What does a nine-year-old do when he is fed up of watching movies for children made by adults? If he is Harshvardhan Desai, Class V student of Bombay Scottish School, he simply goes ahead and scripts a movie.
Desai sat in the bedroom of his Mahim flat and in eight days wrote the script for Zoom Zam Zombie, a film about kids teaming up to take on an alien who lurks with devious designs in the basement of their building.
The script, which has been converted into a Marathi film will be premiered at Dadar’s Plaza theatre on November 19.
“After I had given my Class IV exams and was enjoying my summer holidays, this idea struck me. I hate films with songs or women — basically children’s movies made by adults. It took me eight days to write the script and then I handed it over to my parents,” says Harshvardhan.
At first his parents, father Milind and mother Ujwala, thought it was just child’s play that Harshvardhan was indulging in.
Once they read the script, the parents say, they were hooked and thought of getting the script to the screen.
Harshvardhan would himself go up to his parents every day to ask about how much it would cost to make a movie or whether it was possible for the theatre-owners to be paid later once the film was released.
The Desais, without contacts in the film industry, first read the script to Milind’s elder sister Dr Medha Mehendale.
Mehendale in turn approached a few of her film contacts, who upon reading the script were convinced of its journey from paper to celluloid.
Among the people she contacted included Media Evel Communication, Rajesh Gamare (choreographer of Munnabhai SSC), Ravi Karmakar (Marathi film director) and Anuradha and Abhay Rajadhyaksha, actress and film director, respectively.
The Rajadhyakshas said yes to the script and re-wrote it in Marathi - Harshvardhan had written it in English.
Dr Mehendale offered to finance the film under his Tanvi Production.
The film was shot with actress Alka Kubal-Athyle at Andheri’s Vijay Nagar Society, in a start-to-finish ten-day schedule in June. The editing was interrupted by the July 26 floods.
Later, at Harshvardhan’s insistence, special effects by Maya Entertainment was added.
“It is not a risk we are taking. The script has potential. As far risk is concerned, every film does have an element of risk so what is the big deal,” said director Abhay Rajadhyaksha.
“I would have loved the film to be in English because that is a language I am comfortable in but since we do not have the kind of budget, we decided to make it in Marathi,” said Harshvardhan.
The accolades are starting to come in already. “I am proud of my child,” said his mother Ujwala.
“My husband wanted to make a movie, my grandchild has now fulfilled his dream,” said Harshvardhan’s grandmother, Kusum.
“I’m sure the kids would love it,” said Harshvardhan, a self-confessed horror and thriller movie freak.
WHAT'S ZOOM ZAM ZOMBIE ALL ABOUT?
The film is about a middle-class housing society called Devdarshan set somewhere in Mumbai where groups of children arrayed in two teams — Snake and Eagle — go about their lives in fun, frolic and laughter.
Everything changes when two kids go to the basement of the building and never come back. As more children get sucked into the basement and cops and parents remain deeply concerned but clueless, the children decide to take matters in their own hands. What happens inside the basement shocks the daylight out of them.
A roller-coaster ride involving everything from two warring gangs of kids to a sleepy watchman named Harri Potalkar, to hypnotising aliens to cynical parents, and clueless cops.