The film maker was in an exclusive conversation with OTTplay
Film maker Prawaal Raman’s career boasts of films like ‘Darna Mana Hai’, ‘Gayab’, ‘Darna Zaroori Hai’, ‘Main Aur Charles’ and others. His films’ premise may not be written with a pen that’s dipped in candy floss ink, but the specialty of his films is that, it always makes the audience stand up and take notice of his craft. Prawaal Raman’s latest offering is the Randeep Hooda starrer ‘Sergeant’. Speaking about Prawaal’s style of film making, Randeep Hooda had said that ‘his approach towards life and his craft was a learning experience for him’.
OTTplay caught up with the filmmaker for an exclusive interview.
Prawaal, first things first. Can you recall your experience of working with Randeep Hooda in ‘Sergeant’?
Trust me when I say that it’s always a pleasure to work with Randeep. He is an actor whose ability to deal with flawed multilayered characters is completely impeccable. He is a supreme delight as an actor to be directed by any film maker. In fact, far beyond anyone can comprehend.
Will it be right to call Randeep Hooda as a ‘director’s actor’?
By all means. As a director, it’s always a pleasure to work with actors who surprise them by surpassing the level of expectations. Randeep is one such actor. He is way too meticulous and methodical. And his homework about the character and the story continues even between takes!
It’s a delight to be working with an ‘acting maestro’ like Randeep, whose approach makes me want to live in the same realm of pain and interact with him for the better understanding of his struggling existence, which seeks constant guidance.
What was the one thing that you had in your mind while narrating the storyline to Randeep Hooda for the film ‘Sergeant’?
With such a flawed character of Sergeant Nikhil Sharma, my thoughts were completely simple. I was pushing Randeep’s character into an abyss and how much pain Randeep’s character will have to undergo to bring in the pathos and the dark existence of that character, was which formed the crux of my writing. It’s very easy for a director to direct. At the same time, it’s extremely tricky for actors who painfully live the character and let’s it gets captured for the world to watch.
What is unique and interesting about ‘Sergeant’ that makes it different from other films?
It’s an investigative thriller where a cop solves a case against all odds. Even though this may come across as a common story, what makes ‘Sergeant’ unique is the battle that the character fights from within. The character is far more complicated himself internally than the real case which he is trying to solve, which, eventually, forms his own puzzle. It’s a story of the protagonist fighting the inner antagonists.
So, the film deals about fighting one’s inner demons?
Very rightly put. The film ‘Sergeant’ is all about the character solving his personal case while he is still battling his inner demons. He is dealing with his physical pain, which is actually far lesser than his emotional pains. It deals with his relationship with his father, his guilt, his anger, and also his redemptions. I am thankful to Randeep and Neha for their contribution as writers. The film evolved more with their contribution as writers.
What went through your mind when you thought of casting Arun Govil?
Filmmaking is a director's medium. But, it’s always an experienced team that enables it to be made correctly. And I respect the experts and their choices. Mukesh Chabbra suggested the casting of the two most amazing actors in the form of Arun Govil and Sapna Pabbi. Their contribution to the film ‘Sergeant’ has been truly immense. Arunji is an institution in himself. He is a calm man with an ability to give the best performance with so much ease. It’s a pleasure watching the great actor and his vast understanding of the medium.
What about Sapna Pabbi?
She is one of the most intellectual and intelligent actors in the industry. She is someone who dives deep into the character's mind and picks up unique gems which work for the character.
Is there any specific reason for you to choose London as a location for a film which primarily consists of Indian characters? Was that a script requirement or you wanted to explore the UK as a backdrop for the story?
As a writer and director, I consider the script to be supreme. All the decisions are made keeping in mind the film’s script. As a director, I cannot override and decide locations as the backdrop for the film. Nothing functions independently. It’s all about the script. Each aspect of the film needs to be justified, including the locations. London was the only place the story could have been set and told, because ‘Sergeant’ is a story of the migrants who have shifted to other countries and the issues which the family faces due to the cultural and traditional changes.