A new tenant in his home, the enigmatic Pankaj intrigues Rahul stirring within him a yearning he doesn’t quite understand yet. But there’s trouble brewing when Pankaj’s caste becomes known to the family. Pankaj, at odds with his feelings for a guy that are twice tabooed, struggles to keep a roof over his head. Conflicted by his growing love for a man his family considers beneath them, Rahul must decide what truly matters – age old prejudices or the joy of first love.
What is a style but a cry in the dark, suspended in time! Filmmaking is a cathartic train to a mystic year in the future, where one can relive past memories and knit them with newer threads from the present spool of reminiscence. By weaving a pastiche of juxtapositions and paradoxes, the attempt is to traverse through human experiences and navigate their ark to the shore. The extraordinary struggle of human species to fight back is my inspiration in telling a story.
Toying with subjects that are a taboo in the Indian society gives me a high. My first short dealt with coming of age of an adolescent boy exploring his sexuality in the Nineties. How his mother becomes a driving force in his realisation and rebels in her own way formed the basic premise. The germ of Pariah somewhere came from the same thought, it is the continuation of the same story into the protagonist’s adulthood if you may. A tenant whose caste is found out by the landlords and their son’s dilemma of crossing the age-old barriers to realise their twice-tabooed love formed the basic premise. To explore and untangle Indian society’s closely woven paradoxes, I wanted to bring caste and sexuality together in this film, drawing from my own experiences as a gay man from a marginalised caste and see what play this oft discussed intersectionality brings about. Getting into the psyche of the characters and watching them unfold your own life as a visual narrative is very therapeutic. I try to grab these scenarios and project them on screen in terms of tales with individual arcs. These individual pieces crisscross and try to reach a common ground which I don’t really see as a conclusion but as a new beginning. I do not believe in climaxes but in journeys. Rather than a solid whole, I like to think of my work as incomplete inventories suspended in time.
Minimalist, realist images with sporadic colours and a hint of nostalgia is the kind of imagery I try to do. Although, visual narrative instead of spoken dialogue has always been exciting to me as a cinema goer, when a certain random entropy is attributed to dialogue, it creates a vivid imagery of its own. Breaking away from the contemporary realistic style in the use of lighting as almost incidental and coupling its classical usage with the modern realism excites me. Through writing and filmmaking techniques, I am still trying to find my own way to arrive at a style. But till the time that happens, I am happy to keep imbibing like a sponge.