By VK Choudhary
Statutary warning: Filmmaking is injurious to your health, psych and society. It harms everything and everyone around you. Just don’t get into this shit. Run away. Run fucking far, far away.
Where is my mind?
When you are making an indie film, you are taking the risk of being handcuffed and taken to the ballpark to be sodomized over a period of two years or longer. By the end of it, you will be so comfortable with being bent over and being people’s bitch that you will start enjoying it. Your film will help you discover who you are.
When I had made my first film, I was an arrogant guy. When I made my second film, I had lost my arrogance, but had self-respect. With my third film, I have lost my self-respect.
Most of the crew members who joined the film for the love of indie cinema have fallen out of love with the word “indie”. I think a lot of people believe that indie cinema is about creativity. But to me, it is about production. My biggest take away from this film was my lessons with production and how it can affect the creativity of the film. And the simplest lesson I learnt about direction is that get the right people for the film, and take good care of them — they will do the rest for you. Direction is about leading people and managing their egos: Creativity gayi bhok mein!
Here’s the situation: I promised 30 people that there is a Treasure Island on the other side of sea. I convinced them to board the boat with me for an adventure trip. They agreed and jumped onto the boat. Halfway into the sea, I realized there are two holes and a crack in the boat. There is a storm on the way. Everyone on the boat is panicked. I am promising everyone that I will not let the boat sink and let them die. My job is to get this boat to the shore somehow — keeping everyone together, trying to block the holes, and repair the crack simultaneously. I think I have managed to get the boat close to the shore. I can see the beach and trees. I don’t care about the treasure anymore; I am looking for the beach. My people can have the treasure.
For my next film, my struggle is not with whom I want to hire or how I want to find a producer. My struggle is to discover which kind of person I want to be. Do I want to be the friendly guy who smiles, begs, and compromises with the people so that no one gets hurt and the work does not stop? Or do I want to be the guy who says, hey I don’t care about your issues, I asked you to do it, and you gotta do it? But I know things don’t work out in this black and while frame of ideology. So I will see what happens in the future. Thankfully, I have made some friends who I know are going to stand by me. For now, that is enough. If you are still interested, I would like to tell you the story of the burden of my dreams…after this disclaimer.
Disclaimer: I am really not sure how this article could read, because of my current state of mind. I haven’t slept for more than 3 to 4 hours at a stretch in the last 2 months. I have a cold and fever, and am running on anti-biotics. I am emotionally and mentally hypersensitive. And I have lost my objectivity. My film ‘The Window’ is releasing on 10th November 2017. I am happy and relieved. But many times I pinch myself and ask, “You are happy because the film is being released or you are happy that this is finally over and you can now go home and sleep?” If you are looking for inspiration from this story, you will be disappointed. Because this is a story of pain and troubles and fuck ups. But if you, unlike me, are a happy optimistic person, you will manage to find beauty and smiles in what we went through, and maybe, just maybe, feel inspired. And if you are a sick perverted person, who laughs really hard at his/her friends’ pathetic life issues, my journey may make you laugh. The incidents I am writing about are not in the order of them taking place.
So here we go:
In 2015, I was living alone in a remote apartment in Nagpur (this is the lead character’s apartment in the film: I have shot all my films in every flat I have occupied for than 6 months). I had shifted to Nagpur because I wanted to live closer to my girlfriend after 7 years of a long-distance relationship. I had quit my job as the CEO of Era films, but I was still working closely with Amit Jain, the director of Era Films. It was he who said that I should make films rather than run the company. After shifting to Nagpur, I was writing scripts and sending my two unreleased films (Obsessed and Art of Murder) to film festivals. I was pitching other scripts to people, but they were not working for anyone. Nothing was working. I was angry at myself and I was angry at the world. I hated everyone. Even the people I loved and the people who loved me. I was a ticking time bomb walking free on the street.
On 10th October, 2015, I had this dream of seeing a girl in my opposite building, and getting involved in her life. I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. The themes of voyeurism, infidelity, marriage, art, family, ruined childhood, there was so much I felt I could say in the story. I started writing that night. I wrote for almost three days straight and finished the script. I was spitting my anger, my fears, my frustrations, my love, my hatred and everything in between on the paper. When I re-read it, I loved it. I had written what I was feeling. I needed to send it to people now.
