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CHINTAA MANI IS A BLEND OF MULTIPLE GENRES: SUDHANSHU RAI

Filmmaker Sudhanshu Rai’s new short film Chintaa Mani has released on Disney+Hotstar.

New-age storyteller, motivational speaker, and filmmaker Sudhanshu Rai’s new short film Chintaa Mani has recently released on Disney+Hotstar which is a blend of comedy, thrill as well as sci-fi. Produced under the banner of Saints Art and Kahanikaar Sudhanshu Rai, Chintaa Mani is a comedy thriller, with an element of extraterrestrial phenomena. Starring Sudhanshu Rai, Shobhit Sujay, Abhishek Sonpaliya and Akhlaq Ahmad (Azad), the nearly half-an-hour long thriller has been helmed by debutant director Puneet Sharma, who had co-written Chaipatti and Detective Boomrah. In an exclusive conversation filmmaker Sudhanshu Rai gives insights about his upcoming sci-fi. Excerpts:

Q. Please tell us about your new short film Chintaa mani, and its making?

A. Chintaa Mani is possibly the most experimental offering from the house of Saints Art and Kahanikaar Sudhanshu Rai till date, for instead of being a run-of-the-mill thriller, it is a blend of multiple genres as well as subgenres such as thriller, mystery, sci-fi and supernatural, with a tint of humour. It is a story about three friends who get hold of a precious stone aka Mani, which can foretell the future, but what actually follows is a roller coaster tale of magic and misfortune. Chintaa Mani is quite unlike what the audience is usually offered, especially in India. We have taken into account the learning from our previous successful releases – Chaipatti and Detective Boomrah – and built upon the same to give the audience the real edge-of-the-seat experience. It has released recently on Disney+Hotstar.

Q. Please tell us about your journey in filmmaking, and further in storytelling.

A. My association with stories, acting and direction dates back to when I was pursuing my education. It was during the period that I wrote and acted in a lot of plays that went on to be awarded as well. I took up storytelling formally a couple of years back, and have since then released over 100 stories across different media such as podcasts, digital and radio. It was after the first season of ‘Kahaniyaan with Kahanikaar Sudhanshu Rai’ on radio that we forayed into production with Chaipatti, which continues to clock a great response on MX Player, Disney+ Hotstar and YouTube. Taking it a notch further, we released web series Detective Boomrah, a one-of-its-kind Indian detective show that is amongst the popular content on leading OTTs like MX Player. And now we are out with our latest production, Chintaa Mani, the trailer of which is already loved by over a million of viewers, and would most possibly complete the tripod that we need to build something bigger.

Q. What do you think is the future of OTT platforms and do you think that the pandemic has refined it?

A. In the new normal propelled since the outbreak of the pandemic, many of us now opt to continue with a work-from-home or hybrid working model rather than going to the office every day. In the course of it, people have become much more acquainted with seeking entertainment options at homes, thereby leading to the widespread popularity of OTTs. A significant chunk of the audience is now familiar with newer content and formats. A panoramic view of the performance of OTTs suggests that the audience today is more interested in what unique experiences are being offered to them. In the long term, it will mostly depend on how much each OTTs evolve to reflect the viewer’s shifting taste.

Q. Please tell us about your personal favorite creation out of Detective Boomrah, Chaipatti, and now Chintaa Mani.

A. There is no possibility of ranking one above the other because all three – Chaipatti, Detective Boomrah and Chintaa Mani – are quite unlike each other. The plot, the premise as well as the filming experience have been starkly different from one another, with each carving a special place in my heart. If Chaipatti was the ice-breaker for us for foray into production, Detective Boomrah took us closer to our vision for the silver screen. Now, Chintaa Mani is a result of the learning and experience we gathered through our earlier ventures, and as mentioned earlier, it is the most experimental offering from our production till date.

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