Movies

‘It is tough to convince producers and actors to be a part of the stories I want to say’: Bejoy Nambiar

Bejoy Nambiar  

Try asking a creative mind to shoehorn his work of art in a style that suits the audience’s perception of his idea, chances are that you will be met with a response similar to Bejoy Nambiar’s. “If I had to distill [the film], then yeah... Taish is a revenge drama,” the 41-year-old filmmaker says, when asked to classify his upcoming film’s genre.

“I’m a big fan of the drama genre. I’m also a fan of human [centric] stories. I tend to gravitate towards these ideas when I write. Taish is an example. It has action, it is set in the format of a thriller, but at the core of it, the film is a human [centric] story and tackles serious issues (sic),” he adds, over phone from his Mumbai residence.

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Cut from the same cloth

Starring Pulkit Samrat, Kriti Kharbanda, Jim Sarbh, Harshvardhan Rane and Abhimanyu Singh among others, Taish is set to make a simultaneous release as a film and a six-episode web series on ZEE5 on October 29. It follows the story of two warring families and a past incident that comes to haunt them. “A cycle of violence and revenge starts and there is seemingly no tangible end,” Bejoy notes.

A still from ‘Taish’

A still from ‘Taish’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

While he shot Taish as a feature film, the idea to make a separate cut and package it as a web series became possible after lockdown. Bejoy had screened a rough cut to a test audience prior. Feedback indicated a preference to watch the content as web series, but the filmmaker only acted on it after the pandemic outbreak. “The lockdown really helped because the film’s editor [Priyank Prem Kumar] and I were able to revisit the material. We first did a three-episode version and then cut it down further to six episodes,” he says.

Netflix début
  • Bejoy, who has assisted Mani Ratnam in the past, returned to work in that capacity for his mentor’s magnum opus directorial, Ponniyin Selvan. Production on the film, which features an ensemble cast, had to be put on hold due to the pandemic outbreak, but it is now speculated that filming is likely to resume in November or December 2020.
  • While Bejoy is expected to rejoin Ponniyin Selvan crew, the filmmaker remarks that he, meanwhile, is likely to finish work on a Netflix project starring Madhuri Dixit, which is bankrolled by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions. “I’m about to direct four episodes,” he says.
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Bejoy points out that the web series is not a chopped down version of the film. “It is a different kind of edit, and in terms of viewing experience, both the film and the web series would be different,” he says, adding, “In a way, this empowers the audience to choose the format in which they want to watch Taish, which is a novel way of presenting the content.”

Known for his unique stories in David, Shaitan and the Dulquer Salmaan-starrer Solo, Bejoy has, in the past, been vocal of ‘his struggles’ to bring his vision to reality. “I find it a challenge to convince producers and actors to come on board the kind of stories I want to say. I want to work with people who let me realise my film the way I want it,” he says.

Ensemble trouble

His track record also indicates a penchant for making multi-starrer films, although, suffice to say, it is not easy.

A still from ‘Taish’

A still from ‘Taish’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“[Multi-starrers] have become an alien concept. Even a two hero subject is so difficult to cast. The idea I get from producers and directors is that it is almost a crime to write an ensemble subject. You have two or three multi-starrers in the comedy genre every year but in thrillers and drama, none at all,” says Bejoy, adding, “I think insecurity of the artiste is one main reason, but also there isn’t enough conviction shown by artistes on the story and the maker.”

But for someone who is not always dealt the hand he desires, Bejoy is not short on optimism. For instance, his desire to make a feature film with Mohanlal and Mammootty — “both together in the same film if possible”, he says — has not faded. Bejoy’s début short film, Reflections, featured Mohanlal. “Mammootty and Mohanlal are the heroes that I grew up watching. It is their cinema that inspired people like me to join films. I did go to Lal sir with a Malayalam subject but it didn’t work out. I ended up making it as a one hour short film later on, but there still is time,” he adds.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 5:17:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/it-is-tough-to-convince-producers-and-actors-to-be-a-part-of-the-stories-i-want-to-say-bejoy-nambiar/article32963322.ece

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