Updated: Apr 1
Interview by Taryll Baker
Firstly, great work on Chambers Gate! I admired your dedication to characters. Is internal conflict and evolution something you always try to tackle in your films?
I feel very honoured and thankful when an experienced film critic admires my creative efforts. Honestly, I always try to tell stories in my movies in a way never told before; when it comes to internal conflict and evolution, our life from start to finish is the reality of that conflict, no matter if it is the simplest or toughest things we have deal with. My objective is to connect the story as much as possible to reality, and to communicate with the audience and their minds, besides just entertaining them.
Looking at your credits on IMDb, I noticed you seem to experiment with various genres. Films like Zombie Beach and Aisha and Rahul are quite different tonally; where do you find inspiration for these stories?
Learning filmmaking and telling stories, for me, is never ending; every moment you spend, there is a story behind it. Watching the sun and moon every day can also help to connect to various untold stories. When it comes to genres and categorising a filmmaker for a particular genre, in my opinion, it’s like putting the bird into a cage and not letting them fly. This happens a lot in high-budget commercial movies. I try to connect to reality even in a horror, thriller, romance or a drama. Basic human elements, even in pieces, can add helpful components to assist in believing in the story you are watching.
As a writer, director and actor, what role do you find most challenging or most fulfilling personally?
Initially, when I started as an actor, it was very challenging before it turned into very fulfilling. But when I started writing my own stories and directing the movies, it became even more fulfilling with my strategic planning.
Directing a movie is no doubt very challenging but it's the most fulfilling at the same time.
Whilst watching Chambers Gate, I noticed you did a lot of location shoots. Is this something that requires a lot of attention and care? I imagine it takes a fair amount of confidence not only in your work, but your professionalism when working on a location rather than a set. Are there any obstacles you had to overcome?
Depending on the story of the film, we decide on location or set shoots, and shooting in a studio is very different than at a location. For Chambers Gate, the kind of story and camera shots we were looking at needed a particular real location, with long shooting days to reach to our desired goals. Crane shots, a real lake by the house, countryside roads, farms and the church to name a few. In a studio setting you can do so much with the latest technologies available today. A major obstacle is staying away from home and spending days with the cast and crew on those locations, while still staying focused to get the work done.
Depth of Pyaar is your latest film. Could you tell us a little about it and where we can see it?
Depth of Pyaar is a film about two brothers — Yash is a charismatic young lawyer frustrated in his pursuit of justice, while Ansh is a social recluse due to his medical limitations — and how their lives are overturned when a sociopathic criminal targets them and their loved ones. Both are forced to make decisions about how far they will go for the people whom they love. The movie is currently streaming on Amazon Prime in the USA and UK, and available on a few other OTT platforms.
You’ve won many awards over the years and have clearly established yourself as a renowned writer and director, how does that feel? Do you have any goals you’d like to achieve in the future?
I appreciate the amazing recognition and acceptance from film festivals for the stories that I wanted to tell to my audience.
I am thankful for all the love that my respectful audience have given to me and my movies. All those awards are dedicated to them; who are able to accept my stories and connect it to their lives.
These recognitions are also dedicated to the next generation filmmakers, to bring revolution, positivity and lots of energy in telling stories through their films. Courage and lots of patience will help with accepting any criticism. My goal for now would be to keep making movies that entertain, connect and to bring a unique style of telling stories with no barriers.
If you were to introduce someone to your work, but could only show one film, which would you pick and why?
I will pick my upcoming feature film Bloody Romeo. With over 50 cast members and over 5 years of the entire process of bringing this film to life, I am sure it is going to be a huge acceptance globally. A unique story and very hot subject of the film which has a real connection with my life, brings me to count on the success of this movie. The film is currently submitted in over 40 film festivals, out of which 20 are Oscars submissions qualifying.
You have a few projects in the pipeline, what can you tell us about those?
Real incidents affect storytellers and this happened with one of my movies scheduled for filming in spring 2020. The movie is titled Zombie Beach II and its story by chance went with the reality of COVID and everything we are facing now. So we have dropped that project, and a story for a new zombie movie is in development for 2023. Other upcoming projects I am working on are Postal Code and Universal Greed. Drama, crime, thriller, horror and romance are the genres I am more inclined towards.
COVID-19 disrupted the film industry significantly last year, and now as productions begin to restart and cinemas reopen, do you think the affects of a pandemic will last? Will audiences want to return to the theatre experience?
In my opinion, we as humans are very strong and, after this pandemic, even stronger. It’s just a matter of time until things turn around. All countries are responsible for their vaccination programs and we should see great results very soon.
Lots of jobs are dependent on the film industry and the world economy, and those in entertainment are very much waiting for things to go back to normal. We all are together in this.
Lastly, if you could work on a film with any director, writer or actor of your choosing, who would you pick?
Director: Quentin Tarantino. Actors: Brad Pitt, Scarlet Johansson, Priyanka Chopra and Jennifer Lawerence. Writers: Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron and Taika Waititi.
Depth of Pyaar is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video: