Starring Sendhil Ramamurthy, Roshan Seth, Academy Award winner Mary Steenburgen, Justin Bartha, and Academy Award nominated Michael Lerner, BRAHMIN BULLS is a heartfelt and humorous look at the ever-evolving relationship between a father and son, the women in their lives, and the powerful secrets they keep. The film will be available nationally beginning Jan. 19 via iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and other VOD channels.
Mahesh Pailoor is an award winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Mahesh went on to continue his studies as a directing fellow at the American Film Institute. While at the AFI, Mahesh was awarded the prestigious Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award for the direction of his thesis film, STILL LIFE, which went on to screen at over 20 international film festivals, winning awards at the Heartland, Angelus, and Worldfest Houston film festivals to name a few. Mahesh is an alumnus of the Berlin Talent Campus, Film Independent’s Project Involve and Screenwriting Lab, and the ABC/DGA Directing Fellowship. Along with directing narrative projects, Mahesh has also produced and directed award winning commercials and branded content under his production company Nuclear Tribe. BRAHMIN BULLS is his first feature film. He spoke with byteclay.com in advance of his film’s wide release.
Ryan Davis: What does the title mean?
Mahesh Pailoor: BRAHMIN refers to the character’s Indian heritage, while BULLS reflects how the father and son continue to struggle with one another.
RD: What was the inspiration for the story?
MP: Although not autobiographical, the characters and stories stem from people and experiences in our lives. I had been working on a story about a father and son learning about each other for the first time as adults for a while. But it wasn’t until [Co-writer]Anu [Pradhan] brought the idea of a woman from the past coming back into the father’s life that the story started to come together. Additionally, my father has been known to come to my house in LA all the way from Maine without notice – just as Ashok seemingly does in the film.
RD: What were some obstacles as a first time director?
MP: As in any independent film, we had the same road blocks that everyone goes through – budget, time, and even less budget and time. But we had an amazing and dedicated cast and crew, so there were very few hiccups during the production and post. I think the biggest obstacle is now in the end, as we try and get audiences to know about our movie.
RD: How did you get the cast?
MP: I had known Sendhil Ramamurthy when we were both starting out in New York. Sendhil had acted in one of my NYU films. BRAHMIN BULLS was always written with Sendhil in mind. Roshan Seth, meanwhile, lives in Delhi, India and took some convincing. Anu and I had taken a few trips to India and had met with Roshan in person. At 74, he was skeptical of flying to the US to do an independent film, but after reading the script and meeting me face to face, Roshan felt comfortable and in good hands.
Justin Bartha is a good friend of mine from NYU along with Ben Kutchins (DP) and Cary Lin (Editor).
The rest of the cast including Mary Steenburgen, Michael Lerner, Cassidy Freeman, Monica Raymund, and George Newburn all came through our amazing casting directors, Danielle Aufiero and Amber Herd. The actors responded to the script
RD: There are some great tennis scenes in the movie. Does Sendhil really play tennis?
MP: Sendhil was once a nationally ranked player. Every tennis ball that he hits in the film is real! The script was actually written for Sendhil and tennis was always part of the story, knowing full well that Sendhil would be able to play. Roshan Seth, on the other hand, has never played tennis. An original scene of Ashok playing a match with Sid had to be changed to Ashok coaching Sid, in order to convince Roshan that he could play the part.