Amol Parashar in Conversation with Anand Tiwari At India Film Project 2017
Anand Tiwari, creator of YRF web series Bang Baaja Baraat and a prominent actor whose films span from The President is Coming to Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, along with TVF’s Tripling star Amol Parashar, took the stage at India Film Project this year to talk about comedy and where to draw the line, his career, the current trends of content creators and his upcoming directorial debut. Have a read.
You have worked in both, offbeat and mainstream cinema with films like Udaan, The President is Coming and Detective Byomkesh Bakshy. How has the experience been with both these different avenues of filmmaking?
I find both of them the same. If you look at Motwane today, he’s making India’s biggest and the first series for Netflix and YRF has already made a web series. I think today, it depends on how much money are you spending on the content that defines whether its an indie or a commercial film. But there is no difference really. Sensibility wise, there is a certain kind of content made for everybody. Earlier they used to say that ‘multiplex cinema’ is niche cinema. Yet today, most of the revenue comes from multiplexes. I think the line is quite blurred now, there is no divide. As an actor, I enjoy the characters that I am asked to play; as a writer, I am trying to write for the widest possible audience.
You have been an actor, a writer. Now you are venturing into direction with your debut film. Tell us a bit about it.
I always wanted to tell stories; that’s why I first became an actor. I have no set goals as an actor; I try to enjoy as much as possible. The real self goal is to be a filmmaker. To make a number of films before I die. As an actor I can only say the story of the writer and director. But as a director I can engage with the audience with my own stories.
Could you tell us a little about the film?
It’s called Love Per Square Foot. It’s produced by Ronnie Screwvala with his new banner RSVP. It should release on April 20th, 2018. It’s a film about two people desperately seeking a house in Mumbai and love becomes the hurdle. It deals with new age couples relationship problems, something that we all go through.
What is your take on Indians pushing the envelope with content today?
The more we evolve as a global society, the more we get exposed to the Narcos’ and Bojacks of the world, the more we will be open to different kinds of content. Black humor will eventually find its way. Till now we were a country where we had to be a danceical; we had to have song and dance sequences, an item number. That is completely changing. Some films from the biggest studios don’t have a song and dance sequences. Not that it is bad: Hollywood has go back to musicals with Damien Chazelle and La La Land. I feel we should have all kinds of options.
Tell us 5 artists that you admire and would like to collaborate with.
One actor who constantly inspires me and who I work often with is Nasseruddin Shah. I have re-learnt everything about acting since I’ve known him, understood storytelling even more. Raju Hirani is someone I would love to work with as a filmmaker. There is AR Rahman with whom I would like to collaborate with at some point. Zakir Hussain I would love to collaborate with in a live space, probably in theatre for a play. Finally SS Rajamouli is someone whom I am bowled over with. He is showing us a scale in an Indian context that we have never seen. He has a keen sense of art and design which makes me want to work with him even more!
Last question: What’s happening with Byomkesh 2, Go Goa Gone 2 and the next season of Bang Baaja Baraat?
On all fronts, the producers are the right people to ask! Byomkesh 2 I don’t really know since Dibakar is currently working on a love story. Once he is done with it I don’t know if he will revive Byomkesh, but that was always the plan. With Go Goa Gone 2 I have heard probably as much as you have in the news. I keep sending Raj and D.K. my nude selfies to show them how much I am in shape! As far as Bang Baaja Baraat Season 2 is concerned, the delay has been from my end. I have been caught up with the film. But hopefully with us having free schedules soon and Ali (Fazal) becoming an international star, we’ll soon make another season.