Prashant Raj is an Indian film screenwriter and actor. His films are characterized by nonlinear storylines, dark humor, accord violence, ensemble casts, extended dialogue, ensemble casts, references to Indian popular culture, alternate history, and neo-noir.
Question: What made you write "Rakshasutra"? how did this idea come to your mind?
Well, I have been associated with DK Films for a one-half year now. We were discussing and doing a lot of sci-fi and superhero stuff but you will find the core inspiration behind every work of DK Films is the glorious history of India which we mistakenly refer to as mythology. So on the occasion of Rakshabandhan, we were planning for a sci-fi Idea what DK Films fan love to see along with this idea of the origin of Raksha Bandhan, where did it all get started from? like this so we all had such kind of ideas but then one of the members of the team, our editor advised us to make something that not only fantasizes the youth but also educate them about the history and the truth behind what we see today as the culture of our nation as youth is our core audience and future of this nation. Rakshasutra was the finest idea to go on the floor, as It has history, mythology, supernatural incidents, and everything that a true epic needs to be made.
Question: You have written a blend of two stories, one is from the era of medieval India and the other one is from the mythological era of Krishna? How do these two stories connect and what made you convinced about putting these two stories altogether?
Yes, these stories show two significant moments from the history of this nation. One is from Dwapara Yuga, the time of Krishna, the incident of killing of Shishupal took place just a few years before the epic Mahabharata and the other one is from the early history of Mughals when India was on the verge of losing many Rajputana Kingdoms under Islamic invasion in India. So both the stories show the crucial time before the battle. In both stories, a woman is asking for help from a powerful being of that time and the idea behind these stories was to show how strong the traditions of this nation are that they are being followed for thousands of years and Rani Karnawati quotes the incident of Draupadi and Krishna when she writes a letter to Humayun to help her and to save her kingdom from Gujrat Sultan Bahadurshah. Both the stories leave an impact and prove the fact that there is a strong reason & history behind every tradition people of this country follow even today and most of the traditions are followed in the form of festivals like Rakshabandhan.
(Prashant raj on the set of "Raksha Sutra" in Bulandshahar)
Question:You said "Islamic Invasion". What do you mean by that? As if there was one Muslim emperor who attacked Mewar or other Hindu kingdoms there was another Muslim emperor who helped Hindu Kingdoms not tried to do so. Don't you think it's a very shrunk idea of history to label the battle of kingdoms as the battle of Religions?
"Well it's a long debate but every other Kingdom outside this nation be it Sultanate, Mughals or Britishers came to rule this land either on the point of power, sword, religion, or policies and in many ways they destroyed many religious traditions, culture & monuments that belonged to Hinduism.
As we see there is a huge difference we see between North Indian traditions and South Indian traditions because south India was never ruled by any of the Muslim Kingdoms that ruled North India at that time and this is why the core Hindu traditions of these nations are still alive for thousands of years in that region of India which we don't see in the northern part of India. So it's a long subject of research how those Invasions caused India to lose its cultural identity. Considering all the political aspects of that time yes we can say that many Muslim Kingdoms became allies with Hindu Kingdoms or helped each other but from the early phase of arrivals of Muslim to the last phase of Aurangzeb, we see a downfall in political intentions towards this country but a rise in radicalized religious policies. Britishers had not so many religion-oriented policies but they manipulated the history and facts between two major religions of this country, as a result of which India saw many disasters along with its partition."
(Prashant raj on the set of "Raksha Sutra" along with Charchit Kaushik, Ankit Vatsa, Tushar Sirohi, Uditya Nain, Deepshikha & Dushyant Kapoor in Bulandshahar)
Question: Coming back to Rakshasutra again, the story, characters, scenes, and visuals look so fresh and creative. How did you imagine it in that way.?
"DK Films is known for its visuals and a very talented and young technical team, so I just wrote a simple story. They created the Mewar Fort, the Shishupal-Krishna fight, and designed all of the visuals in a way that was strikingly different from previous adaptations of the same stories. As a result, the cast, editing, sound, and VFX teams deserve all of the credit."
Question: Today everyone is looking for content that can achieve views in millions be it anything content mostly cringe content. We see many influencers & creators who claim to be the face of youth. Where do you see in that race of influencers & creators?
"First and foremost, neither I nor the team to which I belong are participating in any sort of competition. Making content for the youth should never be viewed as a race; it is a work of art and creativity, not a race to get ahead of or behind others. We've also created content that has received millions of views, as well as content that has received none.
We aren't even competing with ourselves. DK Film has focused on producing high-quality content from the beginning, regardless of how many views it receives, and the content has subsequently attracted such a large number of views. DK Films creates cinema that has a profound impact on youth, making them more aware and ambitious about the art of cinema. It's not about youtube or becoming famous in one night.
