‘My films come out of chaos, not discipline.’ ~ Sudhir Mishra
'If you follow your process properly you will find your people.' ~ Sudhir Mishra
While Devdas has been attempted by many great directors and playwrights on screen and on stage, Sudhir Mishra’s approach at looking at the three main characters of the story, is not only fresh but also an intrinsic examination of the actual premise of the classic written by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. With a brilliant and new-age cast, the film looks promising in every way. A reverse journey from Daas to Dev, Daas Dev is a political love story set in today’s time. We talk to Sudhir Mishra about his overall creative process and find out how he writes his stories. Excerpts.
I want to talk to you a little bit about your creative process. As a writer, and as a director, one can keep going on perfecting the script or the edit. When do you say that it’s done! It’s ready and now it can be made into a film, or now it can be released.
I was taught by my teachers that film is written three times. Once during the writing process, once while you’re shooting it and then on the edit table. I stop writing the film on the last day of the post production process. I love the process of writing. I thoroughly enjoy it. I have to stop writing after a while , usually it’s when the producers ask me to stop and say now they are going to release it, that I actually have to abandon it.
My grandfather used to say, ‘if you don’t have something to say, shut up.’
You write and direct your films. A lot of people talk about how they have ideas and how they want to make films. But no one really sits down to write. What is your writing process like? Is it driven by discipline or does the idea drive itself?
I don’t know about discipline, but I write all the time and you don’t only write when you write. I am writing when I am having a shower, it’s going on inside my head all the time. My films come out of chaos not discipline. Then I have to put a discipline to the chaos and concretize it. I don’t determine and decide everything, I allow the process to take its own turn. If nothing is coming I forget about it. I let it rest. Then maybe it comes back after a while. But I don’t force myself, it doesn’t work. Though I’m constantly thinking and trying. But I take my time. My grandfather used to say, ‘if you don’t have something to say, shut up’. So I shut up.
Your films also have chaotic premises. Have you ever considered writing a film that revolves around a single character’s internal turmoil?
I like a lot of characters. I like the film to have its own flow, I like layers in characters, and I like the fact that nothing is what it seems. I like the surprises life throws at you, if I can predict something I don’t like it. Every good film is a suspense film. I like my films to be surprising. A story of one person can be the same also. Daas Dev is a big body, large epic type of film. There are a lot of characters, big scale crowds, rallies. But I’d also love to do very small films, it’s not necessary for me to stick to this format. That chaos can be within one person also.
The casting in Daas Dev is very interesting. What is your casting process like? Do you have people in mind while you’re writing the film?
Honestly while you are writing you tend to have some faces in your mind. We all belong to this industry, we see and hear about the same people all the time. You have an idea when you’re writing of who can deliver what. If a face doesn’t cross your mind, you audition for that role, you look for the right person. If you follow your process properly you will find your people.
With this film we were lucky that whoever the role went to they accepted it. The girls are wonderful, both Richa and Aditi. They are modern, opinionated like the characters. Richa is like the character Paro, rooted. Aditi is quieter and reserved but she’s equally strong and stubborn. It was really nice working with them. They are really good actors. Rahul and I got along well so it became great. Everyone else just fell into place one by one. I love working with actors.