Dinner party questions

Updated: Jun 21, 2020, 08:11 IST | Aastha Atray Banan | Mumbai

Rajat Kapoor and Cyrus Sahukar say their new film Kadakh may be a thriller but it's really about people like the ones we all know

Director Rajat Kapoor during a rehearsal with the cast of the film. It was shot over a period of 30 nights
Director Rajat Kapoor during a rehearsal with the cast of the film. It was shot over a period of 30 nights

When you watch Kadakh, you are reminded of a Diwali party you may have thrown at home, when your friends, varied as they come, troop in, with their own problems and joys. Someone will say something offensive and then bam, the party turns into a mad house. And everyone is now dealing with who they really are and where they come from.

"It's really like the world we are living in now, during the pandemic, where we are forced to question who we are and what we believe in," says actor Cyrus Sahukar, who has written the dialogues for the film. Written and directed by Rajat Kapoor, it released on SonyLiv last week. "It will either reassure you of your place in the world, or disturb the notion of that place," adds Kapoor. Set on Diwali day, the film sees a happy dinner turn chaotic after an unexpected visitor arrives and tragedy unfolds.

Kapoor with Mansi Multani
A still from Kadakh starring Ranvir Shorey

Kapoor says the idea for the film came to him from nowhere, but stuck around. Now, he had to figure how he would make a story set in one location, around one event, interesting. "It's hard because you have set yourself these restrictions, but how you find a way out of that... therein lies the [director's] victory." For Sahukar, the former MTV VJ we all love for his wit, this is his first attempt at writing dialogue. And for him, it was all about asking the question, "Why does someone say this in the first place?" "It comes from observations of everyone I have ever known. I think even the setting, where we shot for 30 nights, fed the movie. At night, the chats became philosophical and interesting."

A still from Kadakh starring Ranvir Shorey
Kapoor with Mansi Multani

It's the characters who are winners here, well etched out and close to the myriad people that make up our lives in general; simply fictionalised versions of people we may have met. You don't know one person like this, but many," says Kapoor. Sahukar laughs, "I play Yogesh, the motivational speaker, whom I would hate if I met in real life; he would be assaulting on the nerves."

Cyrus Sahukar has written dialogues for  the film
Cyrus Sahukar has written dialogues for the film

All in all, it works as a believable slice-of-life mystery that will have you saying: that could be me. The actors, mostly from the indie space and theatre, all share a camaraderie that's hard to fake. "I sent a mail before the schedule saying, it's 30 nights, tempers will be short, so be patient. But in the end, there was lots of laughter. Most did it for almost no money, there were no vanity vans—but the energy was great. It became a big party," says Kapoor. For Sahukar, the validation has also come in the way that they managed to predict the anxiety around the pandemic despite shooting last year—two of the characters are paranoid about safety and come to the party wearing masks. As Sahukar sums it up, "Rajat agreed to all my mad ideas, and look at this, we pre-empted COVID-19. In the end, it's not a whodunit. It's how everyone's life shifts in one night. It's about marriages and relationships, and morals and guilt. It will expose all that we are feeling and who we are in the real world. In the end, you know, humans are all about self-preservation."

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