I had been talking to this guy named Vijay on Facebook (he is a good friend now). He had contacted me on Facebook for some help with the production of his first feature film (since I had already made two small films and was EP on two other films). We formed a friendship. I was trying to make my film too, so I offered Vijay shooting equipment and the hiring of a post-production studio at Era Films at a discounted rate. I asked Amit sir (Era Films) to invest the money he received from this deal in my film, which he gladly did (he ended up spending 8 times of what he received). I was finally seeing a ray of hope…but it was too soon to be hopeful.
I had average sound in my last two films. This time I was adamant on having pro sync sound. But I had no idea how expensive that process could be. I had hoped that I would be able to get someone to help me with sound at the budget I had in my head. When a lot of shit had happened, I realized that I could not make the film in this budget and that I would need more money for the sound and other expenses (flights and hotel). I had already been talking to another producer for funding. He had agreed, and then he stopped answering my calls. The shooting date was near, and I was sure this man was ditching me. I then called Suresh Kodnani ji (the Producer of Vijay’s film). I told him what I needed and mailed him the synopsis and budget breakdown of the film. He said yes. One day before the shooting was supposed to start, I took a bus to Pune. Suresh ji handed me the cheque with warm wishes. He had never been on set or seen what was happening. He gave me the money based only on my words. He never asked me how I was using his money. He was a happy man when I had called him a day before the wrap-up deadline (even though it was delayed by a week). I think when your intentions are good, somebody will definitely extend his hand to support you. In the mean while, I was also working through some other issues.
Compared to other issues of the film, casting was easier, even though I went through hell to get all of them together in Nagpur. I had not even written The Window when I had started talking to Amit Vashisth. I wanted to make Nirvana before making The Window. I wanted to work with fine actors and I was fascinated with the idea of working with actors from FTII, because somehow I was convinced that only FTII can assure me guaranteed quality. So I went on Facebook and searched for FTII groups. I did find the FTII actors’ group. Most of them replied back. But they politely declined to work in the situations I was requesting them to. And I don’t blame them. It was their right. I was not able to meet Amit’s demand too, but he was the only person who stayed in touch with me, taking updates on what was happening. October had come and Nirvana was going nowhere. I did not have enough money to make the film and no cast and crew yet, except the support of Era Films. Amit and I had also lost touch in the last one month. Then I wrote the script of The Window in October. I was pretty excited about it. I knew I could make the film with the production budget and support I thought I could gather. I had started looking for other actors as I knew I could not provide Amit with what he was asking. A lot of actors and crew members read the script, showed excitement and then stopped picking up my calls. I still don’t understand why people don’t pick up calls. Amit later told me that nobody says “no” to you in Mumbai. Because people don’t like hearing it. Four months later, when I had announced that the film is going on floor, some people called me back with varied reasons of why they did not answer my calls for 4 months. Now, they wanted to work on the film. I said “NO, I have found my men”.
In December, Amit called me to find out what was happening. I told him I was trying to make another film as Nirvana was not happening. I knew The Window was the right film for me to make at the time, not just financially, but emotionally and mentally too. He asked me to send him the script. I did, at 11 in the night. At 3 in the morning, he called me. I picked up his call, still half asleep, to hear his excited voice. He started talking about the character and how he wanted to play it. I was inspired by his excitement, but still hesitant as I had no money to pay him. I told him I would call him in a month after locking my other cast and crew, but I did not. I had no cast and crew a month later. By February end, I had my Associate director, Jigar, and an AD, Ankit. Except for some locations and few actors, nothing was locked yet.
Amit then called in February. He asked why I had made no progress. I told him the conditions. He was desperately pushing me to make the film. He asked me not to worry about his fee and just get rest of the things together. He just wanted the film to happen. After that, he would call me every night to know the progress of the film. I was still dealing with people who would say yes then stop picking up my calls. But Amit aggression gave me a boost. I wanted the film to start soon. I kept telling Amit I had to shoot the film before March as it would be impossible to shoot in the heat of May in Nagpur. We were now heading for a mid-March shoot schedule. The plan went for a toss, as nothing was fixed till the end of February.
