All in the family

By Poornima Koonath
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Couple Ashish and Poonam Sahasrabuddhe put all their savings into their first film ‘Just One More Day’. And judging by the appreciation the film has garnered at festivals around the world, it’s their best investment yet
Ashish and Poonam Sahasrabuddhe

Couple Ashish and Poonam Sahasrabuddhe put all their savings into their first film Just One More Day. And judging by the appreciation the film has garnered at festivals around the world, it’s their best investment yet

Winning awards on any platform is no mean feat, and when this platform is the world arena, the magnitude and the importance of it is multi-fold. Son of Ashish and Poonam Sahasrabuddhe, seven-year-old Rishi found himself being featured with the luminous emerging artists of the world when he won an array of awards for his role in the movie, Just One More Day.

This will not come as a surprise to those who know the Sahasrabuddhe family. Passionate about the performing arts, the couple has always been a part of music and theatre not only in India and Australia, but New Zealand, California, and Chicago too, both on the stage and behind the scenes.

Couple Ashish and Poonam Sahasrabuddhe put all their savings into their first film ‘Just One More Day’. And judging by the appreciation the film has garnered at festivals around the world, it’s their best investment yet
Rishi Sahasrabuddhe

Just One More Day is the maiden venture of Ashish and Poonam Sahasrabuddhe. Ashish is the producer of the movie and Poonam has not only directed the movie but has also done the screenplay and composed the three beautiful songs featured in the movie. The talented duo with no prior knowledge of film-making set out on this venture with the sheer confidence in themselves. With zero funding from outside sources, the family’s savings completely financed this adventurous family project. This imposed on them many budgetary restraints. “For a family like ours it was a leap of faith,” says Ashish, who wondered if a suburban couple with two young kids would be able to pull off an entire film project. Rishi and his sister Mahi, who is five, were also involved in the making of the movie. “Our journey of making this film, even though challenging, was only possible because of our group efforts. Even our little kids completely supported and co-operated with us,” says Ashish with pride.

While young Rishi emerged the star of the movie with his brilliant acting, Ashish attributes the success of the movie to the joint efforts put in his wife and himself. He said that they were always on the same page, communicated well and focussed on the successful completion of the movie within the estimated budget. “Every little addition in the story by me or Poonam were looked upon from different perspectives, thoroughly discussed and agreed upon before implementing,” he says.

Couple Ashish and Poonam Sahasrabuddhe put all their savings into their first film ‘Just One More Day’. And judging by the appreciation the film has garnered at festivals around the world, it’s their best investment yet
A still from Just One More Day

But success never comes easy; and it was no different for the Sahasrabuddhe family. Like any family, they had to juggle jobs, schools, kids, homework, and other domestic activities. According to Ashish, “Everything was limited, the budget, crew members, production gear, locations, time etc versus the amount of work to be done during the shoot and after the shoot.” From script writing to lyrics to music composition and art direction, the couple did everything. Ashish and Poonam wanted to eliminate dependency on outside sources as much as possible. This way they had more flexibility, were hands on and did everything possible to ensure their project was completed in the set time frame.

As for Rishi, the young star, he is no ordinary seven year old. He seems to be wiser beyond his years. I was quite surprised when Ashish told me, “He started a group of 4/5 very small kids from year 1 and 2 to look after kids that are sitting alone by talking to them, playing with them etc.” Rishi takes keen interest in assembling things, reading books on stars and planets, or developing applications on the computer. He participated in the ‘Little Big Ideas’ invention competition organised by Origin Energy where thousands of kids from across Australia provided ideas for the competition. Rishi was in the top 12 for his invention idea called OMG (Outdoor Motivator Guru) that was aimed at encouraging kids and adults to be involved in more physical activity while learning. When asked about his acting skills, Ashish explains, “Rishi is talented and very confident. He is a good learner. The most important part is that just before every scene, my wife Poonam who directed the movie explained the scene to him in her own way. After that he got into the character straight away. Even with the song ‘Daddy Don’t Go’, it didn’t seem like it was his first studio recorded song. He was a natural.”

As for their favourite scenes from the movie, Ashish replies, “Most of the scenes that Rishi has appeared in. We love to watch them repeatedly just because he has given such wonderful expressions with so much of variety of scenes.”

As for Rishi, his favourite scene is the one where he excitedly shows his toy soldier to his new-born baby sister when she is brought home from the hospital.

Couple Ashish and Poonam Sahasrabuddhe put all their savings into their first film ‘Just One More Day’. And judging by the appreciation the film has garnered at festivals around the world, it’s their best investment yet
A still from Just One More Day

The success has given the Sahasrabuddhe family the impetus to continue their artistic journey. They have started work on two scripts for two different projects. One of them will be in their native language Marathi and the other in English. While the first movie tugged at the heart strings of the audience through the tale of the family of an army man, their next projects are about teenagers. They are hoping with the success of their first film on world stage, a film that was made with very limited resources, they will get more partnerships for their next two projects. They have proved their mettle and are not a family that is bogged down by challenges, great or small. The Indian community in Australia, especially Sydney are very proud of the achievements of the Sahasrabuddhe family and wish them all the best in all their future endeavours.

‘Just One More Day’—a walk down the Hall of Fame
  • Best Young Actor Award – Los Angeles Film Awards, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Honorary Mention: Song – New York Film Awards, New York, USA
  • Best Young Actor Award – New York Film Awards, New York, USA
  • Best Indie Feature Film – South Films and Arts Academy Festival in Chile, South America
  • Best Feature Film for Month – AAB International Film Festival, Punjab, India
  • Best Screenplay – Barcelona Planet Film Festival in Barcelona
  • Best Young Actor – South Films and Arts Academy Festival in Chile, South America
  • Official Selection in Calcutta Cult Film Festival – Kolkata, India
  • Official Selection in Wollongong Film Festival – NSW Australia
  • Official Selection in South Films and Arts Academy Festival in Chile, South America
  • Official Selection in AAB International Film Festival, Punjab, India
  • Official Selection in Barcelona Planet Film Festival in Barcelona

 

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