“1988”, I replied, curiously.
“So your film has to be Rain Man. Because that’s the film that won the Oscar for Best Picture – it’s the celebratory movie of that year. Unforgiven is mine, the Clint Eastwood movie.”
“For me it was Forrest Gump,” chimes in his sibling Mukunda. “But I get Pulp Fiction that year as well.”
This is how these boys connect with the outside world. Restricted to a mere handful of trips outdoors throughout the year – if they were lucky – they would entertain themselves by reenacting movies at home, watching a myriad of pictures, ranging from contemporary releases through to classics, transcribing the dialogue from the screen, creating props and costumes, and then acting out the films – in quite remarkable fashion.
“Movies are how we connect with people, and how we became friends with Crystal first,” said Govinda. Crystal Moselle in the director of this moving feature, chronicling the life and upbringing of this unique family – and how they coped, and suffered, with such limited contact with the outside world, thanks to their father’s somewhat tyrannical presence and inclination to protect his children from the horrors of reality.
“Our father saw the film,” Mukunda recalls. “He calls it an ‘honest’ film. He loved it because of its storytelling and the way it was shot, and the whole way it was edited as well. He said it’s helped him find a little bit of peace.” But in regards to his input into the entire project taking place – where a series of candid, intimate discussions took place in his own home, Govinda said, “He had no say. The power had shifted.”
Govinda admits that he despite the acclaim this picture has received, he hasn’t actually watched the film himself. “I’m a little self-conscious and it might take a while before revisiting it and to see that time of our lives. We were 17 when we first met Crystal and now we’re 23. I was a teenager then, I’ll watch it when I’m ready.”
The same, however, cannot be said of Mukunda. “I saw it as an audience member – like it wasn’t me on the screen,” he explained. “The film has such an emotional depth, and it’s really fascinating to watch, and I loved it. It has so much emotion to it that I didn’t expect,” he continued. “It was a little bit cool too, especially seeing the poster. We haven’t been underground yet, but we’ve seen the pictures on Instagram.”
Having barely been anywhere outside of their apartment, the past year has noticed quite a dramatic change in their lifestyles, as simply by promoting their movie – which they were doing in London when we had the pleasure of meeting the brothers (who were joined by Govinda’s twin, Narayana – who preferred to listen to the conversation, chipping in sporadically), has allowed for them to explore the world, and see places they’d only dreamed of seeing, with pre-established ideas about – informed entirely by cinema.
“I would say it looks similar [to how it does in the movies]. Not only did we watch films, but we’d watch behind-the-scenes too, and some of the architecture and the streets from locations look similar,” Mukunda claimed. “What I look back on most is how many worlds I’ve discovered. I love discovering new worlds, like opening new doorways. That’s what I’ll remember years from now. Plus, London has the best breakfast I’ve ever had.”
“We went on a bus tour, which we don’t do in New York – but this is London. So we’ve seen Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square,” Govinda added. “There’s a human bond almost everywhere you go, it’s amazing. Plus, everybody is a weird movie character in their own way. They can be cool, but also daunting – we sometimes think, if you’re a film character these are traits you would have. We see that when we explore the world.”
“But I’m comfortable with people now, despite who they are. Especially with cinema, we all share the same passion, it doesn’t matter what your background is, you have this love for something – that’s what counts and people connect to that.”
It’s this very reason why the boys, now planning on moving out of the apartment they’ve lived in all their lives (Govinda the only brother to have officially flown from the next already) will be just fine. Plus, no matter what the big bad world may be like, they’ve always got each other.
“A friend of ours once said we were like a ‘pack of wolves’ because we always travel together and never leave one behind,” Mukunda said. “That nickname just stuck. It expanded after that. It works, it’s fitting.”
The Wolfpack is released on August 21st.