'Twenty One Hours' is an edge-of-the-seat thriller

'Twenty One Hours' is an edge-of-the-seat thriller

Dhananjaya is a highly underrated actor, says Jaishankar Pandit, the Bengaluru-based filmmaker

Dhananjaya (right) and Sudev Nair in a scene from the film.

The poster of Bengaluru-based writer and filmmaker Jaishankar Pandit’s first feature film ‘Twenty One Hours’, a Kannada-Malayalam bilingual, was released recently. The film stars Dhananjaya, who is currently one of the busiest actors in Kannada cinema. 

Jaishankar calls the film an investigative-thriller. In a freewheeling chat with Showtime, Jaishankar talks about the making of the film, the choice of actors, and why he loves to write edge-of-the-seat thrillers. Excerpts:

What inspired you to make this film?

The story is inspired by true events and captures the happenings that transpire within 21 hours after a Malayalee girl, living in Bengaluru, goes missing. It’s a very urban story and has situations that one can very easily relate to. All the characters have imperfections. They are more realistic — it is no more the “perfect father” and “perfect boyfriend”. We have presented the characters just as they are. 

How did you pick your cast? 

The film has a mix of actors from the Malayalam and Kannada industries. Since the missing girl and her family are from Kerala, they converse in Malayalam. And because the investigation is in Karnataka, many characters speak in Kannada. Dhananjaya plays the role of a cop. The ensemble cast includes Durga Krishna, Rahul Madhav and Sudev Nair from the Malayalam movie industry and Poorna Chandra, Apoorva Bharadwaj, Shwetha Sanjeevulu and Dinesh Baboo from Sandalwood. 

What’s special about Dhananjaya?

I was impressed with his performance in ‘Tagaru’. Dhananjaya fit the requirements of the character very well. He is a brilliant performer and an actor who is highly underrated. He gave his undivided attention to this project and was totally connected to his craft.

Has commercial cinema evolved?

You see big actors doing roles that they would never otherwise have done. It is clear that they too want to evolve and stay relevant. Filmmakers are scouting for unusual themes and subjects that aren’t predictable. Irrespective of the genre and language, filmmakers are now making cinema for a global audience.

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