Lalit Kumar’s debut feature-length film, Perverted, screens as part of ‘The India Story’ section at this year’s Mumbai Film Festival. The trailer portrays a low-budget Mumbai-slum-based indie, and a psychological portrait of one-sided love. Or obsession, in storytelling parlance.

Snehita Kothari has a quick chat with the filmmaker about his project:

What is your film, “Perverted,” essentially about? How did you stumble upon the idea to make this film?

The film revolves around the mental statuses of individuals in the present world. It shows the amount of jealousy, hatred and anger each individual is going through for no reason. So this is the story of a guy who puts his life at stake for his one-sided love.

How did you come to act in your film?

When I started the pre-production of the film along with my friend, we planned to cast struggling actors. There is a ‘Strugglers Point’ in Andheri, where all the struggling actors meet and discuss their projects. We narrated the script to 15 actors and convinced them to work for no pay. But the day before the shoot, the actors fought amongst themselves because they all wanted to play the lead! Now this was a big problem for me, as I had already paid the rent for the camera. Suddenly it struck me that we could make this film with only two actors, and hence my friend (also the co-producer) and I ended up getting cast in the film.

How much of the story is taken from real life?

The story is completely inspired by real-life incidents. I belong to Jharkhand, where I have seen many people who live in the same way as is shown in the film. Back in school, there was a girl who was very beautiful and there was not a single guy who was not interested in her. They would hang around her house and follow her on the streets, but the girl never paid them any attention. This became a part of my inspiration for the film. Also when I came to Mumbai, I stayed as a paying guest. My roommates would constantly keep chatting with their girlfriends and consume alcohol. So that became another setting in my film.

What do you think makes a filmmaker?

Well, earlier I used to think that filmmakers are some kind of geniuses. But I have realised that it is not like that. We just need to keep our eyes open and look around what is happening in our society. And that can make good cinema.

What is the one major reason that the audiences should be on a lookout for your film at MAMI?

I think mainly because this film is an example of how a film can be made in the lowest possible budget (Rs. 35000). I think student filmmakers should learn that they don’t need a producer to give them an opportunity. They can create their own opportunity. If they have a story, they can make a film.