After Danish Aslam’s directorial debut with Break Ke Baad, he almost made two films with UTV and Balaji, which were eventually shelved. Now, having done episodic storytelling with two seasons of It’s Not That Simple, Time Out (Both with Voot) and now, with Eros Now’s Flesh with Swara Bhaskar, he is loving it. We spoke to the uber-interesting man who had never planned to become a director.
God, no. Although having said that, real life is more complicated. This season is purely an extension of the first one.
I don’t have a deal with Voot. I just happened to do It’s Not That Simple Season 1 because Vaibhav and Voot approached me with the story. Charudutt Acharya had written the script, which he wrote for Season 2 as well with Jaya. Season 1 was fun with Voot and Monica and Tanya from Voot. I had a concept for Time Out, which I pitched and they liked immediately. I did that with them as well. By the time I finished, Season 2 was ready. Currently, I am doing a show for Eros Now called ‘Flesh’ with Swara. There is no exclusivity.
I keep telling Swara that maybe we need to take a break from each other. I am doing the third show with her now. What I look for in an actor is anybody who can reduce my work on the set. With Swara, Karan and Vivan, it is effortless. With Swara, once she has understood the character, she will give you not just what you want, but options too. I was really happy to bring Karan and Vivan back because their characters were really interesting. What Karan did with his character and how he ran with it really blew me away. I loved working with him.
It is interesting, because casting Sumeet Vyas was a bit against type. I had seen him in a particular type of role, mainly because of Permanent Roommates. When I first saw him, I did not know whether he would be able to do it or not, but I realised that Sumeet is not really a Permanent Roommates kinda guy. In the scenes where he is fighting with Mira, especially where he comes home and refuses to apologise to her, it is like he is channeling his inner Bachchan. I had a blast with him mainly because I was doing stuff with him that I think he had not done before.
I think the biggest challenge was time, because we shot this season in 33 days. It helped having actors who have worked in mediums – television or web – where time is an issue. The other problem was that I shot it during monsoons. This season was all about location work. So, when it rains, you have sound issues. The scene with Swara and Purab, when the cars hit each other and it is raining through the scene, it was not supposed to be a rain scene. It was raining, so we just shot in the rain. Finally, it really worked for the scene.
I did additional dialogues for It’s Not That Simple, as well. There was one scene where Angad comes to Mira after Dev has refused to apologize to her. He makes her scream at Dev on top of her lungs. I saw their chemistry come out really well, which is something I hadn’t expected. Another favourite scene of mine was the second time Angad meets Tani in the cafe and she says ‘In a mad world, only the mad are sane’. That bit about her, that jive about the dad – Purab pulled it off really well.
Yes, it is true. It is fairly self-evident especially in this country because I believe other than jumping to conclusions, hypocrisy is one of India’s national pastimes. There is a scene in the show where Sumeet tells Swara that the difference is basically ‘Log Kya Kahenge’, to which her response is ‘..because you are a man, if you sleep with multiple people you are a stud, if I do the same thing, I am a slut, no matter what’. That is just one aspect.
Over the last 2-3 years, I have been doing one show after the other so there is very little time. However, there was a phase where I almost made two movies (with UTV, Balaji). A lot of work started, got into prep and then the movies were shelved. There was a fair amount of free time on my hands. There is no balance. I go from one state of extreme occupation to another state of extreme boredom.
Oh god, no. I have answered this question many times before and my standard answer is that i don’t want to get divorced. I think she is a really talented actor. I am prejudiced because I know every mannerism of hers and every micro expression, so it becomes a little difficult, since in an actor, there has to be a certain element of discoverability as well. I would honestly, like to work with her someday if the right project comes along, but till then, I am going to stick to my ‘I don’t want to get divorced’ stance.