Ahishor Solomon on making Naseeruddin Shah run for three nights in his debut film ‘John Day’

At 63, Naseeruddin Shah will be seen performing action sequences on screen. The man who persisted and convinced him to do this is debut director Ahishor Solomon for his film John Day. Kurnool-bred Solomon assisted Pooja Bhatt before branching out to make his own film. “We tend to have opinions on what we perceive to be good and bad. This film blurs the line between good and bad, and presents situations that need to be viewed in the circumstances under which they occur,” says Solomon.

The crux of the story goes back to Solomon’s days in Kurnool. “I was at a bar with my friends, where we witnessed a guy being beaten up by a group of people and in retaliation, the guy slit the throat of one of his attackers. I could never forget That incident,” says the director.

Solomon had a written the story with Naseeruddin Shah in mind for the title role. “Naseer saab insists on a bound script, reads it and chooses a project by instinct,” says Solomon. It’s sheer coincidence that this film is being produced by Anjum Rizvi, who produced A Wednesday. The only hesitancy from Naseeruddin Shah was the action segment. “He wasn’t sure if he could pull it off. But he did extremely well. He had to run for hours on three consecutive nights,” says Solomon. John Day also stars Randeep Hooda, a former student in Nasseruddin Shah’s theatre workshops. “It took me some time to select Randeep. When I met him, I realised he had a few character traits that suited the role,” says Solomon.

The director confesses to have always been a sucker for cinema and says he watched everything from world cinema to Telugu comedies. “I love watching Brahmanandam comedy segments but I can’t see myself taking up that genre,” he says. In his student days in Kurnool, Solomon watched every film he could manage in cinema halls and on a VHS player his father allowed him to rent during festival holidays. “One fine day, my dad bought a VHS player,” he recollects with a smile.

There were dreams of cinema, but Solomon had no clue how to enter the industry. He studied B.Com though he was least interested in numbers in the mean time, looked for courses related to cinema. He took up Mass Communication at International School of Business and Media, Pune, and later got his first break as an intern on the sets of Jism. He continued to assist Pooja Bhatt in Paap and Rog before working as chief assistant director for one of Ram Gopal Varma’s Film Factory productions.

Before John Day, Solomon was planning a Telugu film to be produced by Dil Raju. The project failed to take off. Next, he is planning a road film and has a few other scripts. “I am also in talks for a Telugu film. Let’s see,” he signs off.