“Every Time I Make A Film, I Make It A Point To Approach It Differently And Try To Learn From My Mistakes”- Rajiv Virani

August 14th, 2010 - 3:00 pm ICT by Sampurn Wire  

August 14, 2010 (Sampurn Wire): Rajiv Virani, director of Help in conversation with Jyothi Venkatesh on the eve of the release of his horror film.

Is Help your debut film as a director?

Help is not actually my first film as a filmmaker. I am perhaps the only director in the world, who is being called a debutant in spite of making two films earlier. This is because they are yet to see the light of the day in India. I had earlier made not one but two English films – The Whisperers starring Manoj Bajpai and Rahul Bose and My Bollywood Bride. Unfortunately, for me, while The Whisperers has been stuck in the cans, My Bollywood Bride, starring Kashmira Shah in the lead and directed by her husband did not get a proper release in India though it proved to be a big hit abroad in USA.

How tough was it to have Bobby Deol on board in your film?

It was not tough at all to get Bobby Deol on board, though I was quite sceptical whether Bobby would agree to act in a horror film. That’s because he has never acted in one till he heard the script of Help. We met Bobby through producers Sanjay Ahluwalia and Vinay Choksi, who had earlier seen my ad films. Bobby liked the subject and was convinced that I could handle a dark film, because he felt that it is an entirely fresh script, which is scary. If you take away the fact that it is a horror film and judge it on its own merit, you cannot ignore a subject like this.

What made you go in for Mughda Godse, who is acting with Bobby for the first time?

We cast Mughda Godse because she is very talented and is also willing to take more challenges as an actress so that she can grow as an actress. The best aspect of Mughda is that she does not have any set image.

How apt is the title Help?

We felt that “Help’ was the apt title for the film. As a horror filmmaker, I am of the opinion that if you put a child or a pregnant woman in trouble, it always heightens the element of horror in the film. I’d say that Help is extremely scary but at the same time also very audience friendly. Though it will make you scared, it will not make you feel disgusted. I am thankful to the Censor Board that it has given me a little bit of latitude.

How challenging was it for you to try your hand at making a horror film?

I am attracted to dark subjects. I felt that since I am limited by my fear of horror films, it would be a big challenge to make a horror film myself. If I make a horror film, I would have to watch it myself. It was a challenge for me to grow as a filmmaker as well as a human being and in the process I have been able to learn a few new technical things.

What was your approach towards making a horror film?

A horror film works first and foremost on the basis of audio effects. Personally as a viewer I am quite scared of watching horror films. You have to get the sound right and mix it with today’s technique to scare the audiences. Only then you can be effective. Though I had made both My Bollywood Bride and The Whisperers in sync sound, I decided not to make Help in sync sound, because apart from the fact the fact that I did not have time at my disposal, I also had a very limited budget at my disposal to make the film. It spread up our work process because I had to rely on the dubbing by my artistes.

Did you have to face any tantrums when you made films with Manoj Bajpai earlier and Bobby Deol now?

I did not have any problem with either Manoj Bajpai or Bobby Deol. While I’d say that Manoj is a sweetheart, Bobby trusted me completely so much so that I was afraid that he was putting so much pressure on me as a director by blindly following my decisions. In fact, Bobby used to tell me that if I felt the scene would work, it would work. I liked the fact that he was there on the sets to do his job and not to give stress to me as a director.

What would you like to say about your journey as a filmmaker till now?

I would like to think that I grow with each and every film of mine by making mistakes every time. What I like about myself is the fact that I have not made the same mistakes again and again but ended up making new mistakes in my journey as a director. To me, every film that I make is a different baby, a different animal. Every time I make a film, I make it a point to approach it differently and hopefully try to learn from my mistakes.

What next?

I am chilling out now that my film Help has been released unlike my earlier two films. I am working on a couple of scripts. Before setting out to zero in one of them, I’d like to go back to making ad films to make myself secure as a filmmaker.

– Jyothi Venkatesh/Sampurn Wire

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