An unforgivably honest story storms the screen

Our friends present us with The Wrong Man

Aarti Bajaj getting ready for a shot in The Wrong Man (Photo Supplied)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, September 15, 2022

If you think that Shekar Mani is a maverick businessman who has successfully the destiny of the highly popular Saravanaa Bhavan brand in Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world, that is food for thought.

If you think that he is an alumnus and an academic at Stanford University, you have scored well.

If you think that is where his talent ends, you have got the wrong man.

He is a film producer and actor and has achieved creditably in the advertising world, including TVC and corporate films for world-renowned brands.

The latest from his stable along with his business associates is ‘The Wrong Man,’ an exciting action-thriller short film, which has won accolades.

About The Wrong Man

Not to be mistaken with Albert Hitchcock’s 1956 American docudrama film noir, the short film, shot entirely in Brisbane, Australia features our own Aarti Bajaj, who stole the hearts of theatre goes on both sides of the Tasman for her title role in ‘Meera,’ staged in 2019.

Ms Bajaj has portrayed the role of Ayanna, the unsuspecting wife of a former terrorist, played by Prem Sagar.

The film deals with terrorism and racism and was shot over four days in as many locations in Brisbane with some scenes set in London, post the 9/11 attacks.

Location Producer Olivia Gane said that the unforgivably honest story targets Western, Indian and Pakistani audiences, shadowing the action-packed feature film version which is currently in development.

“It was a whirlwind mission on a tight budget, but our family of cast and crew were all so patient and enthusiastic which made it a very pleasant experience overall. I think that we have demonstrated the strength of creative spirit in overcoming limitations and creating something of which we can all be proud,” she said.

Producers Shekar Mani, Jerry Lingwood and Shaukat Khan (Photo Supplied)

The main action took place in a series of graffitied underground tunnels with  restricted access, as well as an entire Indian grocery store, whose helpful staff miraculously continued trading during production.

Producer, Director and Writer James Lingwood said that The Wrong Man is a story close to his heart and that its language, early Morning Mosque chants and music are all a part of a cerebral mosaic from his early childhood in Iraq.

“As a frequent visitor to India, I know that I will make this film with a special sense of purpose. It is a part of me, my history and who I am today,” he said.

Mr Lingwood said that he and his team are crafting an original and provocative thriller, inspired by an authentic story.

“It will appeal to a huge global audience, including people in India, Asia, the Middle East and the West. ‘The Wrong Man’ will be a life-changing event, a moment in time and a big reveal behind the mask of terrorism and what happens when the mask is removed. We all wear masks but what is interesting is what happens when the wall is brought down,” he said.

Some hard questions

The Wrong Man also raises a few questions: Can guilt kill you? Is power a weakness? Can you ever be free of the nightmares in your head?

“This is the core of The Wrong Man,” Mr Lingwood said.

According to him, the film is topical because terrorism is the word over in some shape or form.

“Whether it is Al Qaeda or the Taliban, White Supremacists in the US, the Uyghur genocide in China, Putin in Ukraine, domestic violence, tyranny or bullying – we have all felt it one way or the other. It is universal and it is real. The Wrong Man tackles this from the inside out and searches for answers and reasons for these fault lines in the human condition. And it also brings up the question: Are killers made, not born? The world needs to believe that there is goodness in our natures, redemption in our futures, and salvation just around the corner,” Mr Lingwood said.

While Ms Bajaj wrapped another successful show with her home company Wild Dreamer Productions at the time of the filming of The Wrong Man, the film earned registered gains at the Film Festival, earning multiple international wins and nominations. Among them are the Mumbai International Film Festival, and Dubai Independent Film Festival.

The Wrong Man Credits
James Lingwood: Writer and Director
Olivia Gane and Adam Kirk (Sting Films): Producers
Shekar Mani: Executive Producer (Great Southern Ark Productions

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