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'You sometimes don't want them to exist': Monica, O My Darling director Vasan Bala on Mani Ratnam, Raj & DK

The Monica, O My Darling director talks about the idea of being productive and how each filmmaker has his or own capacity.

'You sometimes don't want them to exist': Monica, O My Darling director Vasan Bala on Mani Ratnam, Raj & DK
Vasan Bala on Mani Ratnam, Raj & DK
  • Team OTTplay

Last Updated: 05.31 PM, Nov 10, 2022


The upcoming Netflix release Monica, O My Darling might be Vasan Bala's only third full-length feature as a director but not many would know that has been a hidden creative force behind many other credible titles. Be it as one of the screenwriters on Anurag Kashyap's Bombay Velvet and Raman Raghav 2.0 or Kabir Khan's period sports drama '83, or through his rather clandestine and small acting appearances in films like Aamir, Dev D, and Gangs of Wasseypur, Bala is undeniably an accomplished figure in the Hindi Film Industry. And yet, despite being a seasoned campaigner, one wonders why he is only three films old as a director.

The same query was brought up during his recent interview with a popular media outlet where he spoke about how each filmmaker carries his or her own rhythm and pace when it comes to being prolific. "I want to direct films," he said when the question alluded to the significant gap between each of his directorials, adding that despite his wish to direct films more frequently, his process ends up warranting more time than allotted. 

"It just takes so much time, even I don't know. The attempt is to make probably one film a year but either you are not happy with the script because it's not going where you want or sometimes you aren't sure what the casting is going to be like, or sometimes it could be because of the producers - I don't know but there are so many reasons," he said in the same interview.

However, it says, there are filmmakers who manage to whip up a film without many hiccups or contingencies and remain highly 'productive'. "Look at Mani Ratnam who has a release (virtually) every year. If you meet directors Raj and DK, they have 20,000 scripts ready with them at a time - you just don't them to exist! (laughs). They are so productive. But everyone has their own capacity and I do try to develop various things but it is what it is," he added.

Vasan Bala's debut feature Peddlers, starring Gulshan Devaiah, Kriti Malhotra, Siddharth Menon, and others, was screened as part of International Critics' Week of the Cannes Film Festival in 2012 and also at the Toronto International Film Festival (2012). The film, despite the critical acclaim, has not found a theatrical release to date. His second film as a director, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, fared much better and was released in theatres in India in 2019 with positive reviews. Although the film wasn't a commercial success, it has grown since then in stature and today has its own small-but-passionate set of fans. 

His next film, Monica, O My Darling, is described as a neo-noir, crime comedy thriller which stars Rajkumar Rao, Radhika Apte, Huma Qureshi, and Sikandar Kher, among others. The film releases on Netflix on November 11, 2022.