The toughest part was casting female leads. I had messaged many actresses on Facebook, and most of them did not even reply to me. After a certain time, I had started feeling like a Facebook stalker; I was messaging every actress on Facebook who I thought would be interested in the film. I must have messaged over 250 actresses on Facebook, resulting in Facebook to bar/block me many times. Around 30 actresses did reply. 12 of them did hear what I had to propose, then declined my proposal gracefully, also wishing me good luck. I have lot of respect for them. And I think they are happy the film is releasing.
I then thought of going to meet those actresses who showed interest in the role. I booked my train from Nagpur to Mumbai for 8th March. I had a long chat with Amit on what I was going through to make the film. I asked him to take a call soon on if he will join the film. He asked me to give him a day. On the night of 7th Amit called me and said he was coming to Nagpur. I told him that I was going to Mumbai on 8th. He told me to send him the address of Nagpur anyway. So Amit took the train to Nagpur while I was leaving for Mumbai. And we had never met before this. Both of us just took a leap of faith. And we are glad we did.
After being declined by every actress I had met, Jigar finally managed to find an actress who was ready to come to Nagpur. She wasn’t interested in the script, but she wanted to work, and that was good enough for me. I thought I had found my Maya. I needed to find another actress to play Ayesha now. I had gone through the profile of Preeti Sharma on Facebook. She was also from FTII. Amit told me that she was her close friend and batch mate. I thought casting Preeti would be easy. It wasn’t. Preeti was busy with other work, and traveling throughout that month. She loved the script but she told me that it was impossible for her to commit to the film. Jigar and Amit started showing me profiles of other actresses, but I was stuck on Preeti. I don’t know why, but I felt she was perfect for Ayesha, even if I had not met her. After that I kept bothering Preeti for a month to agree for the shoot. Finally, one week before the shoot was to start, she said yes. We talked about her character on the phone for three nights, and her schedule was kept for the last four days of the shoot. Finally, she was in. I still think she said yes so that she could get over the nightmare of dealing with me.
We were planning to start the shoot on 1st of May now (Yes, the month I said I would never shoot in). This actress we had locked for the character of Maya was coming for rehearsals on 26th April. We had booked 6 apartments in the building I was living in for the cast and crew. Booking a hotel was not possible in my budget. While she was on her way to the building from the airport, my DOP Dhruvan and I went to check if her apartment was maintained according to her demands. But it wasn’t. Half of my production team (2 guys) was at the airport to pick up the actress; the other half was at the market. Dhruvan and I were so scared of the actress not being happy that we both started re-cleaning the apartment. Dhruvan made sure the basin of the bathroom was clean and I made sure the toilet had no marks. I filled fresh water in the air cooler (there was no AC). So we spent almost an hour cleaning her apartment and resetting it. Dhruvan even made sure that the bed sheets were neat and clean and the water bottles placed right beside the bed. When the actress came, her displeasure was noticeable when she looked at the building. I showed her the apartment. She thought I was the production boy. She asked for water then asked me to get lost. She shut the door and refused to come out. Jigar, Amit, Dhruvan and I waited in our apartment for her to call. After an hour she asked me to call her a cab and drop her to a hotel. She promised she would come back tomorrow noon. I begged her to tell me what was bothering her. She did not. She left for a three-star hotel (she paid for the hotel). And next day, she had taken the flight back to Mumbai. I felt naïve and stupid. I knew I would have to add a hotel and flight budget for the female cast and crew of the team. The shoot was stalled for another 10 days (or that’s what I had hoped).
One of Amit’s friends recommended Teena Singh’s name to him for the character of Maya. So Jigar sent her the script. When I saw Teena’s profile on Facebook, and the list of work she had done, I was sure she was going to say no to our project. She had already shot for many famous brands and for the film, Akira. Jigar did want her to work in the film, but she was skeptical. Jigar asked me to talk to her. I was sure she was going to refuse. But when I heard her voice on phone, I wanted her voice for Maya. Then I pitched Maya’s character to her on the phone for two hours. And she said yes. She was in. She created no hassles. She was cool.
