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Mushtaq Shiekh on his short film Happy Ending: “I was deeply intrigued by the psychological interplay between fear and reality”

Directed by Anil Bajpai, “Happy Ending” features TV actresses Nalini Negi and Ishita Ganguly.

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Mushtaq Shiekh on the set of his short film Happy Ending

Screenwriter, producer, and author Mushtaq Shiekh, recognized for his screenwriting in films like Om Shanti Om, Billu, Ra.One, and Rangrezz, talks about his latest horror short film “Happy Ending,” which he wrote.

Directed by Anil Bajpai, “Happy Ending” features TV actresses Nalini Negi and Ishita Ganguly. This 11-minute short film, categorized as a chilling Halloween horror, is available on Jio Cinema now. It is produced by Contentment Films and Twenty First Century Motion Arts Pvt Ltd.

Discussing the origin of the idea, he shares, “The idea for ‘Happy Ending’ emerged from a playful exploration of horror genre tropes and our modern cultural rituals, specifically Halloween. It was born out of a fascination with how horror films influence our perception of reality, particularly when we are most vulnerable. I wanted to craft a narrative that mirrored the on-screen action with real events, exploring the thin line between fiction and reality that we often take for granted.”

Elaborating on his thoughts while writing, he states, “While crafting the script, I was deeply intrigued by the psychological interplay between fear and reality. My goal was to delve into the primal fears that lurk in our collective subconscious and how these can be manipulated through cinematic techniques. The story was designed to be a reflective piece, almost a commentary, on the nature of storytelling in horror films—how these stories can both mirror and distort our real-life experiences.”

Also read: MAMI Select: Filmed on iPhone: Review of short films mentored by Vishal Bhardwaj, Vikramaditya Motwane, Rohan Sippy

Describing what audiences can expect, he says, “Audiences should brace themselves for a thrilling, introspective journey through the familiar yet unsettling realms of horror. ‘Happy Ending’ is designed to subvert expectations, blending classic horror elements with a sharp, contemporary twist. Viewers will find themselves on the edge of their seats, navigating the eerie parallels between the film within the film and the unfolding real-life drama.”

Addressing the challenges of the horror genre in a short film format, he comments, “The horror genre, particularly in a condensed format like a 10-minute short film, poses unique challenges. The primary challenge is to build tension and develop fear in a very limited timeframe. Every second counts, and each frame must be meticulously planned to contribute to the atmosphere and emotional impact. It’s about using visuals, sounds, and narrative pacing effectively to evoke a visceral response from the audience. In ‘Happy Ending,’ this was achieved through tight editing, a gripping score, and a narrative that escalates quickly but organically, ensuring that the final twist hits with maximum impact.”

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