In a chat with OTTplay, he talked about Kadak Singh, his chemistry with Pankaj, and why he takes time to make a film. Read on…
National Award-winner director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s Kadak Singh has garnered overall positive reviews from the audience and critics alike. Pankaj Tripathi’s performance has been lauded. The film which also features Sanjana Sanghi, Jaya Ahsan, Parvathy Thiruvothu, and others has ranked one of the most-watched shows on Zee5. Now, the director is set to make a comeback in Bengali cinema. In a chat with OTTplay, he talked about Kadak Singh, his chemistry with Pankaj, and why he takes time to make a film. Read on…
How did Kadak Singh start?
In 2016, Viraf asked me to make a film. He gave me a oneliner of the story and I liked it. Since then, Viraf, Ritesh, and I spent days developing the story. We took six years to finish the film. Like all my films, we took a lot of time to write the story.
It is an ensemble cast. How did you choose your actors and actresses?
With honesty and truthfulness. I knew what I wanted and for me, that is more important than anything. When I write the script, I think of the characters and not the actors whom I might want to cast. I wanted powerful actors. The producers trusted me. If I believe in something I do that. And I recommend someone only when I am very sure. When I said that I wanted Parvathy they agreed. She might not be a very popular face in Mumbai, but I wanted to work with her for a while. She is a fascinating actress. Same with Jaya. Virag suggested Sanjana Sanghi. We had a video call and in a minute I understood that she is my Sakshi in Kadak Singh.
Tell us about your association with Pankaj.
My relationship with Pankaj developed before the shooting. We went to each other’s house. We call each other Babula and Laikadi. We decided that ‘Humlog masti karenge, khana-vana khayenge aur jo time bachega shooting karenge’. A good vibe and a solid collaboration develop when the two of you know that you are not fake and understand each other. He is such a big actor that he understands the basic chords of a director very easily. Before the shooting, we sat and chatted. He brought eminent theatre personality Prasanna to do workshops with us. Sanjana and others worked with him. He has owned the film. Same experience I had with Parvathy and Jaya. Jaya used to come down to Kolkata. Not that we did workshops. We chatted and exchanged our ideas over a cup of tea. Our exchange of energy, vibes, and thoughts matched and that was the key.
In all my films, responsibility plays a key role. We are responsible for nature, animals, humans, for our minds. We are also responsible for our close ones – spouses, children, girlfriends/ boyfriends, and so on. These days, the idea of responsibility is fading away. That is there in the film. Also, there is a dysfunctional family that is coming together through odds.
You are making a comeback in Bengali films after ages. What makes you take so much time? Also, tell us your plans…
I am not a genius. I am very average. I don’t have the capability to write and direct films quickly. It is not a sarcastic comment. It is true. I take time. My friends tell me that I have ADHD. I take time to absorb things. And I can’t function or create unless I absorb the idea. I don’t like one-night stands. Once I am into it I am engrossed and overpowered by it.
Moreover, I don’t have any rush. I don’t have any urge to achieve a lot. For me, the journey is more important than the destination. I love alaap more in classical music.
Finally, you are ready to be back in Bengali cinema. Tell us about your plans…
I am ready with two Bengali scripts. One of the scripts is one of the best in my life. I took very little time to like this script and I think it is my quickest selection. We are working on the fifth or sixth draft. Usually, I like a script after its 20th/ 22nd draft.
I want to do Bengali films. I think in Bengali. I speak the language. I grew up reading Bengali literature. I listen to Bengali music. My friends often say that I make Bengali films in Hindi. My upbringing, attitude, and sensibility are Bengali. Also, that does not mean it 7is confined only in a local space. In today’s world, local is more global. The more your content is rooted, the more global appeal it will get. We have all seen the glitz and superficial grandeur. For example, Kohrra is a story from Punjab and yet has a universal appeal.
Your daughter just got married and you have a new member in your family – your son-in-law… How are you enjoying it?
My daughter has always been my friend. Now my jamai (son-in-law) has also become my friend.