Films being helmed by a number of directors à la Paris, je t'aime (2006) are not very common in Indian cinema, with Dus Kahaniyaan (2007) and Bombay Talkies (2013) being among the only recent exceptions that come immediately to mind.
A new trailer of the upcoming indie X: Past Is Present, which was uploaded on Wednesday evening, therefore seems like an interesting experiment as it brings together 11 indie filmmakers to tell one story centered around an enigmatic filmmaker named K (a take on 'Q' aka Qaushiq Mukherjee, one of the directors on this project). A story about his past told through his past romantic and sexual relationships, the film (which is largely in Hindi and English) stars actor-filmmaker Rajat Kapoor as K (a younger version of the character has been played by Anshuman Jha) and 12 actresses who play his exes: Radhika Apte, Huma Qureshi, Swara Bhaskar, Piaa Bajpai, Aditi Chengappa, Rii Sen, Pooja Ruparel, Parno Mitra, Bidita Bag, Richa Shukla, Neha Mahajan, and Gabriella Schmidt.
The 11 filmmakers on the project, apart from Q, comprise Abhinav Shiv Tiwari (Oass), Anu Menon (London Paris New York), Hemant Gaba (Shuttlecock Boys), Pratim D Gupta (Paanch Adhyay), Rajshree Ojha (Aisha), Sandeep Mohan (Love, Wrinkle Free), Sudhish Kamath (Good Night Good Morning), Suparn Verma (Acid Factory), Nalan Kumarasamy (Soodhu Kavvum), and film critic Raja Sen.
Conceptualised in March 2013 during a conference in Goa, a number of these filmmakers initially discussed the idea and planned for a two-day shoot. "The idea was to build a bridge between different kinds of cinema," said Sudhish Kamath, in a phone conversation with HuffPost India. "We didn't think it would have this kind of a star-cast then. But the more we thought about it, the more the project just kept getting bigger and bigger."
X: Past Is Present aims to mix genres, styles, and sensibilities to create a layered portrait of a person through the relationships in his life. It is not an omnibus or anthology film, says Kamath. "None of the individual threads are stand-alone films," he said. "They're connected in multiple ways, via character relationships, cause and effect, karma... by the end, there are several connections that complete the picture."
Each filmmaker chose his or her own crew, as a result of which the film also has multiple cinematographers and sound designers. With so many creative heads involved in the story and the larger concept, the final calls have been made by the film's editors: Sreekar Prasad and Vijay Prabhakaran.
Watch the film's trailer above. It releases in theatres on November 20.