and The Overcoat — by Aniruddha Chowdary. “It will be a proud moment for me when Parchayee airs. Online series is the new in-thing. The advantage of creating content for online is that we don’t have to worry about audience reaction. Digital is soon going to take over everything,” says Prakash, who was the first Malayalam filmmaker to shoot a film in the digital format (Moonnamathoral, starring Jayaram).