We were fortunate enough to land an exclusive interview with “Brahmin Bulls” writer/director Mahesh Pailoor only a few days before the film makes it’s world premiere at the San Diego Film Festival on Saturday, October 5th, 2013.
sr.net: What made you want to be a film director/writer?
Mahesh Pailoor: I’ve been making films since I was ten years old. I’m not sure that I can pinpoint why I wanted to be a director other than that I love the entire process of filmmaking. From the inception of an idea. Through working and collaborating with talented artists from all disciplines. All the way through the final stages where an audience gets to make their own interpretation… For me, there’s no other medium like it. And I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
sr.net: How long has this story been stirring in your mind?
MP: Sendhil and I first met when I was a film student at NYU in 2000…. We made a short film called “Little India,” which he was the lead in, about an Indian-American family living in a small American town and their definition of what home is. I always wanted to expand some of the ideas from the short into a feature. It wasn’t until a few years ago when Anu Pradhan (co-writer/co-producer), who also happens to be my wife, suggested that we start working on it together, that we finally figured out a way to do it. “Brahmin Bulls” is very different from “Little India,” but in some ways there is a direct line.
sr.net: Did you have a cast in mind when you wrote the film?
MP: Sendhil and I have stayed friends over the years and have made a few shorts along the way. I had been wanting to work with him on a feature, so when it came time to write “Brahmin Bulls,” it was always meant for him. We even incorporated tennis, since Sendhil is such an incredible tennis player. Roshan Seth, who plays Sendhil’s father in the film, was an actor I always dreamed of working with. I still remember making “Little India” and hoping that one day I could make a film with Roshan playing Sendhil’s father. Thirteen years later, and it came true
sr.net: As a director of short films, how was the process of creating “Brahmin Bulls” different than “Little India” or “Still Life”?
MP: I’ve done a lot of film school (NYU, AFI), and I’ve made a lot of short films. But no matter how many shorts you make, nothing really prepares you for making a feature length film. The biggest difference is the size of story. In a feature, there are so many moving parts and you’re always shooting out of order, so keeping a grasp on the overall story is much harder than on a short film. The one thing you have to do is trust your script and trust the people around you. You take it one scene at a time, react to what’s in front of you, and have faith that it will all work out in the end. And somehow, miraculously, it always does.
sr.net: What was your biggest challenge on “Brahmin Bulls”?
MP: We had a great producer in Yoshi Tsuji, and I brought a lot of incredibly talented friends who I had made films with in the past like Ben Kutchins (Cinematographer), Maya Sigel (Production Designer) and Cary Lin (Editor). So I was never worried while we were making the film. As with any independent film, the challenges are always in raising money, and the demands of trying to make something look bigger and more polished than the actual budget. But to be honest, I think our biggest challenge is actually ahead of us. We really believe in the film and want as many people to see it as possible, but with the ever-growing number of independent films out there, it’s harder to stand out. We’re hoping that sites like yours and fans will help us spread the word.
sr.net: What do you hope viewers will get out of watching “Brahmin Bulls”?
MP: When we set out to make “Brahmin Bulls,” we wanted to tell an honest story about a father and son relationship and how that dynamic changes when they are both adults. We also wanted to create a story with Indian American characters as the leads that didn’t rely on stereotypes. Hopefully we achieved both of those things. But more than anything, I would love for audiences to be moved by our story. It’s heartfelt, truthful, and even funny. Lastly, I think this a great role for Sendhil. I’m hoping that with “Brahmin Bulls,” others will get to see a side of Sendhil that they haven’t before. With Sid, Sendhil plays a sometimes morally ambiguous and vulnerable character who needs to make a fresh start. It’s been exciting to create a complex lead role for him and watch him shine.
sr.net: Do you and Sendhil have any other projects planned?
MP: Sendhil and I have been talking about a few projects on the horizon. I knew when I first met him years ago that we would be making movies together. I’m hoping to keep that trend going.
Huge thanks to Mahesh Pailoor for taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak to us! Check back with SendhilRamamurthy.net on Saturday, October 5th for an EXCLUSIVE interview with Sendhil about “Brahmin Bulls”.