For example, we had many crispy & catchy ideas for a video on Rakshbandhan which could fetch millions of views without putting so much effort on the ground, those ideas just needed studio work to create them but we went on the floor, took the risk, arranged and did everything in the period of lockdown just to prove our commitment & will to create a wonderful cinema and when the same youth who go for cringe or crispy content applauded our work then we were so happy & satisfied to see the response. Youth is our priority and to serve them with quality content is our motto. Youth has a fresh mind, it can be molded the way creators want it to be with their content so it's a responsibility for us to create something which makes a difference and spreads awareness."
Question: DK Films is known for its superhero universe, but it has recently expanded into other genres such as social, history, fiction, and science fiction with films such as Corona 2049, poetry for social awareness, Hacking Tiktok, End of the World, and Rakshasutra.What is the concept behind moving away from superheroes and toward multi-directional aspects of stories?
Is this the work of DK Films or a writer's vision?
What is the concept behind moving away from superheroes and toward multi-directional aspects of stories?
Is this the work of DK Films or a writer's vision?
" Well, nobody is shifting from anywhere to anywhere else. DK Films' superhero universe is there and will always be there as it's a dream of every Indian to have India's superhero universe and DK Films is committed to make that dream a reality. The other things & genres you talked about are not a new thing, those things were always there in the mind and eventually, this covid phase came and the production got the right time and cause to deliver that. Things just came into mind, got shared, and were written down. I had no idea about all things or I had never written these all things, I just wrote whatever we as a team & specially Dushyant decided to make. Sometimes I could not get or match the exact ideas that they had in mind so I just ended up writing some parts of a script as the whole script was already there. So again it's necessary to see that DK Films is not just about making superheroes, it's more about bringing a social & creative sense among the youth by their ideas and the craft of creating a wonderful cinema."
Question: As a writer what is your inspiration to write, where do you look up to or what motivates you to write, how did it all start? Are there any shows or cinema which has inspired you as your favorites?
"This whole world is full of stories or you can say this whole world is a story & an imagination in itself. I have always been influenced by the idea of this world is a story & imagination in itself. The only thing I did in my teens was to see just films on DVDs be it Bollywood, Hollywood, and later films from other countries. I used to just watch them and imagine writing some wonderful stories myself but I never started to write. I had a large collection of DVDs and films on my laptop and a habit of watching films with subtitles for long hours till I could understand every dialogue of an English film or even a Hindi film, this is why a two hours film would take 3 or 4 hours to finish. I was so drawn to the art of dialogues, the way it should be said and written because It makes the character & story what it is."
"At that time I was pursuing an engineering degree with all these things, so I had just a dream of working in films but on the ground, I never wrote a story or screenplay. After 4 years of completion of my engineering, somehow I did my PGDM in journalism, looking for a job I got a chance to work with an independent director and a friend of mine in my hometown for a short and feature film where I wrote dialogues & worked as script supervisor, assistant director and played some roles. That short film has won 2-3 prestigious film festivals now. After that, it all got started. "
"My inspirations from Hollywood & Bollywood are a long list but I found I like to write dark & deep which makes sense after a while, keeping it mysterious and not easy to understand but this is not the way how It works. Writing has a very vast scope, things are coming on a large scale from every genre, so for a writer, it's necessary to keep all the windows open and I am learning that. I don't think that I have even started to write like a professional writer yet. Mr. Anurag Kashyap, Mr. Vishal Bhardwaj, his Omkara, and from Hollywood Mr. Tarantino, Mr. Spielberg have inspired me a lot. If you talk about the shows and the films, it's a long list and is almost common what a general viewer likes to watch."
(official poster of film Raksh Sutra)
Question: What's there in the future we should expect to see from you & DK Films and is there any message for your viewers and youth?
"We have worked on some other kinds of projects in recent times, they would be on the surface soon. Personally even I don't know what would be the next people would see from my side & DK Films. In recent times I have learned many things and still learning other things so I can write for big projects and after that, I might come up with ideas my team and myself believe in. It's all about belief & works more and more then eventually anyone can come up with their ideas. "
"And for our viewers, I just want to say that I have seen how wonderful youth & viewers we have. They all are so supportive, creative, and nice. Many of them are creators themselves and motivate us to do more. Tons of thanks to them and we as a team promise them to serve them the best they wish to see from us."
Watch this amazing short film here:
Cast- Ankit Vatsa, Neelam Sagar, Deepshikha, Ayushi Nain, Nakul Rawat, Dushyant Kapoor, Prashant Raj.
Created by: Dushyant Kapoor
Writer: Prashant Raj
Director: Ankit Vatsa
Dop Charchit Kaushik
DOP Supervisor: Anand Badoniya
Editing: Dushyant Kapoor
Editing Supervisor: Tushar Sirohi 3D: Vikas Chauhan
Vfx: Dushyant Kapoor & Tushar Sirohi
Wardrobe & makeup: Deepshikha Sirohi
Producer: Naveen Singh
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