Natkhat director Shaan Vyas: We needed a prominent voice like Vidya Balan

Updated: Jun 14, 2020, 08:03 IST | Uma Ramasubramanian | Mumbai

Natkhat director, Shaan Vyas discusses how actor-producer Vidya Balan added value to his short film that tackles society's inherent patriarchy

Vidya Balan
Vidya Balan

Even the brightest ideas need an impetus to reach fruition. Director Shaan Vyas knew that in Natkhat, he had a powerful story that holds a mirror to society's patriarchal and misogynistic ways. But, he acknowledges that it is Vidya Balan's presence that gives the short film a much-needed boost.

"Several short films go unnoticed, but, when we were writing this film, we were clear about its larger purpose. The story came from a place of genuine anger at the rampant patriarchy [that has plagued our society]. We needed a prominent voice [to spread the film's message], and who better than Vidya? She likes to be associated with strong subjects. Plus, she had never done a short film before," explains Vyas.

Poster of Natkhat
Poster of Natkhat

The film revolves around a mother who instills the values of respect for women and gender equality in her son from a tender age, by narrating different stories. So moved was Balan by the script that she came on board in the dual role of actor and producer. He recounts, "When we approached her, she instantly liked the script and connected with her role. Vidya will help us penetrate the mass audience because she has a huge fan base. When you have an actor like her, your job becomes easier. She added nuances to her role that elevated the script."

Vyas, who has earlier backed relevant films like Period: The End of Sentence and The Lunchbox (2013), reveals that the 2018 Kathua rape was the trigger for developing the project.

Shaan Vyas
Shaan Vyas

"That is when I started digging deep into the problem. A child's mind can be moulded the way you want. So, we wanted to emphasise that nurturing children and conditioning them [to believe in gender equality] is important," states Vyas, adding that co-writer Annukampa Harsh "brought heart and soul" to the project.

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