We chose actors from Nagpur for other parts. To me, the discovery was Sayoni Mishra ji, who plays Lekh’s mother in the film. She was fierce, powerful, menacing, and just what I wanted for the character of the mother. I can’t thank her enough for doing that. I am sure you will thank her too after watching the film — and may get scared of her a bit.
I had locked Atul for Nikhil’s character and Praveen for Irfan’s character. Atul has been with me since my first film. We had this small town boys’ vibe. I knew Praveen from my Era Films days. I had seen a video he did for the Era Films and loved how seamless his performance was.
I met Jigar online on Facebook. I had posted a requirement for a casting director on Facebook and Jigar had replied. I had talked to around 30 people for the job of AD. They were not interested in my offer or my script, except Jigar. Jigar and I were in touch since my Nirvana struggle. But when the project went nowhere, Jigar left for a solo country trip. When he came back, I sent him the draft and he called to say, “Book my tickets”. There was also another boy, Ankit Chauhan. Ankit was pretty cool about my condition, and agreed to come to Nagpur.
Dhruvan had shot a documentary I had directed in 2015. I was planning to make Nirvana then and I had asked him to be the DOP on that film. Dhruvan had said he would think about it but never talked about it again. I kept asking him but he kept delaying his answer. When I wrote The Window, I hunted for other cinematographers for the film. It did not work out. In December 2015, finally a guy had agreed to do the film. He read the script and called me back telling me this was the best script he had read. I was happy that I finally had a DOP. One week later, he called and said that he wanted changes in the script. I asked him why. He said he wouldn’t be able to show it to his parents and sister. I tried to reason. He refused to listen. He said he was getting a chance to assist Mr. Santosh Sivan, so he was not interested in my film anymore. I asked him to give me some time. I called him next day, then next day, then next day, then next day. He neither picked up my calls, nor replied to my messages. I was angry and frustrated.
I called Dhruvan and asked him to help me out. He was already kind of a friend now. So I was not asking him; I was telling him to do it. He understood my situation. I sent him the script. He said he liked the script but he still needed time to think about it. I told him I was coming to Pune. I took the train and landed up at the FTII campus. I went to his room and started talking about what I wanted from the cinematography. I showed him references. He was all involved now. We were talking about which method would be right to shoot the film, and which camera Dhruvan would prefer. After 8 hours of discussion, I told him I was booking his tickets to Nagpur for next week. He said, “But I haven’t agreed yet.” I said, “How does it matter? We have been talking about the film for the last eight hours, you are already in.” Dhruvan was still skeptical. I told him he had to come for me and for cinema. I used other manipulative techniques. I told him if he didn’t come, I was going to throw myself off the building and blame it on him. He laughed nervously, and said yes. Dhruvan loved the script, but he loved me more, I guess. But he still says, “Tu fasaya mereko.”
In the second week of March I met a guy through Dhruvan. The guy was a friend of Amit Vashisth. He was excited about the script and about working with Amit. I was happy that I got such a brilliant sound guy for the film. But by the last week of April, the guy had stopped picking up my calls. This was the same week in which the actress had come and left overnight. Next day I knew that the sound guy was not coming too. The shooting date seemed like a far dream now. Amit then asked one of his close friends to do the sound. I kept negotiating with him. Then one day he said, he was coming. I celebrated. But next day, he dropped me a message that he could not come. We had to start the shoot in three days. Amit called another of his friends, Sanal George. By now, I had given up on Sound at a low budget. I came back with a new check from Suresh ji in Pune. I boastfully asked Sanal how much the sound would cost. He was honest. The smirk on my face was wiped away immediately, and I succumbed to my old self, falling on my knees to beg again. Sanal and I negotiated constantly for three days. He was frustrated with my negotiations. He asked me to recommend the project to someone else. I had no energy to beg and negotiate with another person for three more days. Sanal gave in. I am sure he too said yes so that he could just get done with me as soon as possible. But Sanal and I had a long way to go. Even when I am writing this article today, only 10 days before the film’s release, Sanal and I are not done yet.
