Randeep Hooda was tailor-made for this role – Syed Ahmad Afzal
While his debut film Youngistaan went beyond conventions, Syed Ahmad Afzal has further expanded his horizons with his upcoming film Laal Rang. A B.Tech in mechanical engineering, Ahmad relinquished his career in the field of engineering to pursue his love for films. His latest film highlights a heinous crime, something that hasn’t been explored before in Hindi cinema. Syed tells us more about the film, its genesis and the objective that it aims to achieve.
How was the concept for Laal Rang conceived?
The co-writer, Pankaj Matta is from Karnal and has witnessed this event in reality. When he told me about it, I felt that we needed to make a film regarding this subject. Moreover, I don’t think that this concept has been dealt with on Indian screens ever before. We are dealing with one of the most heinous of crimes.
How did you’ll gather the information for the film?
We actually did a lot of research. We went to different blood banks and spoke to a lot of people over there. Many of them were hesitant to talk to us and they were more hesitant to talk on camera. So we just had a secret chat with them and ensured them that their names won’t be released. We interviewed them to get an idea about what conspired and lead to this event in 2002.
Is there a story behind the title of the film?
The color of blood is red. In the film we are trying to show what happens in relationships and how those relationships are connected to each other through blood. Be it your family blood or be it blood that you have donated to others through transfusion and hence you are connected to them through blood.
The film is said to have a lot of black humor. How and why has it been integrated in this story?
Yes, there is a lot of black humor (in the film) and that is a very inherent thing in that part of India. As you go towards the North, you will see that there is a lot of black humor in their normal daily conversations. But we haven’t used any explicit or abusive language. It is dark, but at the same time we have avoided using any abuses because we wanted to concentrate more on the subject rather than draw attention through the explicit language.
Was Randeep Hooda your initial choice for the movie? How did you’ll finalise the rest of the cast?
Yes, he was. As for the other actors, we followed the set procedure that included screen tests and auditions etc. We were very specific about the cast. Kunal Shah has done the casting and he did a fabulous job. He was also responsible for setting up and designing the project with Lovely Singh.
How did you help Randeep get into the skin of his character?
Randeep doesn’t need any training. He is a superb actor and was tailor-made for this role. Since he is from Haryana and speaks the language, he had a tremendous command over the language and the dialect. He is absolutely convincing in his role.
Your film first dealt with social issues and so does your second. Is it a genre that you’re comfortable with?
I will eventually explore all the genres that are there. In the case of Youngistaan and Laal Rang, it’s just a coincidence, but there is a vast difference the the films. Laal Rang is about relationships and it’s a more engaging film. The film is not preachy at all. There are many layers to the film and somewhere in the layers is the message, which will be evident once you see the film.
Considering the premise of the film, do you foresee any issues with the Censor board?
I don’t think that there will be any issues with the Censor as this is a film with a social message. And that aspect will be taken into consideration. Through this film, we are telling the society that a crime like this is happening in our country.
What message would you want the audience to take home from this movie?
According to me, the message is for the audience to take. It’s upon each individual to have their own perspective about the film and what they can extract out of it. Plus, if I can manage to convey my idea to the audience, I’ve succeeded, otherwise I’ve failed.
How would you sum up the entire experience of working on this film?
It was amazing. I had a dream team and there was so much positivity in everyone. Even the smallest of the actors were fabulous and that is why we have come up with 16 posters in which each character has their solo poster.
Could you shed some light on your next project?
I am going to start something in October but will talk about it when the time comes.
-Transcribed by Aarti Sukhija