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Six people, one night, radio shows and unfulfilled aspirations. These are the loose elements that tie up the plot of writer Ahmed Faiyaz's latest novella, The Graveyard Shift. Faiyaz, who has also co-directed a movie by the same name, describes his maiden stint at directing a feature film as "immensely rewarding and fulfilling". The book was released in the city recently and the movie — starring Ira Trivedi, Suchitra Pillai, Yudhistar Urs and Vatsal Sheth — is in the final stage of post-production. He expects it to be ready for festivals and theatres by the end of February. "The Graveyard Shift was a story that was in the making almost two years ago," Faiyaz says candidly about the novella.
Set in Mumbai, it talks about strugglers, misfits, dreamers and outsiders, and is the story of a night where their lives cross each other and in the process, narrate a bittersweet tale of love, friendship and loss. Faiyaz says he realised it would be better off as a novella while penning it. "Of course, one can always add sub-plots and more characters to make it into a novel, but that kills the story. Writing a novella was a big decision because we really do not know what kind of response it would get. But then, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'd love to see audience react to it," he says.
The movie, which was co-directed by Faiyaz, went on floors late last year and was a complete riot, according to him. From shoestring budgets to actors who took on the project in good faith, Faiyaz says the making of the movie is a story in itself. "We didn't have a budget for a fancy Bollywood film, nor for the actors. So, we had to make do with what we had. Since we didn't have permissions to shoot, there were numerous incidents when cops would come and we had to plead them to let us shoot. There was a time when we did think about how the shoot would be completed," he says.