Let the train take the strain – behind the scenes of Kill

Behind the scenes of Kill - Let the train take the strain!

We go behind the scenes of KILL, (reviewed HERE) where the main vehicle for suspense – and close-range, hand-to-hand combat – is its setting. The film almost entirely takes place on the Rajdhani Express, a passenger train headed to New Delhi. When Fani and his team of 35 bandits take over, they disable the breaks and hold the conductors hostage, ensuring that no one can escape. These claustrophobic conditions meant that the filmmaking team had to get creative with production design and cinematography.

Headed by production designer Mayur Sharma, the team constructed a specially curated mobile train. The live moveable compartments took three and a half months to build from scratch. Each element of the train was built to look as realistic as possible, emulating a real Indian inter-city train. With safety in mind, heavy padding was added all over the surfaces. With most of the action takes place within four compartments, the set included the interiors and exteriors of two coaches, designed to be completely collapsible. This allowed the direction and camera team to manipulate the set as they pleased, to capture the required axes and shots. The production designers worked in tandem with acclaimed Indian cinematographer Rafey Mahmood. His team captured action sequences with a Dana Dolly mounted at the ceiling of the train set, and various close-combat actions scenes were shot in hand-held style by camera operator Naiyer Ghufran.

Behind the scenes of Kill is a mix of seasoned martial artists, rising stars, and veteran talent. Ashish Vidyarthi, known for his iconic villain roles, faces off alongside breakout actor Lakshya and Raghav Juyal. Tanya Maniktala, a BAFTA Breakthrough artist who won acclaim for her role as Lata in the series A SUITABLE BOY directed by Mira Nair, plays Amrit’s love interest, Tulik

As captains Amrit Rathod and Viresh Chatwal, actors Lakshya and Abhishek Chauhan had to undergo intensive training to convincingly play NSG commandos. They both learned military fighting disciplines including Krav Maga and Pekiti-Tirsia Kali. The film’s antagonist, Fani, played by Raghav Juyal, alongside the other hired bandits, were all trained and taught to fight like street fighters. Their combat style was kept freestyle, as they needed to look like goons. All 33 goons trained for three months before filming began. However, each actor was specifically cast for their role, as the story required more than just bodies to killed. (Fun fact: the total body count of KILL is 42.) The casting team sourced professional actors who would help uplift dramatic scenes, as well as actors with stunt performance and martial arts and/or fighting experience.

Throughout the journey of the film, Amrit suffers countless slashes, blows and heavy hits. His body takes a total of nine stabs, with countless punches and smacks from local weaponry. His best friend, Viresh, suffers a gunshot wound and three more stabbings. The production team pulled off these bloody feats through a combination of practical and special effects. Zuby Johal and Rajiv Subba of Dirty Hands Studio (DELHI CRIME, GHOST STORIES, TUMBBAD) led a team of pioneering prosthetic artists, who worked for six months pre-production to build multiple realistic prosthetic bodies, in addition to heads, arms, and body parts that were later used for gore and action sequences.

The prosthetics team had to work in accordance with the variety of knives and weapons used throughout the film. Each weapon came with its own specific wound, which was imagined, designed and pre-planned months in advance prior to the shoot. A total of 52 different knives were created and used for the fighting sequences. Each goon had a specific weapon and unique style, as per their characterizations and story arcs. Both real and prop knives were deployed throughout the shoot, with art props replaced during action sequences.

….and that’s what went on behind the scenes of Kill!

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