Written by playwright Tanuj Khosla and directed by journalist, author, entrepreneur Zafar Anjum, both long term residents of Singapore, The Sacrifice is a short film that explores the complexities of a husband-wife relationship.
Starring veteran theatre, television and Hindi cinema actor Shishir Sharma and Singapore’s upcoming theatre artist Renita Kapoor, The Sacrifice tells the story of a married couple, both of whom are stand-up comedians.
Sharma plays the role of ‘Rahul’, a successful comic who has achieved a lot of fame and success in his career.
“He is like the be-all and know-all of being a stand-up comedian. The audience just goes berserk when he appears on stage. But he is not a very egoistic person in spite of his fame,” says Sharma.
While the husband is successful, the wife Shonali, played by Kapoor has seen her career lag and fall off the radar.
“A stand-up comedian all her life till she conceived. A woman who lost her unborn child while taking care of her mother-in-law. A woman who gave up her career, her passion for her unborn child, gave away her best sketch ever to her husband, which made him the best stand-up comedian,” says Kapoor of her character.
The nervous wife, who has a lot of pent-up anger and frustration over a life of sacrifice for her family, is now preparing for her comeback show while the husband has just received an offer to perform for a famous OTT platform. The problem - there is only one script.
“Will the distance between them, both emotionally and career-wise, increase or decrease? If one of them had to make a sacrifice for the other - who should be that person?” says scriptwriter Tanuj Khosla, who wrote the film in 2018.
Khosla is not new to the art of scriptwriting. A poet, playwright, lyricist, and an investment management professional, Khosla has written plays which have been staged in Singapore, Toronto and Mumbai. He was recently awarded the National Record for 'Most Short Plays By A Playwright Performed Consecutively' by both Singapore Book of Records and India Book of Records.
“The film showcases a cocktail of emotions in 14 minutes - love, pain, sacrifice and above all, poses a century old question - where is the thin line between self-love and selfishness? Is selflessness a virtue that no longer exists or can we still make a big sacrifice for the ones we love?” explains Khosla.
Set in India but shot entirely in Singapore, The Sacrifice explores the fine nuances that define the relationship between spouses.
“It is not a didactic film. It's a story that has a twist in the tale. The film explores the emotion of jealousy in a couple which is hidden under the surface of bonhomie and cheerfulness,” says director Anjum, the founder of Filmwallas.
While the film is about stand-up comedians, it deals with emotional issues and has a “dark ending.”
Says Kapoor, “I was personally very keen on doing a negative role and shared this thought with him (Tanuj Khosla). Tanuj came up with this beautiful script which had an interesting twist and a dark ending. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this character that Tanuj created for me ‘Shonali’.”
Shot in March this year over a period of 2 days, the idea of the film came about when Renita Kapoor sent Shishir Sharma the script written by Khosla, with the two actors keen to work on a project together.
“Once I had finished reading the script I could visualise playing this character which I found very interesting. I wanted to do this film with Renita who is a brilliant actor... we agreed on this script and asked Zafar Bhai if he would be interested in directing it,” says Sharma.
For Zafar Anjum, it was an easy decision. “I found the whole concept fun and loved the idea that the film was about a comedian couple and was contained in one location. I didn't have any hesitation in saying yes,” he says.
The Sacrifice is Anjum’s directorial debut. “I wanted to do many things in life. I wanted to be a journalist, a writer, a publisher, an entrepreneur and a filmmaker. I have been exploring all these roles at different points of time in my life. After writing and publishing dozens of books, now I want to focus on filmmaking, which for me is just another form of storytelling,” he explains.
The Sacrifice is all set for a private screening in Singapore on September 28, following which the makers plan to take it to film festivals around the world, before a widespread release in collaboration with a YouTube channel.
“It’s a cosmopolitan movie, full of emotions and feelings,” says Kapoor. “I feel this movie has a global appeal. It’s a story of a husband and wife, it’s about their passion and their love and hate relationship. It’s something that globally people would be able to relate to.”