26-year-old Omkar Modgi’s maiden short film Avyakta (Unexpressed) has been shortlisted for the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The film underlines the journey of Modgi’s own relationship with his father, how it went from being an unexpressed obligation to a love-filled one without the need of speaking regularly. It is an 11 minute 42 second short film. It was made on a budget of little more than ₹1 lakh and was shot in Rajgurunagar, on the outskirts of Pune.
Avyakta chronicles the evolution of a father-son relationship after Aarti, the mother of a teenager-Aditya, passes away suddenly. The mother’s passing not only leaves a void in both the boy and the father’s lives but it also puts them at an awkward point, making them realise that she had been the bridge between them in the house. While noted theatre actor Aniruddha Khutwad essays the role of the father, child actor Paarth Bhalerao of Bhootnath Returns fame plays the son.
Modgi explains that the idea of making such a film occurred when he put himself in the young boy’s shoes and recalled the moments in his life and the relationship with his father whenever his mother went away. The film will be screened at Cannes in May 2017. It took Modgi 10 months to write the first draft of the script. In fact, noted Marathi filmmaker Umesh Kulkarni helped the young writer immensely in the process, pointing out the inadequacies in his research.
While initially Modgi’s story was set in a village, on Kulkarni’s advice he relocated the setting to a more familiar urban set up. Prior to making his own film, Modgi had worked as an assistant director with many established Marathi filmmakers. Modgi chose to pursue his career in cinema four years ago after quitting Chartered Accountancy (CA) course, despite scoring well in the first two parts. His first taste of success comes with the selection of ‘Avyakta’ at the much-acclaimed international film festival. The selection was confirmed through a congratulatory mail sent from Cannes.