A different thriller, this one

A different thriller, this one

He is known for his slick thrillernoir films like Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddaar, Agent Vinod and Badlapur This talented auteur is now back with Andhadhun slated to release on October 5 In this interview, Sriram Raghavan gives us a peek into his film starring Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte

Director Sriram Raghavan’s exclusive interview on his new film, ‘Andhadhun’!

He is known for his slick thriller/noir films like “Ek Hasina Thi”, “Johnny Gaddaar”, “Agent Vinod” and “Badlapur”. This talented auteur is now back with Andhadhun slated to release on October 5. In this interview, Sriram Raghavan gives us a peek into his film starring Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte.

You seem comfortable doing thrillers. Going by the trailer “Andhadhun” too seems to be an edge-of-the seat one?
A good thriller is the only cure for the common cold. “Andhadhun” falls in the noir/ thriller genre but it is very unlike the films I have made so far. Definitely a far cry from “Badlapur”. It is closer to “Johnny Gaddaar”. People have loved the trailer, which means huge anticipation. I’m at the edge of my seat, waiting for their reaction to the film.

What triggered the idea of “Andhadhun”? Is it inspired by any real incident or is it purely fictional?
After “Badlapur”, I wanted to do a fun sort of thriller…much like how Ram Gopal Varma did “KAUN” after the gritty and intense “SATYA”. I came upon this fascinating premise through a writer friend of mine. We decided to expand on it. I have four co-writers on this film. The writing was a process of brainstorming and we had a lot of fun, which I hope, has translated on screen.

The murders and mysteries (as evident in the trailer) surely seem intriguing…
“Andhadhun” is not a whodunit. Like in “Johnny Gaddaar”, the audience knows all along what’s happening and why. It’s the characters who don’t. The only guessing game for the audience is what happens next. “Andhadhun” is an unpredictable ride.

Your choice of casting is interesting besides Radhika Apte, who worked in “Badlapur”. How did you decide on Tabu and Ayushmann? How was it directing them? One also saw Anil Dhawan after ages in the film…
Ayushmann is a fantastic actor and I’ve loved his slice of life films. I narrated the story to him and he got very excited. He wanted to break out of his image. And I wanted an actor, who was also a musician. So we shook hands immediately after the narration. Regarding Tabu, frankly, I could see nobody else for the role. She’s an actress who’s fantastically adept in serious roles as well as fun mainstream movies. She was somewhat shocked by the story but I am so happy she agreed. And Mr Anil Dhawan plays a yesteryears’ star…which he is, in real life. You will enjoy him in the movie. He’s the ‘Surprise’.

How challenging has it been shooting this film? You seem to have your regular crew on board for this one too…
This is the first time I am working with KU Mohanan, my DoP. We are from the same batch at the FTII. Also, we were shooting in Pune, so all that was a breeze. Every film comes with its own set of challenges. We were shooting in Prabhat Road in someone’s house. Putting them to a lot of discomfort.

But somehow they tolerated us…And then a few weeks later, we realized we needed one more scene in the place. Thankfully, they obliged. Another location owner had sold off his house just a week before we had our next schedule. Well, these are usual problems on any movie.

The bigger challenge was for my actor. Ayushmann had to learn to play the piano as a blind man. He plays some virtuoso piano pieces in the film and you will see we have not cheated with hand doubles.

What next? What are the kinds of cinema you are looking at? Do you want to explore new terrains or stick to your comfort zones?
I am a viewer at heart. I’ll want to do movies that I feel like watching. There’s no such thing as a comfort zone for a director. Even if working within a familiar genre, he or she will have to find new ways of expressing. By new terrains, if you mean the web…yes I am trying to develop something. I am also keen on a couple of non-fiction ideas.

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