I don’t think I should write anything about the production department here. Because the horrors of production screw ups are littered all over the film. All I can say is that this department was fucked up. Throughout the shoot, my phone always remained on hold while the take was happening. The moment a take was over, I would resume the call discussing how much the production guy should buy a hat for, or how much he should pay the traffic police, or how many plates of food he should order for that day. Throughout pre-production and production, I was handling minute details of expenses, to make sure that even INR 100 didn’t go waste. I tried whatever I could to save money. Mostly I succeeded, sometimes I failed. But here are the major events: So I had these friends at Nagpur who promised that they would help me with line production. They had made many films in Nagpur so I was sure they would provide the right guy. He turned out to be a dud. We were supposed to start shooting in three days, and the production head tells me that all the locations we had locked were cancelled. I realized later that he had not informed any of the owners about the dates of our shoot. Jigar, my associate director, who had never been to Nagpur earlier, went to hunt for locations in Nagpur. An evening after location hunting, we were waiting for the accidental rain to stop. While we were having tea, Jigar said to me, “I’m telling you one thing, if you manage to finish this film here after all the shit we are in, you can finish any film anywhere in the world. Because I have never seen any production more screwed up than this.” I smiled at him and told him we were going to finish the film. But I was shit scared. We were finally going to roll the camera, while half of our locations were still not locked. I had just opened Pandora’s Box fully.
On 11th May, I started shooting. Some of my film’s casting was not done yet. Half of the locations were still not locked. Teena’s dates were not confirmed, and I had to give the exact dates to Preeti. Sanal’s flight was booked for 15th May. We were shooting all the montage parts first to schedule all the dialogue scenes 4 days later to save the sound team’s cost. The camera was provided by the Era films, so we were not worried about the the camera rent. But the Red camera came with many troubles. The temperature gets up to 48 degree Celsius in May at Nagpur. We had planned to shoot the film handheld with a shoulder rig, but the camera turned out to be too heavy for the rig. Also the available Red zoom lens would not work on a handheld, so Era Films would need to buy block lens costing around INR 10 lakh. We wanted to shoot with one focal length 35MM, so the film had only Lekh’s eye perspective. Dhruvan also kept the aperture at 2.8 so that the perspective does not change with shot (I could not take many day exterior shots, because Dhruvan refused to change the aperture to adjust for light, and we did not have right lens filters.)
Dhruvan was frustrated and wanted to go back. I folded my hands and asked him to stay for the sake of friendship and film — again. He stayed, very unhappily. I asked him to at least start the test shoot while I arranged for a shoulder rig. He agreed, and finally the first shot happened after 3 in the afternoon. We were setting up another shot. The camera monitor would keep going off. No one was able to figure out what was happening. We had two monitors, but both of them kept flickering after 2 minutes. I went to another room to call Amit, and saw him sitting on the floor. He was shaking like a leaf talking on the phone. He said his uncle and aunty died in a road accident a while back. He was devastated. Amit’s close friend, Ashutosh Mishra (we have dedicated the film to him), had passed away in January. This was the reason he was desperate for the film to start. His place was haunting him and he wanted to get out of Mumbai. I was seeing fear. There was a selfish part of me, which was more worried about the film than two human beings’ deaths. Amit assured me that he would be back in three days. I asked him to take his time. He flew to Haryana, and I feared he wouldn’t come back, even if his luggage was in my apartment.
I called Sanal and the other actors to tell them about what had happened. I had to cancel their tickets and reschedule. And we cancelled tickets even after that. (For a small production like The Window, the amount of flight cancellation charges had escalated to INR 45,000) After dropping Amit to the airport, Jigar and I came back to see Ankit (2nd AD) with his packed bags, waiting at the door. I asked him where he was going. He told me that his grandfather was sick and could pass away any day. So he had to leave. I could not believe what was happening. I did not know what to say to him. I told him to come back if everything was fine at home. He promised he would. Next day he called Jigar to tell him that his grandfather was dead. Ankit did not come back after that. But Amit did come back. And we started shooting on 18th may. We had most of our locations locked now along with the dates of actors. Jigar was the only guy in the direction department. I had kept 5 guys in the production department. And I was heading the production.
