'A good film is a good film.'
'If you enjoy watching it on Netflix, it should be equally fun to watch it in a theatre.'
National Award-winning Director Soumendra Padhi released his feature film Farrey in theatres last week.
Even though it got decent reviews, it has not done well at the box office so far.
Padhi, who has Netflix's popular Web series Jamtara to his credit, tells Rediff.com Contributor Mohnish Singh, "This is my first U-rated film. There is only one swear word. It's a teenage drama. So everything was new for me."
A lot of expectation is riding on this film because we have seen Jamtara.
The excitement factor is much more here because the tonality of the film is very different.
It is unlike Jamtara.
It is like life and death, do or die.
There, a lot of swear words were used. This is my first U-rated film. There is only one swear word.
It's a teenage drama.
So everything was new for me.
Those films were very real, this is magical real. Here, you can watch the entire film eating popcorn.
There are four songs here, one by MC Stan, one is by Sachin Jigar...
So the tonality, the colour, everything is different. It is tailor-made for a theatrical experience.
Salman Khan's niece Alizeh Agnihotri makes her debut here. Did you feel any pressure since his name is attached to the project?
No. The pressure was never put on me.
The process that we followed was how I did my first film. We had a long workshop.
In Jamtara, we had 45 days of workshop with 22 actors. The process continued in this film also.
Nothing has changed for me in terms of the way I work.
At the trailer launch of the film, Salman said it felt like an OTT film, but he suggested it should release in theatres. Was it indeed made for OTT?
We made the film and felt it would be fun to release it in theatres.
A good film is a good film, I think.
I feel if you enjoy watching it on Netflix, it should be equally fun to watch it in a theatre.
It's just that the projection is entirely different.
How do you look at Alizeh as an actor? It's her first film, and she looks pretty confident.
I think confidence comes from preparation.
As I said, we did a long workshop before we went into production.
The common interest between us is books. We can talk about books all day.
I will suggest five, she will suggest 10... That's is the common connection, apart from movies and stuff.
In your projects, we don't see actors, we see the characters because they are so strong and real.
It was normal for me because most of the actors (in Jamtara) were from FTII and they were used to theatrical training.
Even here, nobody questioned me.
When I did Jamtara, I asked for a special budget only for workshops.
It was new for Netflix also, as well as Viacom18, but they saw the results.
For Season 1, I was ready to invest 30 days to a workshop and for Season 2, I did it for 45 days to two months.
Those are costly workshops.
People are finding value (in India) now, but this is normal in Hollywood.
When I did my first film (Budhia Singh) with Manoj Bajpayee, he gave me three-and-a -half months for preparation.
He took a workshop himself and then made sure that I conduct another one. He spent a lot of time with the child also.
They used to read (dialogues) at least 50 times.
When you do that, you know the dialogues by heart. Then you can pay attention to the character.
Also, the actor's performance is the director's responsibility. If he is not able to do it, there is a problem with me, not essentially with the actor.
Maybe I am not opening up, not surrendering myself to the process... I have seen this happen.
A normal actor does exceptionally well in say, an Anurag Kashyap film.
At the trailer launch, Salman Khan was talking about how hard these actors worked under you and he said he would not have been able to do it. Do you ever see yourself directing superstars?
This thought never crossed my mind, honestly.
My short film was with my niece. She was 14 years old at that point and I wanted to capture the adolescence of this young girl.
That was my first short film, the gaze was female only.
That's how I naturally saw it, maybe because I was brought up with a lot of love and affection.
Newcomers come without baggage.
So in my first film, there was this five year old, so that prospect is very fresh, unbiased. And I get that energy.
In Jamtara, we had a young DOP (Director Of Photography), who had just passed out from LA (Los Angeles) and he had so much energy.
So if Salman Khan likes this film and he wants you to direct a film for him, what will you do?
I had a project come to me.
The performance needed was so much that I thought to myself, 'How will you bridge that gap?'
So I backed out.
Things like this have happened with a couple of projects.