A lifelong fan of movies and comic books has turned into an exciting career for 27 year old Durban film-maker, Dayakar Padayachee.
A student of acclaimed illustrator Nanda Soobben and with a foundation in Fine Art Animation, Padayachee was drawn to delve into the world of movie making, which lead him into participating in the 48 hour movie project.
“My first film was a short for a super-hero concept called The Cobra which has now been shelved for future productions, with my late friend who was a stunt coordinator, Tyson Murugan. The film can be seen on Youtube. I then went on to do the 48 hour film project where we were asked to do a silent film, which became a film called Glances which won, Best Audience choice award for the competition in 2014,” said Padayachee.
One of Padayachee’s latest movie releases, a short movie called ‘The Shadow’ that deals with depression and neglect has picked up a nomination at the upcoming South African Film And Television Awards (SAFTAS) for Best Micro-Budget Film.
“Shadow is a short film centred on the dramatic story of a family falling apart and being haunted by their own imprudence. Based on the philosophy of Carl Jung, Shadow follows the idea of being haunted by the baggage and burden of the emotions endured in our daily life, borrowing too from Greek and Hebrew mythology as the burden takes a spectral form from the Underworld. This form, or shadow, haunts the life of a 15 year old boy, Tyrone Sharma as he struggles in dealing with his parents’ failing marriage alongside his own homosexuality,” explained Padayachee.
The young film-maker drew inspiration in writing his movie from American Superhero movie also called ‘The Shadow’ and an Australian movie titled, ‘The Babadook.’
“The other influence was an Australian horror film called The Babadook; I was not a fan of the ending of the film, but was fascinated by its “Boogeyman” centric plot and mythology. As a horror fanatic, I’ve grown quite close to the idea of boogeyman concepts. When we were kids, we grew up on stories that would scare you into being disciplined, i.e. “the boogeyman will get you, if you are naughty,” and so on. Shadow started as a rewrite of the ending in Babadook, a shadowy creature lurking on people and feeding off their emotional baggage, sucking them dry. My friend Edgar Roshev and I sat at Galleria, Amanzimtoti, and drafted the idea of a gay kid seeing such a creature, and the concept grew from there”.
‘The Shadow’ has been screened at the Durban Gay And Lesbian Film Festival where it picked up an award for Best Original Song.
Padayachee is overwhelmed at the success of the Shadow after being nominated for a Safta “I submitted Shadow thinking it was the Simon Sabela awards (KZN equivalent) and not the Safta’s. When I received a message that the film made selection, I was shocked that Shadow even made selection, still unsure of how it got there. When I did remember, I headed off to Jozi to find out if it will be nominated and it was, I was over the moon, this little piece was getting the recognition it deserved”.
Members of the public can watch ‘The Shadow’ below.
About Dayakar off the grid
In his spare time Padayachee enjoys taking long walks with his pit bull Kubo, playing piano and drawing for comic books, in a developing film-maker’s career a strong support system is needed and Padayachee’s credits his father as being one of his biggest supporters in his movie career.
“My father has been mostly my huge support structure, and has funded most of my films, having conversations with him in the pre-production phases also is rather encouraging,”
When asked about advice about the film and movie industry Padyachee urged aspiring film-makers to not give up on their dreams in-spite of any obstacles faced, “The only real message I have for the up and coming, is don’t ever hesitate, because a moment does not last forever. If you have something truly powerful you have in your heart and you can do it, do it. Use the talents you have and the bare minimums because even one tool can fix something. Never depend on anyone but yourself, because when it pays off and It will, your work speaks louder and stronger than any naysayer who put you down in the first place.”
Padayachee has been privileged to work with local film-makers and actors such as the late Junaid Ahmed, Rob Hackenbruch, Kajal Bagwandeen, Bianca Isaacs, Lihle Dhlomo and now aspires to fullfill a dream of working with American film director M Night Shyamalan in the future.
Padayachee’s new short film Wide Eyed has been released on Youtube and stars Rizelle Januk and Nicole Theunissen. The 2018 SAFTA Awards will take place on 22 March 2018.
Watch ‘Wide Eyed’ here
Fun Facts with Dayakar Padayachee
I have so many films that are my favourite, but I think the one film I always go back too, is The Thing by John Carpenter, it is my all time favourite monster and Horror film and I highly recommend it.
There are a few, I’ll say which two female and male, Cate Blanchette I feel is one of the best actresses of our time and Gary Oldman.
There are too many, but a song that really sits with me is Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd
I love Italian food mostly,
Favourite Television Programme?
Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful
If I wasn’t a Film-maker, I would be?
I’d be a graphic Novelist, illustrating and writing for the comic book world.