The world premiere of Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped at the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star received a standing ovation from the crowd. Apart from the director, actor Rajkummar Rao was also part of the special screening. Here are a few excerpts from the Q & A with Motwane led by noted writer Varun Grover.

Vikramaditya Motwane

Vikramaditya Motwane

There are so many urban fears in the film right from Nomophobia to FOMO to loneliness to the fear of animals. After films like Lootera and Udaan, this is a completely different territory for you. What’s your personal connect that drove you to make this film?

Amit Joshi, the writer of the film, sent me a very brief email. It was like a two-page synopsis. I wrote back saying that it sounded interesting and asked him send me the screenplay. A month later, I had a 130-page screenplay in my inbox. What actually caught my attention was the fear of a rat. I myself am petrified of rats. It was a Batman moment, where if you are scared of something then you just go and attack it! I thought it was such a cool concept.

I wonder why, in a city like Mumbai, such a concept remains unexplored. The place has an abundance of high rises and its one place, which is warm and at the same time so cold. As people of this city we can be very unforgiving at times. I just thought about that and the idea just grabbed me. I kept thinking about the film. I got Hardik Mehta and Amit to work together to flesh out a screenplay and pitched it to Raj (Rajkummar Rao). I feel this film just got made because it had to. The timings fell in place. All of us were free at that time. But yes, to repeat, the key thing that got me hooked to the film was the fear of a rat.

Are you still afraid of rats?

I am petrified!!!!

How did you find the location?

This is an existing house. One of our ADs found this location. He was just walking in Dadar and saw this flat. He asked around and went inside and took stills. We were already actively looking for a location. We had to set up the place a bit but more or less it was a ready-to-shoot location. We had a choice between this and another flat. The other one was exactly in the same location, a MHADA construction, just off JVLR. That location too had the feeling of being in the city yet away from it.

This location that we shot in worked beautifully for me because it is right in the centre of the city. It was a stroke of luck that we got it. We shot 22 days for this film. But the way that we have edited the film, we could have shot it in 15 days (Laughs).

Were you inside the theatre while the screening was on?

I was too nervous to stay in so I went out and came back when the film was ending.