I have been typcast as a director of comedy films – Milap Zaveri
One of the better things about the recent development of films for the Internet is that it has given a boost to the shorter format. Today, short films have everything that one could imagine only a feature version to have. From form to the scale of the film, everything is changing. More and more people associated with the feature format are opting for the shorter version for many a reasons. Even acclaimed actors are exploring the medium of shorts. And not just that, short films today also have premieres and special screenings.
Recently the premiere of the short film Raakh was held at Sunny Super Sound, Juhu. The film is a three-hander and stars Richa Chadda, Vir Das and Shaad Randhawa. Pandolin spoke with the director cum producer cum writer of the film Milap Zaveri to know about the film, his intention and the short film format at large.
What is Raakh about?
The film is about a mix of human emotions such as revenge, love and anger. It’s about all the feelings that humans have, which guide them to do things which they wouldn’t do normally.
What drove you to experiment with the short format? What are the advantages over a feature-length format?
I have been typecast as a director of comedy films. I wanted to break that image. Raakh allowed me to do something dramatic. As a writer I have written films like Kaante, Ek Villain, Shootout at Wadala etc. But as a director I haven’t had the opportunity to make such films.
The advantage of the medium is that it allowed me to show my potential as a director who can make films other than comedy. The film’s duration is twenty minutes and in those twenty minutes I took a challenge of showing that I can make dramatic films as well.
You have written all kinds of genres ranging from crime thrillers to sex comedies. Raakh is a thriller. Why did you choose this genre?
As I said, short films give you an advantage about whatever story you want to tell. There is a restriction of time but that only makes you work harder on the script and the shoot. You don’t have time to show the back stories of the characters. From the word go, you have to make people get into the world of the characters. It’s very challenging and it showcases your strengths as a director. It excited me and I couldn’t stop myself from taking that challenge.
With Raakh, you also turn a producer. How was it different from your previous roles?
It was a wonderful experience. I have turned producer with my company Write Direction Films, pun intended in the name (Laughs). It was a learning experience. After donning the shoes of a producer, I now respect my earlier producers even more. It is a demanding job. The hard work and effort that producers put in behind the scenes is commendable. I have been lucky to have a team like Sandeep Kewlani, Vardhaman Choksi, Prachi Thadani and Officer’s Choice blue who came on board and presented the film. I am also grateful to T Series for releasing Raakh as their first ever short on their YouTube channel.
Since you are the writer, director and producer of the film, how difficult or easy was the casting process? And why did you zero in on these particular actors?
I have worked with Shaad Randhawa and Veer Das before. Everyone in this film had a point to prove. Veer had a point to prove that he can do things other than comedy. Shaad had to prove that apart from playing a supporting actor he can also carry a film as a lead. And me, as I told you, had to prove that I can do dramatic films. Richa is a hallmark of great acting and talent. It was wonderful for us that she agreed to do this film because it gave us some respectability. All three were my first choices and I am lucky that I could manage to get them on board.
Having worked in shorts and features both, how do you see difference in techniques of storytelling? Are short films the future?
There is no difference at all. In both the mediums we are telling stories. One says it in a longer time while the other takes less time. There will always be room for experimentation and new ideas. Short films are doing well. Both Ahalya and Kriti did wonderfully well. I hope Raakh will also follow their footsteps. More people will get an opportunity to showcase their talents in this format and then maybe climb on to bigger platforms.