Muscat: Oman-based Indian banker turned filmmaker Akshay Kumar Parija, who won president's award besides multiple national and international awards, brought global celluloid recognition to the Sultanate of Oman through his maiden production The Living Ghost.
Hot on the heels of this commendation comes Parija's second offering Thukul (Freeze), an Oriya language film which has won accolades with record breaking five state film awards. The film was shot extensively across the length and breadth of the breathtaking Sultanate.
It is a source of great pride and prestige not only for the filmmaker and those involved with the production of the film like NPA Events, but also for all citizens and residents of Oman to know that Thukul has won not one, or two, but a scintillating five celebrated Odisha State Film Awards recently for the Best Story, Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actor and Best Make Up.
It is this same team of Parija and Ashok Suvarna, executive director of NPA Events, who placed Oman in the celluloid map of the world with their first offering produced under the banner of Indo-Oman Production.
Their second outing Thukul vividly captures the vast and varied natural splendours and wonders of Oman. By showcasing this fresh and still untapped beauty of the country, Parija has convincingly presented Oman as a must-visit, do not miss destination to a global audience.
Talking about his latest achievement and for setting a record of sorts by bagging five state film awards, a thrilled Parija shared what drove him to realise his dream of capturing Oman's beauty come true.
"The story travelled from India to Oman and back. My vision was to capture the natural beauty of Oman and take it to a global audience. There are some scenes for films shot here, but are used mostly as fillers and therefore inconsequential to the main plot of the film. But in Thukul the main story itself revolves around Oman. So obviously a great deal of importance and coverage has been given to the country.
"We have captured mesmerising scenes from the Wahiba Sands, the tranquil backwaters of Sur, breathtaking Qantab beach, pristine Oman Dive Centre, the spellbinding Grand Mosque, the grand Royal Opera House Muscat, Muscat International Airport, Oman Air, Oman's world-class network of roads, amazing flyovers, signature Omani buildings and so much more. We consciously juxtaposed the natural beauties of the interiors, alongside the modern marvels of the cosmopolitan city of Muscat.
Thukul is about a girl's undying determination towards her quest to artistic glory. Needless to say her journey is fraught with disappointments and rejections and it is all about how she conquers her many fears and failures, to become truly successful in the end. The underlying message which Thukul imparts to its audience is that dedication, hardwork and determination will certainly lead one to success."
Asked about his experience in shooting the film in Oman, Parija admitted candidly that other than the Al Bahja Group led by its chairman, Ajay Kumar Hamlai, he did not receive any material support from anybody.
The shooting of the film was also made possible because of the unstinting support and invaluable assistance extended to him by Ashok Suvarna who was solely behind the handling of the film's entire logistics and support service management in ensuring the shooting of the film was planned and executed to perfection, across the various locations where the film was shot.
Word of praise
Parija had a special word of commendation for the young Omani crew members and volunteers, who contributed very enthusiastically towards the shooting of the film. Commenting on the vital role played by NPA Events in the making of Thukul, Ashok Suvarna said, "Being a first time for us in the business of 'Line Production' for a feature film, we were initially apprehensive to take on this huge responsibility.
But what propelled us to take the plunge was the enormous opportunity this challenge provided us in showcasing the myriad beauties of the Sultanate.
"So we put aside our professional fears and threw ourselves into our personal passion of showcasing Oman to a global audience. We are more than thrilled to see that our efforts have already borne fruits — five times multiplied!"
This maiden venture of NPA Events as 'Line Producers' proved to facilitate their next successful assignment with a big-budget Bollywood production Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Again, featuring Bollywood's leading action hero Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha and Imran Khan playing lead roles in the movie.
"Right from arranging the transportation of the heavy equipment from Mumbai to Muscat that was needed for filming a movie of this magnitude, to arranging of accommodation for all the crew members at different hotels, besides procuring the properties and camels for the shoot and plus the necessary local permissions, approvals and clearances from various authorities like the Ministry of Tourism, the Royal Oman Police, the Muscat Municipality, etc., for shooting across various locations for a period of over 21 days required tremendous amount of planning, follow through and flawless execution was achieved flawlessly by NPA Events.
"All the hard work is paid off with these five prestigious state awards from Orissa government," said Ashok Suvarna.
"We can surely be the tourism ambassadors of Oman in an international platform, if Oman can use and support us in bringing in the Bollywood to shoot in Oman," echoed Parija.