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The Rediff Interview / Mohit Suri, director
'I hope we can score another hit with Raaz 2'
September 25, 2008
At 26, Mohit Suri is already directing his fifth film, Raaz-The Mystery Continues.
Raaz-The Mystery Continues is your first horror film. How did the idea originate?
I ended up watching The Grudge 2 when I didn't get tickets for a particular film. Grudge 2 was a high-octane roller coaster ride and it really tempted me to make a horror film. I've been toying with the idea ever since.
After rigorous brainstorming and ideating with my writer Shagufta Rafique, the script of Raaz 2 finally shaped up. The film is based on one of Sant Kabir's dohas -- Bura Jo Dekhan Main Chala, Bura Naa Milya Koye, Jo Munn Khoja Apnaa, To Mujhse Bura Naa Koye. I think all great films are based on eternal truths which never change and Raaz 2 is one of them.
I hope it's as intriguing as the first film, if not better than that. I hope we can score another hit with Raaz 2.
Are you cashing in on the success of Raaz?
Raaz was made in 2002; it's been six years now. If it was about 'cashing in', we would have done that earlier. Raaz is one of the biggest hits our company (Vishesh Films) has ever delivered. It's a landmark film and we cannot mess with it. We have to live up to the brand Raaz and I guess this is the right time.
It is unlike any other horror film. It does not have the so-called dark lighting, eerie shots and sudden burst of sounds. I have focused more on the story.
It is not inspired by an English film either. Raaz 2 has an Indian theme and it transgresses boundaries, in the sense that, it offers much more than someone being murdered and his/her ghost stalking and haunting the murderer.
Raaz 2 stars Emraan Hashmi, Kangana Ranaut and Adhyayan Suman. Usually, sequels have the same star cast...
Firstly, it's not a sequel because it bears no resemblance to the previous part. So that itself answers your question. We have obviously retained the supernatural element but that's the only connection.
Any eerie experiences while shooting at haunted places?
We shot at Bhangarh ruins, one of the most haunted places in Rajasthan. There was a scene with the aghori's that we needed to shoot but somehow the shot never happened that day. There were technical glitches and production issues but it was quite an uncanny experience. We all know how the human psyche works.
Tell us about Emraan Hashmi and Kangana Ranaut's role in the film.
Emraan plays a painter, who is more susceptible to the supernatural world. He is the link between the plot of the film and Kangana's character.
Kangana represents the modern Indian woman, who is successful and independent and has an identity of her own. Still, somewhere down the line, she looks up to the man she is dating to resolve her issues. She plays a model, who is fighting the ghost within herself.
What about Adhyayan Suman?
Adhyayan plays an atheist, who is a documentary filmmaker. He believes the worst thing to have happened to the country is superstition and God because it has made us regressive.
He thinks there is a scientific reason for everything that happens. He is perceived as the so-called elitist, forward thinking rationalist in the film. I wanted a new actor to enact this part because I believe this is the newest character I have worked on.
You have worked with Emraan and Kangana earlier. How was it working with Shekhar Suman's [Images] son Adhyayan?
I am familiar with Emraan and Kangana's weaknesses and strengths. But working with Adhyayan was a learning experience. I was very excited at the prospect of grooming a newcomer besides scripting which is something I have never handled before. This is my first attempt at a horror film.
It is very exciting to make a new guy act. Every generation of actors come with a newer body language, newer values, and newer thoughts so it actually educates the director as well. It's an amazing learning experience because it teaches you how people think today. For instance, Adhyayan talks differently from what Emraan used to talk four years ago.
So is Adhyayan the new blue-eyed boy of the Bhatt camp?
His performance is laudable. I think everybody has liked his work so much that they have already cast him for two more films in the company. We abide by a strict principle that everyone gets work based on their performance. And Adhyayan has delivered so he deserves it.
Emraan has a mind that agrees to both our sensibilities. Moreover, he has complete faith in me and my ideas. I remember describing Alibhai's character in Kalyug to him. Alibhai is this guy, who works at a sex store and everything he says has a double meaning to it.
I don't think any other actor would even consider it such a role. Emraan had the intelligence to understand the role because he is more open-minded than most people I've known. He slips into the character naturally. And of course, if the cast demands a new actor, I will never hesitate to do the needful.
Don't you want to break the reputation of being a grim filmmaker?
Everyone my age is dabbling in candy floss romance, romantic comedies, hip college films, and other cliched themes. I don't believe in jumping onto the bandwagon. I don't want to live the mundane life. I want to stand out. There's really no point in making similar kind of films and besides I go by what I feel like doing at that particular moment.
I felt like making a Woh Lamhe minus action and I directed it. Then I felt like making the action packed Awarapan and I went ahead. It is somewhere connected to the phase that I go through in my personal life. This is not to say that my films are 'autobiographical' but it's just something that I feel at the particular moment.
Incidentally, my next film is a romantic comedy. I think my creative thoughts are simmering and I can now handle a romantic comedy which represents today's youth.
Are you miffed with constant speculation about your relationship with Udita Goswani? The grapevine is abuzz with the news that you'll have broken up.
We are still dating. It was wrongly perceived that we were getting married and that I was outside with another actress in some coffee shop. I was 23 then. I had to buy a house and besides, Udita is two years younger than me.
We were fighting over issues; we had our share of problems but the matter was blown out of proportion. The problem is I get very obsessive when my film starts and I disappear for days. I am very bad with the phone; I never revert to messages and calls. I even neglect my health and my family. She was just trying to make me aware of the other important aspects of life.
Tell us about your upcoming films.
I am not the kind of director, who tom-toms about films in the pipeline. What I am doing right now is all that I am doing. I don't feel more successful by having eight films in my kitty. I have all my dates available but at the moment it's just Raaz 2 for me.
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