When our long known folk tales from the pages of fairytales and stories of grandparents find a place on our screens in a modern set-up, it makes the whole experience raw and sublime.
Nuhash Humayun with his keen storytelling aura and visionary direction took the concept and served a spicy psychological horror on our plates.
His latest psychological horror ‘Pett Kata Shaw’ on Chorki is one of the first approaches to this genre in Bangladesh. Apart from its rhythmic transition, and the flamboyant blend between folklore and fictional setup, Nuhash undertook a stance to bring out non-acting artists to introduce in front of celluloid.
The Financial Express recently had a chat with the director about many aspects of his brainchild ‘Pett Kata Shaw.’ Additionally, we also talked with debutant yet famous artists Morshed Mishu and Pritom Hasan about their experiences on the OTT platform.
“Usually, you won’t see big names in horror movies. Horror projects are in general lower budget movies with risks taken talent-wise. I used the same strategy. Like if you see a known actress as a ghost character, maybe it will take you out of the experience.”
“So I took the option of bringing some artists who are already comfortable in front of a camera. On-screen they might not be perfect, but they were themselves. There is a rawness in their acting. This rawness really works in the horror-thriller genre. It makes the whole experience relatable,” Nuhash explained about casting non-acting artists in major roles in Pett Kata Shaw.
What Nuhash planned earlier and during the shoot came subtly handful in singer Pritom Hasan, cartoonist Morshed Mishu and Masuda Khan’s acting in ‘Loke Bole’ and ‘Nishir Daak’ respectively.
Pritom Hasan who is more famous for his comedic appearances played the polar opposite role of Rabab in ‘Nishir Daak’.
“For me, this was like a completely new chapter of acting, how do you express depression and problems you're going through? how a person becomes numb by the pain of life?
“The answer Nuhash gave is ‘to be blank.’ To add more,” Pritom continues, “I ate way less to make sure I looked drained and helpless, practised my level best to talk in a lower tone. Nuhash had specific guidelines on how this character is going to be. After I saw the final cut of ‘Nishir Daak,’ I was really convinced rabab is a real human being,” said Pritom.
Mishu on the other hand had randomly commented on a Facebook post by co-producer Masudul Amin Rintu looking for a long-haired actor barely knew that he would be called on by the team immediately. Upon reading Loke Bole’s script, Mishu made up his mind to act even if it cost him a personal project.
He went on saying, “I have done TVCs before. But on such shoots, I was playing myself. The challenge here was playing a character who isn’t me. While we were shooting, we were just following the director’s leading. You need to trust the creator regarding what he is visualising will come just fine. But gladly, I had the independence to add elements to Ragib's character.”
However, creating a psychological horror which indeed is one of the first of its kind in Bangladesh required a lot of challenges. On top of it, the creator even twisted the plots with local folk tales.
“In Bangladesh, our technical teams are usually not used to this genre, not even our actors. A horror film requires more takes and camera angles. It needs a lot of technical expertise and skills. In the sets, the atmosphere doesn’t feel scary,” said Nuhash.
“In Nishir Daak. All the night scenes were shot in the afternoon. So beneath the sunlight, even the scariest plot wouldn’t make much atmosphere. But I had the faith. I knew what I’m going to make out of it.”
“I didn’t want to imitate foreign horrors. I wanted to portray the pictures of our folklore stories locally. That was the challenge,” noted the confident filmmaker.
As per Nuhash, being both writer and director allowed him to have more grip on the story.
“On the very short of the first production, there is a man carrying a raw fish. Similarly, the first shot of the last episode also begins with Sutki (dried fish). Even that’s a metaphor. Creating the metaphor, was really easier for me as the writer and director.”
Because Nuhash had full control over his stories. For him, the biggest pressure was writing all four stories at the same time.
“As a person, I’m a very impatient type. I have too many things in my head. So in a sense, it was easier for me to write an anthology rather than writing a series,” Nuhash remarked.
The creator believes experimental stories and a fresh cast are a step to break the persistent norms in the industry. The mass admiration from viewers has pinned his idea successfully.
The anthology has featured veterans like Afzal Hossain and Chanchal Chowdhury. Additionally, it showcased the refreshing acting aura of Mishu, Pritom and Masuda.
Aside from the grown-ups, the child actors cast in the last two episodes delivered underrated yet brilliant performances. According to the director, The stories rested on their shoulders and they could not do it any better.
On the brink of a local OTT content boom, Pett Kata Shaw is a powerful addition. Be it Afzal Hossain’s witty yet dark portrayal of a sweet fonding Jinn or the consequences of responding to late-night Nishir Daak, all these stories take us back to the memory lanes recalling our most haunting childhood stories.
The success of the anthology is a result of Nuhash’s confidence in creativity.
As he believes, a creative person can transform his skill into other aspects too. Creative people like Pritom, Mishu and Masuda transferred their inherited creativity into their given roles.
“With all the other important crew and cast involved, we tried to deliver the best,” Nuhash concluded.