Career diplomat and British Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata, Simon Wilson now has a new role to play- as a detective. However, this is not in real life but in reel.
Wilson, who has previously dabbled in amateur theatre is excited about donning the long coat and hat of fictional super sleuth Sherlock Holmes.
The diplomat plays the cameo in the Kolkata-sourced Hindi movie The Diamond Murders directed by Ashoke Viswanathan.
"I have done some amateur theatre in my life and this cameo role seems quite charming," Wilson told PTI.
Inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four, The Diamond Murders is set against the colonial background of Shillong, with its heritage buildings and European ambience getting transformed into a British countryside in the murder mystery.
"The film is a murder mystery that explores the Indian psyche to show how women's mind work. A lady travels through time and constructs a narrative as she creates characters borrowed from fiction like Gulliver's Travels and Treasure Island before she gets kidnapped. The protagonist, Prasant Sehgal, solves the mystery," says Viswanathan.
Rajat Kapoor plays Prasant Sehgal while Arvind Rao – the Watson prototype – is played by Priyanshu Chatterjee.
"Ashok Vishwanthan is a friend and when he offered me the role which was being shot in Meghalaya, I happily accepted it," says Wilson.
While Wilson sprinted to Kolkata after a hush-hush shot in Shillong, producer Devkant Chakraborty, elaborating on his role, says, "The film is not only a detective story, but is interspersed with inter-personal relationship coupled with several twists. At one point of time, our protagonist is desperate and dejected, unable to crack the mystery.
Then the cameo (Sherlock Holmes) comes in his hallucination and inspires him and helps to crack the case. The scene is crucial in unraveling the plot."
The director found his friend (Wilson) who loves theatre and has acted in the past, fit for the role with his looks and accent.
Dubbed as an intellectual-cum-commercial film, The Diamond Murders has all the elements of a Hindi film along with the thought process of English movies.
As the producers were planning a pan-Indian look to the film, Shillong defeated England for the settings.
Co-producer Vandana Baxshi says, "Shillong brings out the European flavor and colonial ambiance. After all it's known as the Scotland of the East. It's worth the location."
The film, produced by the Unilux Films, also stars Simone Singh, Victor Banerjee and Raj Zutshi.