Indian filmmaker Pan Nalin went back to his childhood roots for his latest project Last Film Show, which is playing in competition at the Red Sea International Film Festival this week.
“I was about nine years-old when I saw the first movie, which was of course popular Indian cinema, what we call Bollywood, and I was mesmerized,” said Nalin, speaking at Deadline’s Red Sea Studio. “And I didn’t want to do anything else since then except make movies – I didn’t even know what it meant.”
Last Film Show (Chhello Show) is India’s official entry for the Best International Feature Oscar race. The film, shot in Gujarat, western India, where Nalin was raised, pays homage to the cinema of the past – a reminder of childhood innocence and the universal magic of movies. It follows Samay, a 9-year-old boy living with his family in a remote village of India who discovers films for the first time.
Speaking of working with Nalin, actor Richa Meena, who play Samay’s mother, said she went into the role blindly. Nalin said he’s “famous for not giving scripts.”
“He just briefed me about the character, Meena said, adding, “She’s doesn’t talk much and she’s very content also, so I was like ok, this is something very tricky. I have to work a lot internally to kind of bring it externally.”
About working with Nalin, Meena said, “When you really respect someone’s work, there’s a sense of, you can’t help it, but you do get nervous because you don’t want to do anything which is not right, you just want to be your best. You don’t want to disappoint.”
She added, “He still makes me nervous.”
Nalin spoke about Meena’s character saying, “It was a very unusual relationship because of the character. Her character has to speak very less and be the most powerful at the end of the movie. So, at first look, at first layer, it’s like she’s just a woman all the time cooking in the kitchen. But as the film progresses, without a word, we realize how powerful her impact has been on little Samay, her husband and the whole future of the family.”
Producer Siddharth Roy Kapur spoke positively about Saudi Arabia opening up to the world saying, “I’m really amazed by how preconceived notions of the place are being smashed to bits in a sense. It’s great to see a more liberal society. The fact that cinema in the last five years has actually been accessible to people in screens, in theatres which was not the case earlier. And just the energy and the vibe of the festival, the sense of boundaries being crossed the sense of all kinds of things being acceptable in terms of the sort of movies that are being shown here, the events around the festival. I think it’s wonderful.”