‘Fairy Folk’ was screened at the prestigious Sydney Film Festival! How does it feel?
It feels absolutely wonderful to take our film and showcase it in front of the world. And it’s an honour to be selected to be screened at this festival. So I am thrilled on both counts.
Tell us something about the film.
The film has a bit of the bizarre thrown into the mundane, and explores the reaction of the two. A genderless creature enters the lives of a couple in Mumbai, and the film explores how it transforms them and the relationships around them. It’s a fascinating take on love, gender, and desire created by this novel device. It’s funny, it’s emotional, and it’s crazy.
This is the first feature film where you will be working with your wife Rasika. How would you describe her as a co-star?
Rasika is a wonderful actor. It’s very easy to work with her as a co-actor as she is both very competent and very giving. There’s a lot of trust and respect we have for one another while we’re working with each other, so that makes things easy and comfortable.
Did you face a difference of opinion with Rasika on the set? If yes, how did you tackle it?
Differences of opinions are more often between actor and director; rarely are they (and really never should be) between actors. We never had a problem with this at all. Especially so in this film, because it was shot in an improvisational style. There was no written dialogue and the actors created them as they went along. So it was even more important to be in the moment and react to the circumstances and one’s co-actors, no matter what they did. In such a format, it’s hard to have a difference of opinion with one’s co-actors. You have to trust each other and go with the flow.
The film has been shot in a very different way. How was your experience?
I truly enjoyed this improvisational style of filming. Although I have done a lot of improv theatre over the years, it was still a little hard initially to get used to this style of working. But once in, it was a wonderful experience for the actors. It felt very much like theatre – there were long takes (one as long as 25 mins!), no marks to hit, and we were free to move around in the space or even leave the frame if we wanted to. Basically, we just had to be true to a moment, and react accordingly. Truly amazing.
What was the scene on the set with other co-stars like? Did you guys have fun shooting?
It was great fun to work this way. As I mentioned, although it did take a little time to get used to this style of filmmaking, it was a lot of fun once we got into our stride. One had to simply trust one’s co-actors a lot more, and let the scene evolve organically. There were so many unplanned things that came up in scenes that surprised us all. I really wish more projects were made this way.
One performance of Rasika in a film or series that you think was extraordinary…
It would have to be between ‘Hamid’, ‘Manto’ and ‘Qissa’.
I will jump into a web series right after this that is an adaptation of an American show. ‘Sunflower Season 2’ follows after that. There’s also ‘Rana Naidu’, ‘Dhoom Dhaam’, ‘Made in Heaven Season 2’ that should all hopefully release later this year. And ‘Fairy Folk’, of course!