Films | Artist Interviews | Catching Up With Film Directors Raj & DK

Catching Up With Film Directors Raj & DK

Posted by Vivek on February 9, 2009 | No Comments

Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK

Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK co-write and co-direct their films. They are originally software consultants based in the USA. They’ve been friends from Engineering College days. They’ve made a few short films in the USA. Their first feature film is the Indo-American film FLAVORS, which was very well received in the US.

FLAVORS was called ‘one of the best in its genre’ by leading Indian publications like rediff.com

and Indian Express. It was also called ‘Refreshing’ and ‘Unformulaic’ by renowned international  publications like Hollywood Reporter and Toronto Star.
 

FLAVORS won BEST FEATURE FILM Award at Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival. The lead actress Pooja Kumar won SAG EMERGING ACTOR Award at the St. Louis International Film Festival. The film was an official entry at over a dozen prestigious international film festivals, including Hamptons International, Milan International, Cairo International, Durban International, Bangkok International, Mumbai International and Hawaii International.
 

Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK were nominated for BEST EMERGING DIRECTOR Award at the Asian-American International Film Festival, New York; they were also chosen DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR by the South Asian Students Alliance (SASA) in California.
 

After a successful theatrical release in North America and India, it is now being telecast on Star Movies in South Asia, and on HBO in Europe.

They have also made a short film called SHOR (NOISE), which won BEST SHORT FILM award at IAAC Film Festival in NYC this year and BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY ate SF Shorts. The short was also featured in some prestigious film festivals including Slamdance, Raindance, LA Shorts and Palm Springs Shorts.

When asked what caused the shift from software to filmmaking, their answer is: monotony!
Now the duo return to their homeland, actually not quite, different city, but same nation…the world of Bollywood!! Here is talking to them.

ABOUT THEIR UPCOMING FILM " 99"?

99 is our first venture into mainstream Hindi cinema. It is what we call ‘a smart comedy’. It is a crime-comedy-thriller! The film has an element of historical fiction, based on some events that happened in the year 1999. It’s part fact, part fiction. And pure fun.

The first thing most people notice is that the title is very atypical and ask – why 99? The film is called 99 because, for starters, it is set in the year 99. So it is a kind of period film, but it is set just yesterday! So that makes this the most contemporary period film! :-)

But there is another reason for the title. The characters in the film feel like they’re stuck at 99, just one short of making a ‘century’ in life! The film is all about making that one ‘run’ that everyone attaches so much importance to.

Our mantra has been – ‘fun’ need not mean ‘mindless’ and ‘intelligent’ need not mean ‘artsy’. And the result is – 99.

We’re planning for a 2009 April release.

FLAVORS TO BOLLYWOOD – THE MOVE?

FLAVORS made a great impact on a lot of Indians around the world. By virtue of being an Indo-American film, and being in English, it didn’t really reach the mainstream Indian audiences though. And Hindi cinema at the moment is going places – new kinds of films and filmmakers are emerging. These were some of the factors that convinced us that our kind of sensibilities, tastes and the fresh perspective we bring would actually be very welcome in Hindi cinema. At the end of the day I think every creative person’s goal is to reach as wide an audience as possible.

SHOOTING EXPERIENCES/ANECDOTES?

Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK

Shooting 99 was a huge deviation from shooting FLAVORS. This is our first experience dealing with a star-studded cast. Overall we had a rather smooth production. There’s a certain professionalism that comes with dealing with established actors. Their time is valuable, which in turn means we should be very organized. And all the actors in the film believed in the script and tried to internalize the roles very well.

Being a major production, everything is very professional. We have to deal with union rules, overtime and other such alien concepts! You don’t break for lunch at the right time, the union boss is breathing down your neck. And unlike FLAVORS, where everyone did everything, on 99 there is one designated person for each task. One person will only roll the cables and pack it in the box, don’t you go asking him hold the light stand… :-) And a special note to American filmmakers – don’t go using the word ‘extras’ – the correct word is ‘junior artists’.

In fact this is a welcome relief, because as directors, all we had to do was direct!

CAST AND CREW?

The cast just fell in place. Mostly we cast based on who was most suitable for the role (but, of course). Kunal Khemu, Soha, Boman and Mahesh Manjrekar, the major roles in the film all have one thing in common. They’re natural actors and have the right sensibilities for this film. They all loved the script and their own roles and gave their 100%. Cyrus Broacha, the other lead, is as hilarious in real life as he is on TV – he added a lot of energy and spontaneity to the film. Getting Mr Vinod Khanna for a special appearance was the icing on the cake.

We selected the crew with great care. We viewed the previous works of all the heads of departments and made sure we picked the right people for this kind of film – someone with experience, yet a modern way of thinking.

At the end of the day I think we got the perfect cast and crew.

THE FUTURE?

We have a few scripts ready. It has been a long journey for us from FLAVORS to 99. Like they say the first step is the hardest. After 99, hopefully things will get easier for us to make the other films. Our goal is to challenge ourselves and attempt various kinds of cinema.

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