Phantom of his craft
Vikramaditya Motwane indulged in a light-hearted chatter about his forthcoming film Trapped, his co-venture Phantom and life in parts. By Unnati Joshi
Director of the award-winning Udaan and the lyrical Lootera, Vikramaditya Motwane got recognised and hailed for his slim-budgeted indie film. His last commercial film, Lootera, starring Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha, was a visual treat but didn’t do well on box-office. After the gap of four years, the director is back with Trapped. And in it, he is still committed to his craft than keeping it safe.
“I got the story from Amit Joshi. He wrote me an e-mail with the story and I thought it was spectacular and I should make the film on it. I was in the middle of other things but I developed it on the side and when everything was ready, I jumped for it. This one luckily fell in my lap and I’m looking for more such projects.
“I wanted to give as much as possible in the trailer without kind of revealing the last part. You want to tease the audience. I don’t believe in holding back too much in the trailer but you can’t say everything. As long as it’s enough for them to come and watch it,” he told us.
The trailer of Trapped has got good reviews. The film, which tracks the story of a person trapped in his high-rise apartment in Mumbai, got a standing ovation at the Mumbai Film Festival. About the fiasco that his last directorial venture Lootera was, he said, “I was obviously disappointed with the response that Lootera got. I always wished it could make more money. For the kind of film that we were making, I was actually extremely surprised with the box office. I think I could have made a better film and told a better story,” he shared.
Vikram also mentioned that Trapped is a metaphor for urban anonymity and insecurity. “We are so dependent on conveniences that when cut-off, we are trapped in our own incapability. I can speak for Mumbai, I can’t speak for Delhi. The city is actually dehumanising us, in the sense, we are becoming more and more insular. Not only are we consuming so much of our stuff on devices but we are also getting more insular as far as our interaction with the city is concerned. There is very little walking that we do, very little interaction that we make. It’s very less and you have the sense that the city doesn’t belong to you anymore. We are living in our own nuclear world. As citizens we should take more responsibility.
“I am not trying to make any social commentary as such. I didn’t set out to make a comment on isolation. It’s not really about isolation. It’s about a guy stuck in an apartment. It’s scary and is something which can happen to anyone. Home is a comfort zone for all of us and that’s why it’s a bit scary too,” he explained.
For Vikram, Rajkummar Rao was the first choice. “When this idea came to me, I discussed it with Rajkummar and he was very excited. I thought he was perfect. He is someone who has the right amount of vulnerability, fight and that kind of quality. Also because he is an actor who is so good that you have no problem watching him on screen alone for hours. I really liked him and wanted to cast him,” he said.
About the challenges he revealed, “The challenges were more about the rhythm of the film and making sure that it stayed in a way that you don’t get tired with the film that you are making. It was about keeping it at a thriller’s pace but at the same time keeping it realistic about a guy who is stuck inside. Making it too fast, the people don’t feel the film and making it too slow; people say why am I watching this film? You have to keep the balance.”
Vikram considers his mother an inspiration behind his success as a filmmaker. “My parents got divorced when I was ten and my mother started working as a production manager at an ad film agency. I used to visit her at work with my younger sister and she used to get really bored sitting there and watching these people do the same thing over and over again. It was when my mother started producing a talk show for television in 1994, called Teen Talk, that she got me and a bunch of my friends to do research and start helping in production. We started working and that’s when it got really exciting. That was when I realised that when you are working within the industry, the system is much more exciting. That’s how it all started. After that I started assisting directors. Then Sanjay Leela Bhansali happened. My mom inspired me to join the film industry,” he told us.
About the changing dynamics of the film industry, he added, “The only thing that separates commercial Hindi films are the actors. The stories have all become the same, they are trying to make interesting stories and I would love to make a commercial film.”
When quizzed about team Phantom, he said, “We are working very closely with each other. We have always given each other enough respect to chase our passion and we bounce ideas and scripts to each other. This process only makes things better. So we work individually with the director to get the script in place and then bounce the other three guys and start working.”
Any movie takeaways? The director smirked and said, “Pav bhaji. When you will see the film, you will understand.”
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