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Film Festival: 'Bulls' a tough one to tame

Director Mahesh Pailoor's film, which will screen at Newport, endured budget and cast obstacles — including a limited time to catch Mary Steenburgen.

April 24, 2014|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Roshan Seth and Sendhil Ramamurthy star in Mahesh Pailoor's "Brahmin Bulls," showing at the Newport Beach Film Festival on April 25 and May 1.
Roshan Seth and Sendhil Ramamurthy star in Mahesh Pailoor's… (Daily Pilot )

Filming "Brahmin Bulls" was not a breeze.

Director Mahesh Pailoor valiantly balanced budgetary issues and his cast's schedules while shooting the entire movie out of order. He even faced an unexpected foe — the 85th annual Academy Awards.

"We only had one day to shoot in a hospital and that day happened to be the day of the Oscars, which Mary Steenburgen was presenting at," he recalled. "We were running up against the clock and only had time to do a few takes per shot. Mary and Roshan [Seth] had to act like they had a long history together, even though it was actually the first day that they had met!"

In retrospect, though, Pailoor is glad he made the switch from simply talking about "Brahmin Bulls" to actually making it. The Los Angeles resident began writing his first feature film nearly five years ago with Anu Pradhan, whom he met at the American Film Institute. They married a year and a half later.

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The 96-minute drama will screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Friday and May 1 — much to the delight of Max Naylor, associate director of programming.

"Film festivals are important because they're where the art form of film is advanced, one way or the other, and every now and then you get the opportunity to program a film that really exemplifies that idea," he remarked. "'Brahmin Bulls' is a great example of that — it's unique, original, and before it bothers trying to prove to you that it's a film, it's already put you through a real experience, and I think that's what the best films are capable of."

From the start, the movie's lead was intended for Sendhil Ramamurthy, seen on NBC's "Heroes" and CWTV's "Beauty and the Beast." He portrays Sid Sharma, an architect trapped in a whirlwind of self-destruction, as evidenced by an impending divorce, a professional demotion and his reliance on alcohol and marijuana. Aware of Ramamurthy's passion for tennis, Pailoor included the sport in the script: The characters play it, watch it on TV and sometimes bicker about strategies.

The two met in New York City in 2000 after Pailoor graduated from New York University. Soon after, they collaborated on a number of short films, one of which was titled "Little India." Having struck up a friendship, they stayed in touch — each in awe of the other's talent — with the plan of one day creating a feature together.

That dream became a reality in 2013.

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