Actor Manjot Singh recalls how excited he was to stay at a tiger reserve forest while shooting for the wildlife-themed short film “Zoya”.
“It was very exciting for me to go to a tiger reserve forest to shoot a film. I had an opportunity to stay close to nature while filming a story,” Manjot Singh told IANS.
Directed, produced and written by Sahirr Sethhi the film was shot in 2015 and it premiered at 2016 Palm Springs International ShortFest. The film also travelled to several international short film festivals.
“I did not have as many successful films back then as I have today, but even then Sahirr took me on board for the film. It was very special,” he recalled.
The story of the film revolves around a tiger, Zoya, which goes missing from a forest and how a zoologist sets off to find the animal.
“I did not know many things about wildlife, especially how zoologists and forest officers spot animals.
They install cameras in specific corners and whenever any animal crosses that area, it gets clicked and recorded on camera.
At times animals ruin those cameras as well, then the officers install new cameras. As my character is that of an assistant of a zoologist who is on a mission to find the lost tiger, I learnt how to install the camera! It is always exciting to learn something new!” he said.
The short film also features Rajesh Tailang and Geeta Agrawal Sharma.
On working with an experienced actor as Rajesh Tailang, Manjot said: “Just by observing him, I learnt so much.
Sahirr told me that he is an acting teacher in NSD, Delhi. He is so interesting to observe. In a scene, every single movement and body language that he brings has a reason.
Even when he took a pause, pointed a finger towards something, he was conveying something without words! I have learnt so much about body language from him.”
Talking about the takeaway from the film, Manjot said: “I know that such films have a set audience, but I think everyone should watch the film because the idea of making it was to create awareness about wildlife.
I was quite impacted by watching the final cut and I think to keep the wildlife intact, we also have to keep trees, rivers and everything clean and well maintained. We should not spoil them, there is a cycle. We should maintain a balance.”
“Zoya” released on May 9 on MUBI India app.