We now planned to cut down on our sleep time and shoot all the montages in the night after shooting the dialogue scenes in the day. The camera and sound started rolling, and then stopped immediately. The camera would keep freezing due to overheating. The monitor would keep losing signal. Sanal warned me about the camera fan noise and other dialogue recording issues. I told him I would deal with that. Soon we found another issue in the motion of the camera recording. Dhruvan was pissed at me for giving him ill equipment. I was pissed at him for not doing thorough research in pre-production. But I knew I had to give Dhruvan what was needed to shoot the film. For two days I talked to other camera rental services to know if they could give us a camera on rent for cheap rates. They said no. My heart bled when I saw money burning every day, and people sitting idle.
Praveen was getting angry with me because his shoot was getting delayed and he had to leave for Raipur as his business partner was fighting with him. I would sit in the bathroom wondering what to do. I wanted to cry, but I did not have the time alone to even do that. I remembered then that I knew the Head of Distribution of Red India, Mr. Ashutosh Naidu. I called him and told him the issue. The man immediately gave me the contact number of the head engineer of Red India. The engineer spent almost two hours with me on the phone guiding me on the issue. Soon, we figured it out.
I ordered 30 HDMI cables (one to two for each day). We kept icepacks on the camera to keep it cooling. Finally, the camera started rolling and we shot a scene. Right after that, the monitor screen broke while Dhruvan was trying to screw the monitor onto the camera. Now a good monitor would have taken 3 days to arrive in Nagpur and it would be too expensive. So I begged Dhruvan again to shoot on an average monitor. He kept abusing me and kept shooting. Throughout the shoot there were many arguments between me and Dhruvan. I did feel guilty for putting him in that situation. He did not have proper rigs. There would be times I would not stand behind him and look at the monitor, because I would be more worried about his suffering than the scene. I was scared his ears would burn from the heat of the camera.
By the fifth day of shoot, Dhruvan had stopped fighting with me. He too had given in to his fate. I finally managed to get him a good shoulder rig. There was no proper focus puller, though he had two camera assistants, so Dhruvan had to pull the focus himself while carrying the camera. We had major location issues. I had to arrange for alternate locations immediately. Then there was a fight between Teena and Amit on the first day of their shoot. I lost it. I got angry and left the room, telling them that I was cancelling the shoot. Three minutes later, I rushed back to room, realizing how many people had put their trust in me and how much money was riding on it. I could not afford to show my anger.
I convinced Teena and she understood. I talked to Amit and he understood, and the shoot started. Then there were the constant production issues. Sometimes the car would refuse to start. Sometimes the food would not arrive. One of my actors had a fight with the production team, and he refused to give a shot till I fire the production manager. Finally I had to send the production team home for a night till I got the scene done from the actor. One of the home owners refused to give us his house because we were 15 minutes late to the house. Another house owner refused to let us shoot in the building parking because we took permission from the building owner and not him. The actors who were supposed to play the father and security did not turn up on the location.
One week before the wrap up, my production manager left saying his grandmother died. One of the camera assistants fell sick. So I was running around as the camera assistant too. Sanal would walk up to location owners and request them when I’d get angry and walk away. Amit would keep motivating the team to keep going despite the everyday hurdles. We were shooting the last scenes of Ayesha and Lekh. I received a call from my brother telling me that mom was admitted to the hospital two days back. He asked me to come to Raipur immediately. I said I couldn’t. I was shooting and there were just four days to wrap up. I asked him to take care of Mummy for four days. He cursed me. I hung up. I shot for four days, but every moment there was this fear in the back of my head that something would happen to mom. I had witnessed three deaths in the family of the film’s crew in the last 25 days.
I just wanted the film to be over. It did. Thankfully, we wrapped one day before the deadline. The boat had arrived at the sea shore. The cast and crew had mixed emotions after I called a wrap. I don’t know if they were happy that the film shoot was complete, or sad that the adventure was going to end, or just relieved to go home. I had no idea what I was feeling. I went to the bathroom and started weeping. I had no idea why. I just wept and wept.
