‘Searching’ uses many ways to tell a story

Aneesh Chaghanty

Aneesh Chaghanty is an ex-Google employee whose short film called ‘The Search’ led him to make a feature film on social media havoc, called ‘Searching’, released recently. He confesses that he always wanted to be a filmmaker. His latest psychological mystery-thriller is shot from many points-of-view, a smartphone being one of them. In an interview with Nina C George, Aneesh talks about how he explored the internet and technology to tell an interesting story.

What inspired you to make this film?

We wanted to make a film that will deeply connect with the viewers and we definitely wanted to go beyond the computer screen and gimmicks. We wanted people to really feel and understand what they were watching. 

What drove you to quit your job?

I have always loved the movies. To be honest, when I took the job at Google, it was like a detour. I have always wanted to work in movies, writing feature films and this has been a dream that I have had since I was a kid. Even though it was like giving up a lot of financial security, I had to do that to chase a higher dream. And I am glad that I made the decision.

What were the challenges involved when making the film?

The narrative of a movie had to be evolving. We made sure that we never did anything twice in the film. We had to find different ways to of telling a story and plotting the same is indeed our victory point.

You have used technology to your advantage. Tell us about it?

We set out to find a deeper emotional connect and meaning in every single button on the computer screen. We got a deeper interpretation of words like ‘share’, ‘trash’ and ‘backspace.’ We explored deeper meanings for buttons, apps and devices. We took advantage of the technology as it existed in 2016 and 2018 and have used it in abundance to tell our story.

Any lessons learnt at the end of it?

We were shooting with different objects every day and we worked in a very unconventional style. Everybody was relearning on the job. We had to figure out everything — from acting to lighting to direction. Every single day had its own challenges. The good thing is that we never got used to anything. The core part of the shoot was very different.

The heart of the story is the kidnapping of a child. How did you manage to say that in an interesting way?

We wanted to make a film that was engaging, high on emotions and definitely edge-of-the-seat. We studied all the thriller movies that we liked and evolved our own.

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‘Searching’ uses many ways to tell a story

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