After making short films, 21-year-old Prannoy Mehta wanted to try his hand at a movie with songs. However, he wanted to avoid the conventions of the regular Indian mainstream film, in which hero and heroine often break into a song-and-dance without warning. Mehta wanted to weave original compositions into the background. The result is the 50-minute Falana Dhimkana, which was released on YouTube on December 24.
The Mumbai-set film has also been written and produced by Mehta, and gets its title from a scene in which a character muses that the “falana dhimkana”, or random moments of life, are rarely remembered amid milestones such as graduation, love, and one’s first job.
Falana Dhimkana follows six youngsters as they navigate friendship, love and family. The ensemble cast includes Dellzad Sanjay Hiwale (Chittagong, Hindi Medium) alongside newcomers Anushka Banerjee, Utkarsh Goel, Aakash Dutt Sharma, Priyansha Mishra and Abhimanyu Singh Raghav.
The soundtrack includes four original songs composed by Samiran Sonowal, whom Mehta knew from college, and singer Shyamantan Das.
Mehta has made eight films of varying lengths, most of which were completed while he pursued his Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication at the Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication in Pune. His work is available on his YouTube channel Paradiso Films. “College provided me with the filmmaking infrastructure, and I believe the only way to learn direction is by continuously writing and directing,” said Mehta, who graduated in 2018.
His films include the three-and-a-half minute Bewakoof, a love triangle told in the first person, and the 30-minute Qahr, a dystopian film set in India in 2022 where Hindus, Muslims and Christians live in ghettos under threat from a doomsday cult.
Falana Dhimkana contains three crisscrossing stories. One is the romance between Rishi (Hiwale) and Shruti (Banerjee). The second is the heartwarming friendship between Abbas (Utkarsh Goel) and Avinash (Abhimanyu Singh Raghav). A third story follows siblings Aarti (Priyansha Mishra) and Subhash (Aakash Dutt Sharma), who come to Mumbai from a village. How these relationships are tested form the rest of the story.
Particularly intriguing is the track centred on Abbas and Avinash, whose emotional and physical intimacy suggest homoerotic undertones. Mehta said their relationship was a reflection of the friendships he saw in college. “Since one is a photographer and the other a dancer, I assumed they wouldn’t have a very ‘manly-man’ relationship and it would be more sensitive,” Mehta explained.
Barring Hiwale, none of the actors in the film have prior acting experience. Most of them were Mehta’s friends who worked for free. College equipment was used for the shoot, and the movie was largely filmed on campus or at friends’ homes.
Mehta is already onto his next project, the short film Gul. “It’s made on a much bigger scale,” he said. “A lot shorter than Falana Dhimkana and has the potential to do well in festivals, I believe.”