I called my brother to ask how mom was. He said she was out of danger and they had shifted her for home rest. They did not bother to inform me because I would not care anyway. I nodded and hung up.
How am I feeling now?
This is the question most people ask me these days. Truthfully, I have no idea. I don’t know if I am excited, nervous or relieved. Making a film is like raising a child. You sweat and bleed to give all you could give to your baby. You give all the love and nurture you are capable of. Your baby gives you constant worries, many sleepless nights, and unimaginable amount of fear for its future. It frustrates you, angers you, bothers you, and sometimes makes you cry. It makes you doubt yourself and the choices you made with it. You go through all this…because nothing can come closer to the happiness and fulfilment your baby gives you. Because you love your baby.
You do all you can to prepare your baby to go out there in the world and survive. Once your baby grows up and is ready to step out, you can only hope that you did a good job with it and the baby will be great out there in the world. If people love your baby and it does great with its life, you feel like an accomplished person. Nothing can give you more joy than the world adoring your kid. But even if your baby does not find its footing in the world, if it is not as remarkable as you wished it to be, it is OK. Hey, it is still your baby, and you love it more.
The film is releasing on 10th November, 2017. I am planning to go to sleep after that for two weeks. But who knows, my new producer wants me to make another film soon, so maybe I will jump into pre-production for that film. I know what you’re thinking. But somehow, you become addicted to the pains and pleasure of making a film.
Thank you for listening.
Amit Kumar Vashisth:
Hi, I am Lekh. Lekh Kapoor! My journey from Amit Kumar Vashisth to Lekh Kapoor and back is viewed via THE WINDOW. Lekh is a conflicted man child, a 31-year-old well-read and well-settled boy. Living off his gullible yet practical friend Irfan and in search of his version of Utopia and Love, he considers himself an artist, a writer with an honest and original vision. He is busy writing stories that will bring him forth and change the way the world perceives Art — much like many idealistic beginners, like a fresh film school pass out. But Lekh is neither a film school pass out, nor a fresher. He has been in pursuit of greatness for 10 years, during which he has alienated himself from his family, his work and his wife Ayesha. And now to his dismay and destruction, he hits the proverbial “writers block”. And during this turmoil and “to be or not to be’” phase, he encounters a mysterious girl named Maya one fine evening while navel-gazing from his apartment’s window…and then the hell breaks loose!
The Window answers as many questions as it raises. Yes, it is my first film as the leading man. But it feels like my 100th. It took away a part of me, and I am not complaining here; Lekh would have, of course! I am happy because I discovered Mr. Lekh Kapoor in me and vice versa. A film as intense as The Window is bound to leave a mark on you. I still carry Lekh within me, but now I know how to keep him cool.
The Window operates on many levels:- 1. Lekh as a writer 2. Lekh as a son 3. Lekh as a husband 4. Lekh as a lover & 5. Lekh as a man: which according to me is the most important aspect of this character and the film.
The Window, after a point, is not just about Lekh. It becomes a film about: 1. What has happened to humanity? 2. The human quest for the Ephemeral meaning of Absolute Life, or the Absolute meaning of Ephemeral Life…whatever suits you!
It was difficult for me to portray Lekh, primarily because of the baggage the man carries. I was always trying to make this man more humorous. I tried to snatch a smile here or there. Sometimes it worked, but mostly it didn’t; it was as if he had sold his smile for a breath. I worked on his breathing pattern, and thus the speech, his walk, his overladen posture, his forever bent frame, his want for his mother. “Good boys always carry a handkerchief!” a line from his childhood, his “taking himself so seriously look,” his “dare me stare” stance, his steely coldness, his hardening of the heart, the lava bubbling in his eyes, and his constant smoking and perennial drinking: all habits which I had to develop. The director and all the actors improvised a lot during rehearsals, which went on for almost three months. Lekh is a man who knows he could never be able to meet his expectations, who knows he is fighting a lost battle, who knows there are no miracles but he still chooses to wait for one. He is hopeful. Through him, The Window will question your belief in your own self; it will take you to a zone where only your innermost reality will surface.