Prompt Chat: An Exclusive with the director of Shadow.

A gay teenager’s life is gradually declining into hell, when he is met with a ghostly Shadow that seeks to unravel his family’s dark secrets.

Shadow, produced and directed by Dayakar Padayachee has officially been selected for the Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. We got a chance to chat with the man himself to find out more!


Dayakar Padayachee: Hakar G Films. Director and Producer.

Q: Dayakar, thanks for chatting to us at Prompt Side. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and what you do?

Well my name is Dayakar Padayachee, aged 27, grew up in Musgrave, originally born in Isipingo.

Been an avid fan of films and comic books from day 1. Did a three year integrated course in Multi-media with Nanda Sooben at the Centre For Fine Arts Animation and Design, and a fourth year work experience in film. I have two siblings whom are older than me. My father is a dentist and my mom is a senior commissioner at the CCMA.

Q: When did the process for the Shadow begin?

The inception of Shadow began after my viewing of a movie called The Babadook. I won’t give any spoilers to any that haven’t watched the film, but because I was irritated with how it ended, I went onto create my own ending to it. As I began, it grew and grew into something very interesting. My friend Edgar Roshev and I sat in July 2015 discussing the potential of the story and he introduced some ideas that would help flesh out the film a lot more and in September I began the script process. By December that year we started principle photography.

Q: What was the inspiration behind it?

Shadow had a lot of influences behind it; 1. my complete love affair with the horror genre 2. the direction and genre style my idol M.Night Shyamalan adopts and 3. Personal issues at home. All of which became an amalgamation of the story it is today.

Q: How did you go about casting?

Casting was probably the hardest and most laborious process of the film, until post production of course. Angela Val Verde from OCA Acting Studio had referred some actors to me while I held screen tests/auditions at Musgrave Mugg and Bean. None of the actors had come close to the potential of the leads or calibre of acting I wanted in Shadow. At an acting workshop with actress Lihle Dhlomo of Between Friends acclaim, I had locked down my first actress for the film, Lihle herself who was impressed with the story’s direction. After, came a friend Jerome Naidu who I had previously worked with on a film called Artwork which was a part of the 48 Hour film project we had done that year.

Ismail Ganie who was also a friend of mine was also keen to tackle a character quite similar to him. Geaneviv Pillay was referred to be by Gill Brunnings and Sanele Sibiya, people I have worked with before and she was instantly cast as the main female lead, however the rest of the cast was absent and we had to shoot immediately, so the film was shot with the actors who were available, until December when the main lead Tazme Pillay was cast and July the following year when Kajal Bagwandeen and Yateen Dayaram asked to be apart of the film.


Q: Was there a budget for the film? How did you finance it?

To shoot the film, Shadow had no conventional budget, nothing formal or written down to calculate the expenses we had such as paying for petrol or food for the actors. As for post-production, my father was the producer behind helping fund the overall process.

Q: What would you say is the central theme of the film?

The film tackles homophobia from inside a domestic situation to an overall social/public situation, it also deals with alcoholism, child neglect and family dysfunction.

Q: What are your views on emerging film-makers in South Africa?

Right now I think it’s a very exciting time to live in, the young filmmakers out there are creating diverse intellectual stories that deviate from the overall political struggle our previous generations have been so used to seeing. With films like Dear Jasmine by my friend Ashan Singh who is working as creative director too, or 3 Days to Go by Bianca Issacs and Keeping up with the Kandasamy’s by Jayan Moodley, film in South Africa is evolving into a very different and interesting animal, I hope, one day we’re able to tame to be better than the Hollywood beast we’re becoming dissatisfied by.

Q: Now that the film has been selected for it’s first film festival, how do you think people will receive it?

Well I hope people who see the film go home with a  very different idea on homosexuality and/or the youth of mainly the Indian community, as I’ve based the film set with only Indian actors. The film when you see it, is a drama on the baggage a lot of Indian families carry, and that’s not really understanding where their child comes from and who they are as an identity. The film also doesn’t make homosexuality a main driving force for the story and also tries to change the norm of how Indian’s have been perceived in movies in South Africa lately. We really haven’t had a horror film with drama and serious acting in our country and I hope that maybe one day our audiences would be open to have more engaging horror/dramas with Indian actors in the future.


Q: Who would you say is your biggest role model and why?

As said above, I say between Stanley Kubrick and M. Night Shyamalan are my biggest role models. Kubrick’s dedication as a filmmaker is universally recognised and he pushes actors to breath the energy of the character. For example he drove Shelley Duvall crazy on-set of The Shining.  He also made films with hidden themes, themes that exist as a prop in the film, and I’ve tried to do the same for Shadow. As for M Night, the mere fact that he’s Indian and makes the films that he makes with a very small budget is fascinating to say the least. He gives me the gateway I need to tell the stories I’d like to tell, not to mention when he’s behind the camera he brings out stellar shots in his films, something I’ve also tried to do in the film of Shadow.

Q: Where too from here? Do you plan on developing the Shadow into a feature?

No. Shadow existed alone as an interesting short story, but there could potentially be a sequel, depending on the success of the first. Now its all about promotion, marketing and distribution of Shadow.

Q: What else are you working on? What can we expect from you in the future?

We’re applying for funding at the KZN Film Commission to get another short film entitled Perception which is a thriller we hope to shoot in Jan/Feb 2018.  There are many more films in the pipeline as well.

Q: Will the short be released to the public after it’s screening at the Festival?

Yes we’re applying to TV channels to screen the film as a short serial drama for the public to see. It is going to be submitted to other festivals as well we’re trying to find the right ones to send it too and there will be an online screening on Vimeo in the next couple of months.

Q: Any words of wisdom for aspiring movie makers out there?

Don’t let anything put you down, we set out to make Shadow on absolutely pure passion and talent. Push yourself hard, it’s a dark road, but always be ready, always smile and be proud of yourself and your work, because it’s the only thing that can keep your blood pumping. Let the story speak for itself, make sure your story is strong enough that people helping you are equally as committed to the project as you are to it. Filmmaking is no joke, be 100 percent committed to it even if there is no financial reward, because we’re artists in the end of the day, we want to self-express ourselves and there is nothing wrong with that. If you want to be a director, writer etc just do it and make the journey, it will be worth it in the end.

How can people keep in touch?

People can follow me on  Instagram and Facebook.

Shadow Poster



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