An upcoming center for Indie film making is growing up in India at Nagpur, Maharashtra. Recently many films and web series made locally by filmmakers from the city have released on National and global scale. The filmmakers of the city have learned to be more local about the content but more global in approach. This strategy of going local with global approach has given many accolades to the film making community in Nagpur. More and more people are deciding to stay here in the city and make films here, rather than going to Mumbai.
Recently one such film is ‘+-‘ (Plus Minus), which is directed by Kundan Sad and features Ganesh Deshmukh as a lead. It was made at Khaperkheda, Nagpur and has a very unique story behind it. Kundan Sad is a very talented and renowned DOP of central India and has done many films and web series as a DOP. His recent work was Drishtibhram, a 9 episode web series which was released on 7 major online streaming platforms in India. He had won many awards for his short films and has won the Indian Film Project thrice in the past.
As a director, +- was his first feature film. The story behind making +- is very interesting. Starting from the script, Kundan discovered the script of +- on a script website where people can upload their written script and find a maker. The script was written by Mohammed Hassan, who had written the script nine years back and uploaded on various screenwriting sites. He says, “It’s doubly amazing because I wrote that script 9 years ago and uploaded it to several screenwriting sites then moved on. It was discovered by Kundan Sad and his team earlier this year, who not only did a wonderful job producing and directing it, but also remained very faithful to the original material – very hard to do considering the script has zero dialogue and is 100% allegorical (I was knee-deep in Alejandro Jodorowsky movies at the time). You can learn two things from this: one, the internet NEVER forgets, and two, no effort is wasted if you pour your heart into it. You just have to put the effort in first.”
Once Kundan and his team finalized the script, he put together his team whom he had worked for many years. The main challenge was the budget. It was important that he makes the whole film in the allotted budget of 40,000/- Rupees and still not let the film look like a low budget film. The only solution to it was ‘JUGAAD’, which is the strength of any filmmaker. The production team was on their toes throughout the shoot. The plus point was that the film had to be shot in just one room location and only with one actor. The negative point was there were no dialogues in the film and therefore the actor had to pull off his performance very well.
The shoot location was inside an empty godown room. The floors had to be cemented to make it look good in the camera. So the team recreated the floor of the room with cement, two days prior to the shoot. But the floor was still wet due to lack of sunlight. Kundan recalls that night, “The team came up with the idea and designed the way to dry the floors using chairs and halogen lights and the shoot finally kickstarted the next morning.”
There was another challenge in shooting which was the placement of lights. Kundan who had also shot the film didn’t want to place the film lights on the ceiling of the room because by doing so he would be limited in a smaller space to shoot and won’t be able to show the full room. “The room was the character of the film, getting it all in one frame with the right amount of light was our next task to do. I wanted lights to be the part of the environment, so the lights were fixed to the ceiling in a way that it depicted the title of our movie +-“, explains Kundan.
There is another scene in the film where the protagonist opens the fridge and the water floods out of the door. It was also a tricky part to do and a very strenuous shot. A very skinny man was placed just behind the fridge hiding away from the camera and water was filled in the many condoms and hanged inside the fridge. The shot was triumphed by the man bursting the water balloons using the pin exactly when the protagonist opens the door. “It had to be practiced a lot of time before taking a final shot with real water as we couldn’t afford to make the floor wet and wait for it to dry”, tells Kundan.
Putting it all together with the right amount of commitment and coordination is what +- delineated. The team spent day and night on the set making it their home for the next 6 days. The motive was to work without interruption – rest being the most important one. The team chose to sleep on the set and managed to complete the shoot within five days.
Once the film was completed. the editing was done by Kundan Sad himself and music was done by Ambar Bhartiya who is an upcoming name in the Indie film music industry. The film was distributed digitally by Piyush Pande Films. MX Player liked the film so much that it took the film to screen on their App in the first review screening only. +- is one film from which you should be inspired as to how money is not always required to make a great film. What is required is a passion, dedication and the fire in the belly!!