The pandemic has impacted people in many different ways and it was this struggle that actor Sudeep Sarangi wanted to convey with his short film Every Life Matters. Produced by Girish Arora from Sane Insane Pictures, the film talks about how people from different sections of society dealt with the lockdown.
“I stay in Thane and I was alone at that time. We didn’t know what would happen and we were not prepared that everything would be at a standstill. There was a fear then that anything could happen. There was emptiness at home and this story just clicked with me. We used to browse on the mobile and listen to the news about what’s happening around. There were people dying of hunger and, at one point of time, there were some who even went into depression because of the loneliness. So, that is when this story came to my head,” says Sudeep, who started his career with South cinema.
He adds, “There was only one focus in my mind – that this story needs to be shown to people. There are different kinds of people in society; one set of people belong to the higher section of society, the other is the middle class and then, there are those who live under the poverty line. This film is about the relationship these different people share with each other. My role is of a common man. Since the concept was mine, at the back of my mind, I didn’t do any preparation. Every day I used to think about my character. When Dadhi Bhai (Dadhi R Paandey) joined us as a director, I took a lot of input from him and he shared many ideas.”
It always helps when you have a supportive producer, says Sudeep Sarangi, adding, “Girish is a dynamic producer, a great friend, and is very supportive. Our vibes match. We are from the same theatre and we knew each other from Facebook. We have always wished well for each other. I used to see that he used to make concept-based films on hard-hitting subjects. I thought of telling him a story. Though I am not a writer, this story just came to me. The screenplay and dialogues aren’t mine. I just narrated my idea of the story to Girish and he liked it. Even Sangeeta Ji, his wife, liked it. This gave me confidence. We made a team. Ashwini Kumar joined me as a writer and he made a proper structure.”
Being directed by Dadhi was also a great experience for Sudeep, who adds, “The experience was amazing. It was a friendly atmosphere on the set. With Dadhi Bhai, I had worked earlier. And just working for two days with him, as a writer and storyteller, I got to know him then. Dadhi Paandey has a unique way of storytelling. In fact, I remember I called him late at night and the next day he said that the subject is really nice, made some changes and we got started. I learned a lot from Dadhi Bhai. He is like a big brother to me and has a lot of patience.”
The short film genre is here to stay, says Sudeep Sarangi. “The genre of short films will keep going on. It’s not necessary that to tell a story you need three hours, you can do that in 10-15 minutes as well. Short films are a gateway to feature films. Christopher Nolan, the great filmmaker, has also done short films. You learn a lot while doing short films and, in the future, the popularity of short films will increase,” he says, adding, “I hope people like and get touched by this film. It is a simple narrative, one that people will relate to at a humanitarian level. It talks about human behaviour and how situations change people. The people who have watched the film have loved it.”