The youngest Indian writer-director with an Academy Award Oscar nomination, for ‘Little Terrorist’ and National Award winning director for ‘Inshallah Football’ is all set to release his mainstream ecological thriller THE FOREST on May 4th, 2012. The film is a thriller with an ecological message, a chilling tale of a man-eating leopard set in the jungles of North India. THE FOREST is the third release under PVR Cinema’s ‘Director’s Rare’ series. The star cast of the film in the pivotal roles is Javed Jafferi, Nandana Sen, Ankur Vikal and Salim Ali Zaidi.
The press conference held at PVR Cinema where Ashvin told, “THE FOREST is a suspense thriller with horror element. We are losing the jungles very fast and also wildlife. The fact that animals are fighting for survival in our jungles, counterpoint the idea that human beings have become prey. The animals are a victim and aggressor. The protagonist leopard in the film is also an antagonist, man-eater. That was the challenge of writing and directing THE FOREST.”
Ashvin’s ‘Inshallah Football’ was banned earlier and later received the National Award this year for Social Issues. His latest controversial ‘Inshallah Kashmir-Living in Terror’, is under cloud again. He is emerging as the independent voice of Indian cinema in the true Indie spirit. He joins the select list of Indians at the Oscars with global sensitivity with legends like Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Shekhar Kapur, Resul Pookati, Bhanu Athaiya and AR Rehman and remains the only Indian to ever be nominated into the short film category.
THE FOREST is been shoot in jungles of Jim Corbett and Bandhavgarh in India. Ashvin said, “I did not get permit to shoot the leopard scenes in India so had to shoot at Thailand. The film required leopards to play the man-eating predator, Thierry le Portier (Gladiator, Two Brothers) and his two leopards were specially flown from Paris. In order to create realism and authenticity I also assembled an international Hollywood technical crew.”
Ashvin started career with ‘Road To Ladakh’ continues with ‘Days In Doon’, ‘Inshallah Football’ and ‘Inshallah Kashmir’. THE FOREST had started the journey on celluloid five years back. It delayed to see the light because of distribution problem. Ashvin continues, “See star value definitely affect but I did not want any stars for my film. I have talented team of actor in THE FOREST. My script is the real star.”
About the leopard he said, “The danger posed by the leopard is heightened in this story because we come to know the characters before the leopard appears. A man-eating tiger is not as scary as a man-eating leopard, due to man-animal proximity the incidence of such attacks is on the rise all over the country. The leopard is a smaller animal, it is a sneaky animal, it rarely allows itself to be spotted – it hunts elusively and comes at you through the shadows. It can climb onto roofs, trees and attack its prey from the ground or from above. When a Leopard becomes a veteran man-eater it begins to think like us human beings. It is unnerving to consider that it actually learns our ways…”
“More than a 150 people are killed in leopard or tiger attacks in India every year due to mounting poaching and encroachment on the wilderness. Such animals become man-eaters. The film is about a wounded leopard, who’s only choice for survival is to hunt humans and this story is inspired by one such attack. Moral of the story is if we disturb the ecological balance of nature, it reverts to mankind with natural calamities like tsunami, earthquake etc. We all are facing the problem of Global Warming. We should conserve the nature. THE FOREST is an awakening call,” he concludes.
The film premiered at Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose in February 2009, and had its market premiere at Cannes Market ‘09. It was also a part of the official competition of Montreal International Film Festival, Canada and Sitges International Film Festival, Spain.
A quiet, peaceful forest, a secluded rest house – the perfect place for Pritam and Radha, a couple from a big city, to sort out a troubled and childless marriage. But things start going wrong from the moment they run into a forgotten adversary. Abhishek, the wife’s ex-lover turns out to be the local cop, invites himself and his son Arjun to their vacation. As husband and lover lock horns for the woman, primitive instincts are heightened by the wilderness that surrounds them. Embroiled in their dark secrets and dangerous games they fail to see signs of a much greater threat. A man eating leopard is drawn by the smell of human flesh and as night falls. The nocturnal predator comes into his element. He knows that man is the weakest animal in his jungle and he is a perfect killer. In a night of terror, survival for the city slickers will depend on outwitting a wild animal who is hunting on his home turf and has lost his natural fear of man.
THE FOREST hits the screen on 4th May, 2012.