Milind, Phoonk had black magic as it's USP and it was one of the major reasons why it struck a chord with the audience because it was something new being offered. In Phoonk 2, is the same theme of black magic being explored or do we see something different here?
There is absolutely no black magic element in Phoonk 2. Let me tell you how the story moves ahead here. See, this family headed by Sudeep is happy all over again after the story came to a positive ending in Phoonk. However, this woman (Ashwini) who was killed now returns as a ghost and totally terrorises this family. The kind of fear which sets in is far more complex this time around.
And how have you projected this fear?
See, none of us has ever seen a ghost. We don't quite know what it is capable of doing. So the basic context of Phoonk 2 is that if a ghost exists then there are so many evil things that it can do which are totally unimaginable to us and unexplored. Personally even I haven't seen a ghost. Moreover, I don't even believe in ghosts. Or for that matter God. So the question is - 'If anything supernatural actually exists, then how badly can it terrorise? Can you even expect what is going to come your way? Do you know what is going to happen next? Can you plan anything at all? Can you escape something which is so dangerously and cunningly laid out in front of you?' You are rendered helpless.
Before the release of Shaapit, Vikram Bhatt had apparently challenged the entire theory around 'scaring people in an empty theatre'. He had said that the real challenge lied for someone to be scared while sitting with hundreds of other people. What do you have to say?
Honestly, I haven't read any such statement. However, I totally subscribe to the theory that the real test for a person is to sit alone in a horror movie. Otherwise typically in a packed auditorium when a scary film starts, people start giving those false cry. They do that in order to control the fear within them. However, watching a movie alone is a different experience altogether. A person has to be really brave.
Personally, for you too it must have been a brave decision to helm Phoonk 2, right? After all there are many out there who would be expecting something far better than Phoonk here.
It was never a challenge thrown to me by anyone, including Ramu, to make the sequel better and prove anything to the world. In any case, Phoonk 2 is a horror film while Phoonk was definitely not. It was mainly a scary film that projected the state of mind of worried parents who were going through unpleasant incidents in their lives. What had truly happened was that when Phoonk became a hit, a couple of writers including me got the structure of Phoonk 2 in place. Since I had a certain conviction around the story, Ramu told me that I was the best person to direct it as well. Neither did he throw me a challenge now was I expecting one from him. The point is that since he had so much confidence in me, I saw no reason why I should not have any confidence in myself.
Now that the film is releasing today, how confident are you?
Well, I am confident for sure. The film is just 1 hour and 50 minutes. We have tried to keep it slick and to the point. Ramu has seen the film and loved it. That's reassuring as well.
But then you do arrive along with Paathshaala. Don't you see any competition there?
I don't know much about this competition business yaar. May be after I have done 2-3 films, I would truly get an idea of what really is competition. Since this is my first film, I am not even thinking about the other film. I totally believe though that every film finds its own audience if it deserves so. We all know that Lagaan and Gadar released on the same day and still they were huge. Now how do you explain that? No, I am not trying to compare my film with these classics but the fact is that if a film is good, it will do well. In any case I have been so busy till yesterday as well that I haven't had time to think about competition. And honestly, I don't care either!