When you pick up a new story, it should give you sleepless nights: Aanand L Rai
By now, one thing that has become synonymous with Aanand L Rai is his uncomplicated reel world peppered with a variety of emotions, which reflects in his personality too. Probably, that’s why his films have always tugged at audiences’ heartstrings. But peel off that layer of ‘simple, relatable’ cinema, and you will see the film-maker is consistently breaking set patterns in his directorial ventures.
“It’s the fun of filmmaking. When you pick up a story, it should give you sleepless nights. It’s important to feel a little nervous. There’s no fun if films don’t do this to you. At the same time, what keeps you moving ahead is the excitement of seeing that [world] on the big screen,” says Rai, who has been pushing the envelope with gems like Nil Battey Sannata (2015), Newton (2017) and now, Sohum Shah’s Tumbbad.
“You may feel that it’s a new genre for me, but when you see the film, you will realise that it is just an extension of me. It is definitely a scary film, but it scares you about greed. It has horror elements but I will call it an adult film for family viewing; adult because it is scary. Today, even our audience is ready to broaden their horizon to see a newer world. We are all prepared to welcome newer stories,” he says.
Calling Tumbbad a “very Indian commercial film with a global appeal”, Rai feels the film “somewhere redefines the genre of horror.”
“What makes me very proud of the film is its originality. I have a strong feeling that this will open up new dimensions for horror in India,” he says, adding his “mindspace is juggling with too many things these days.” And right at the top is Zero starring Shah Rukh Khan, with which he returns to direction after Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015).
“It is an interestingly tough film so, needed these threeand-a-half years. In fact, I have been very quick. When you watch the film, you may feel I should have taken another year. But since I am a very hardworking man, I will deliver it in time (laughs),” says Rai, who readily admits Shah Rukh has “spoilt” him as a film-maker.
“In the process, I also learnt many things. The best thing I have learnt from him is to be there – in the moment. When you work with him, you realise why he has consistently been on top,” he says.
Our audience is ready to broaden their horizon... We are all prepared to welcome newer stories AANAND L RAI FILMMAKER
Aanand L Rai