Artist-turned-filmmaker Owais Husain’s directorial debut, Pehla Sitara, which has been in production for a little over a year, is finally ready for release. “It’s an independent feature. I did not want to associate it with any major film company, since I wanted complete creative freedom on it,” says Owais.
The film that stars Kunal Kapoor and Sonal Chauhan is a storyteller’s journey. In Owais’ signature nondescript style, it is a montage of emotions that different places evoke in a wanderer. “It’s poetic. The movie needed a lot of breathing space. So, I shot it in Chandigarh and Punjab.” he says.
Even though, Pehla Sitara is Owais’ debut directorial feature, it isn’t his first tryst in filmmaking. The artist has worked as an associate director in father MF Husain’s movies, Gaja Gamini (2000) and Meenaxi: A Tale Of Three Cities (2004). He even scripted and wrote the dialogues for the latter.
“While working with my father, I got the fortunate borrowed canvas to experiment on the big screen. While in New York, years before I became a painter, I would experiment with video and cinema. Then I finally felt ready to make my own film,” says Owais.
Kunal Kapoor was Owais’ first choice for lead actor in his film. “I had already worked with him in the past in Meenaxi and he was perfect for that lost-in-the-woods brief that the character needed to follow.”
Pushing for a January 2011 release, Owais is also foraying into music. He is producing a 40-minute experimental opera, in Qatar next year. It will not star human beings, but will have choreographed robots on stage. “I have been working on it for almost six months now. I’ve been arranging and producing the music and it has been really exciting.”