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We look up to the West for films like Lord Of The Rings, but we also have fantastic stories, says filmmaker Abhishek Chandra

Chandra's short film Ladybug examines familial relationships in the face of the loss of a loved one.

Sukhpreet Kahlon

The English-Portuguese short film Ladybug is a poignant story that examines familial relationships in the face of the loss of a loved one. Directed by Abhishek Chandra, who has also co-produced the film with the writer and lead actress Isabela Valotti, Ladybug has been garnering acclaim across the world at various festivals and won several awards, including Best Actress at the Sao Paolo Film Festival 2020.

An alumnus of Whistling Woods International, Chandra began his film career in Mumbai producing television commercials before shifting base to Los Angeles in the United States. Working for a production house there, he started producing music videos while simultaneously working on short films. Ladybug marks his second collaboration with Valotti. They have worked together on a music video as well.

Talking about the inspiration for the film and how it came about, Chandra said, “After she [Valotti] wrote [Ladybug], she reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in directing this. At that point in time, I was writing another feature. She told me that it is the real story of what happened with her and her father before he passed away. That brought more weight to the whole film. I felt it to be a very heartfelt and original script. It’s very simple. It’s not the average film with a three-act division. It’s a small film about one event that happens. It was a personal journey and story for her.”

A still from the film Ladybug

The sense of grief and loss and the inability to come to terms with these emotions is what makes the short film terribly relevant at a time when the pandemic has taken so many lives.

Speaking about the journey in accepting that grief, Chandra said, “People come together, people drift apart, it’s all part of the process of healing, how they eventually accept that someone has gone.”

Ladybug delves into the ways in which relationships get strained by the weight of grief, tearing people apart.

As a filmmaker, Chandra is fascinated by Indian mythology and looks forward to adapting mythological stories into a modern retelling and is enthusiastic to work on that. “We look up to the West for films like Lord Of The Rings, but we have such fantastic stories, characters and plots in our mythology within these old texts that we can put all these other films to shame. Even if you take Krishna, Narad or Rama, the way he led his life, you can build seasons of great television. So Indian mythology really excites me, but I want to do it in a modern way. But that also scares me because it’s very close to people,” he said.

Currently, he has written a pilot based on an episode from the Mahabharata for Indian markets and is adapting a set of short stories into a series.