Aashayein actress Sonal Sehgal will be romancing Russian actor Jurijs Dyakonovs, in the Indo-Latvian co-production and sci-fi psychological thriller ‘Manny’, a story about a woman trapped in a house by AI. Sonal worked as a copywriter, assisted director Pradeep Sarkar, directed a short film, ‘Dancing In The Dark’, acted in TV and films, co-wrote the screenplay of ‘Lihaaf’, authored a book ‘The Day That Nothing Happened’ and now she has turned producer which she will also be seen as an actress. Directed by Latvian director, Dace Puce, it stars Russian, British, Latvian, French and Indian actors.
The film has been entirely shot in Latvia and wrapped shooting in January this year. Since then, the team has been working online in Covid times to finish the postproduction. The technicians working on the post are from both countries. While the edit and color grading is being done in Latvia, the music and sound mix is happening in India.
Sonal, who has produced ‘Manny’ along with Latvian producer Kristele Pudane, talked about the casting process, “The theme of the film is very global. Dace and I felt the cast should be global as well. The script was sent to Jurijs and he gave a nod immediately. Since my visa was delayed and I was only going to arrive in Latvia one week before the shoot, we decided to do readings over Google Hangout. All the actors made themselves available for all the online readings with the entire team and by the time I actually met them, it was like we already knew each other pretty well. The film is futuristic and the process of making the film has also been a very unconventional one.”
The other primary characters in the film are played by British Actor Tony Hopkins and Latvian actors Darta Danevica, Egons Dombrovskis and Marta Grase.
Sonal who has worked with a completely foreign cast was elated, “I was surprised that Jurijs had been to India 5 times! So he was very well tuned to Indian culture and did not need a lot of explanation regarding the nuances of my character. I play an Indian girl who travels to Latvia on a writer’s retreat and then gets trapped by AI.”