Happily, meeting him in the flesh, confirms that really is the case. His career is fluctuating for better. It's good because he is one of the rare celebrities who wants his hands and feet spread all over the different genre of films that directors are venturing into. So does that tag him as a risk taker? Yes, it does. Because taking risks is safer than avoiding it. We chat with the talented Talpade who is filming somewhere in the foothills of the Himalayas for his next undisclosed film. Is that spooky or scary, we don't know! What we do know is that his latest release Click may just scare you, if not spook you out, or who knows you may go home with - a smile? You never know when you're clicked!
Do you define Click as a supernatural thriller or a horror flick?
I wouldn't call it any of these. I'd like to term it as a romantic horror. The crux of the film is its romance and horror is the format what we've chose to tell the story.
Was Sadaa terrified to share screen space with you or horrified?
(Laughs) Well, she was very excited to be working with me. She is a very hard working girl and desperately wants to make her mark in Hindi language film. But I guess, she must be hard working down South too and that shows in Click. A dedicated actress, she has no hang-up's, no tantrums, no ego, nothing. Simple to the core is Sadaa.
Does photography actually interest you?
(Laughs) Looks like a theme oriented interview. I do like photography. In fact, the first time when I started to develop the passion of photography is when I was shooting for Dor with Nagesh Kukunoor.
Was there a moment in your life when a photograph couldn't let you sleep? Meaning, was it nightmarish?
When we started shooting, there was a time Sangeeth Sivan showed me some pictures related to the context of the film. I asked him whether such a thing exists. I mean, I asked him whether there are really such photographs which spook you out. Some of the pictures were spooky. From then on, I started believing in such photographs. Negatives can also be spooky sometimes. So whenever I look at any picture now, I try to find if there is anything hidden inside the image. You never know!
A film like this has a very selective audience. Are we still lacking in accepting cinema like Click?
The number of horror films we have been making in Indian cinema is growing by leaps and bounds. It is at least better than what we were making ten years back. The genre, especially when it taps into horror, is not really explored into or worked into too much. So you're right in that regards but to say that we aren't accepting it is a bit misleading. Films like Phoonk, 1920 and 13B are examples that horror films are working. The best example is that of Paranormal Activity in Hollywood. Comedy and romance will keep on existing but then the audiences need a change, and that's when horror films come handy.
How important is a timing of a film like Click when it comes to its release date? We hear that Hide & Seek has moved into March 12 only because MNIK was releasing.
Good films will work eventually. It doesn't matter what film is next to it. The notion that a long weekend is coming, etc doesn't make much commercial sense. Even if there is a holiday for a month, a film will not work. A long time back we released Iqbal with No Entry. Yes, No Entry was a bigger film than Iqbal but both worked well at the box office. The call of release dates is primarily taken by the producer and the director. So at the end of the day it all boils down to their mental strategies, not ours.
Any spooky incidents you can recall while filming for Click?
Yes. We played a prank on Sadaa in Mauritius. There were lots of windows in the backdrop where we were shooting and Sadaa was posing for pictures along with our cinematographer. I sneaked in from the back side and decided to stand near one of the windows, right behind Sadaa. Our cinematographer Mr Ramji asked Sadaa to turn back as the lighting was better. The moment she turned, I scared her. But the place where we were shooting in Mauritius was itself very spooky. There was some kind of a mystery to it, I'm sure.
Recall the first horror film you were a witness to…
I think it had to be from Ramsay Brothers. It was Veerana or Haveli. After that it was Nightmare On The Elm Street. We were at a friend's place where we saw the film on the VHS by shutting all the lights and drawing all the curtains. It was scary.
Sangeeth Sivan is least tapped into. Do you think he should be making more cinema?
Yes. Sangeeth Sivan has made some good comedy films and suddenly he has moved to a horror film. But not many know that Sangeeth's forte is thriller and horror flicks. You need that kind of a psyche to understand what sound and camera angle will look good to make such kind of a film, and Sivan has that niche. It's not everyone's cup of tea. It's good to work with a guy who is equally comfortable in comedy and yet switch to horror or thrillers. Having said that, Sangeeth Sivan needs to make lots more films than what he actually is at the moment.
How would you market a film like Click? Is there any scope as far as marketing goes?
I wouldn't market Click in a controversial way. I'd like to stay away from controversies, even though I might have gone down to that path for promoting Click. I'd rather want people to appreciate the genre, the making and the execution more than marketing. But today when we are into the world of marketing where stars are coming up with innovative ways to market their film, Click's genre is the best marketing ever. Horror works.
So horror is the USP of Click?
It's a mixture of many. Firstly, as I said earlier, it's a romantic horror. Then it's Sangeeth Sivan and the way we've treated the film as a whole, especially the climax.
Seldom has an actor challenged himself so gravely in such a wild variety of roles, add to this his stage triumphs in school and college and we're clearly talking about a very special performer, indeed: Shreyas Talpade, and even if he is blissfully unaware of his movie-making highs and lows, his adoring fans aren't. He may have put the odd toe-tapping foot right since he burst on the scene strutting his stuff in Iqbal, but he's always welcomed back by his fans with more diverse roles, be it Om Shanti Om, Golmaal Returns or the recent Click. That's because Shreyas Talpade has a reputation in the business for being a true gentleman and one of the nicest stars around.