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Filmmaker Saumitra Singh packs his directorial hattrick with Kala Bai From Byculla, shares his interesting journey

Director Saumitra Singh marks his directorial debut with the short film The Wallet that stars Naseeruddin Shah and Navin Parihar followed by second short Painful Pride that has Pallavi Joshi and Rituraj K Singh gears up for his third Kala Bai From Byculla with Sharib Hashmi, Shruti Bapna and Padmini Sardesai in the important roles.

Excited Saumitra Singh talks about his debut directorial The Wallet and says, “It was overwhelming to work with a living legend like Naseer sahab in the very first short film, it was completely unimaginable. It took a little time for the feeling to sink in. Once that happened, the question was how would I direct him, an actor par excellence? Then I decided, I will just stick to the plan and leave performance upto him as I was pretty sure that he will understand the story as well as I did.”

“Considering he is an one take actor, it was completely hassle free. For a beginner like me, it was very necessary to listen and decide and I did that. I gave all the room to him and other artists on the sets to improvise and allowed myself to solely concentrate on emotion,” he adds about Naseeruddin Shah.

Talking about his mother, who plays a pivotal role in his career says, “My mother, Shipra Singh not just helped me to complete the film financially but also emotionally so that I can stay grounded and not get distracted. Another co-producer Garima Shukla and Shashwat Joshi helped the project at a point where we felt it might just not be completed.”

His second directorial Painful Pride, that narrates a story of woman and her phase of menopause stars Pallavi Joshi in the lead role. Talking about this short, he reveals, “Maansi, the producer of Painful Pride saw the posters of The Wallet and she discussed with me the concept she had conceived and shown a possibility to collaborate. The idea was an exclusive one, I immediately agreed. The urge to tell a story on a subject that had not been properly touched before convinced me to just go ahead at once.”

He continues… “I connected with Sankalp, a long time friend, to pen the script. I somehow was convinced that considering his sensibilities and views, he is the best person to write it for us. Once the writing began, we gradually became sure that the film will be made. We approached Pallavi Joshi ma’am with the story and she immediately said yes after reading the synopsis and so did Rituraj (Singh) sir. Without any further delay, Maansi, Hasan Khan (EP) and I decided to go ahead. Hasan worked tirelessly to put the logistics together for us and we completed the film in two days which ideally should have been given a 3 day schedule. But we were also cautious of the budget and the challenge was to bring out the best in the money we had.”

After The Wallet and Painful Pride, Saumitra has recently wrapped up his third directorial short Kala Bai From Byculla. On this, he says, “It’s an unique and a wonderful story written by Nameesh Sharma and ideated by Himan that I wanted to make after Painful Pride. Somehow, I had Sharib hashmi in mind for the lead role. Just then I met shashwat and narrated the idea to him. He showed interest in getting involved in the making of the film. Infact, he then decided to produce it and we started the work. I thought of getting in touch with Padmini Sardesai ma’am, a veteran and Shruti Bapna, who I found wonderful in The Lunchbox. They immediately said yes and once again, I have collaborated with Hasan Khan and there was no looking back. I want to give special shoutout to my direction team Raina & Amaninder Singh.”