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Anant Mahadevan's inspiration is Hitchcock

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By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Monday, September 17, 2007

In this two part interview with Joginder Tuteja, Anant Mahadevan talks from nineteen to the dozen about film making and how Hitchcock inspires him when it comes to suspense thrillers. He also mentions how he has strived for bringing a difference to the way thrillers are made with a wish of being ultimately considered as one of their own by the film fraternity which still considers him as an outsider.

Over to Mahadevan in Part I of the conversation:

"The great Hitchcock had said that as a film maker, you should plan to end a suspense drama in such a manner that there cannot be any justified alternate ending", reflects Anant Mahadevan whose suspense thriller Aggar releases this Friday.

"This is why I take inspiration from the master of suspense thrillers (Hitchcock) while making a film like Aksar or Aggar", says Ananth whose third in the trilogy of thrillers is called Anjaam. He further adds, "Audiences should be intrigued by what they see. They should be able to play the story backward after watching the film and further appreciate in retrospect. Remember how the character of Bruce Willis played on after the curtains went down in 'The Sixth Sense'. Now that's the way to communicate with your audience."

"After the suspense of AksarI was further convinced that when you are making a pure suspense thriller, you don't have to always make a whodunit. Sometimes a how-done-it or a why-done-it turns out to be even more interesting! In Bollywood, we haven't made many such films in the past. Maybe Ittefaq from the 60s came close", says the learned film maker.

Talking more about Aggar he says, "Aggar is a story about relationships. It is about the big and the small things that happen in a lifetime. There are so many small moments when one tends to wonder 'what if'! What if love turns into passion? What if passion turns into betrayal? What if your biggest fear comes true? These are some of the areas I have explored in the film."

The film does come across as a tout thriller with Tusshar and Shreyas making for interesting leads. "One of the key strengths of Aggar is it's unique casting. I would have loved to repeat the hit pair of Aksar - Emraan and Dino - but then there won't have been much of surprise element left for the audience. Aksar worked because no one saw what was coming. Dino hardly seemed like a guy who was capable of ruining everyone around him", he talks fondly about his biggest directorial success till date.

"This is why I thought of Tusshar and Shreyas. For Tusshar, it is a unique film since he plays a gray character who has seen darker side of life with his world completely shattered. On the other hand you never know what's going on in the mind of Shreyas, who himself plays a psychiatrist in the film."

He doesn't forget to mention about the film's leading ladies. "Udita would be seen in a completely different role than Aksar. She has a complete makeover here not just in terms of the character she plays but also her overall look and styling. Playing a young woman who is caught in the biggest dilemma of her life, she has done a phenomenal job."

How about Sophie? "She plays a modern, sophisticated and an extremely ambitious girl who has it all. She plays an important part in the film and is responsible for twisting things in the narrative", says Anant in a controlled manner without giving any hint of the plot." His first attempt at remaking a film, Victoria No. 203, may have been a disappointment but he has traditionally tried doing things differently in his earlier films like Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar and Dil Maange More too. There are stories around how Aksarhad some of the most terrible, though healthy fights during script development.

Laughs Anant wholeheartedly, "My writers were after my life to change the interval point of the film. They wanted the protagonists (Dino and Emraan) to get into a physical fight once Emraan threatens to walk away with Udita. They couldn't agree to the fact that Dino could be shown as so calm even in such adverse situation.

On the other hand for me that was the beauty of the script. I wanted to hold on to all the 'mardaangi' of a hero till the very end, and that too without him even delivering a punch. Aksar was a film about mind games and it was best for people to fight with minds and not hands. I am glad we all settled down to the vision we had created for Aksar and it went down well with the audience too."

Well, what has been his vision for Aggar?

"As you would realize after watching the film, it's an entirely different way in which the film has been directed", he mentions while reflecting on Tusshar's dialogue delivery, "There is a particular manner in which Tusshar delivers his dialogues. I wanted him to do it differently. He was quite apprehensive to begin with since he thought he was underplaying the emotions. He also wondered if it was all being too 'thanda'."

What was his reaction when the final print was out? "He couldn't believe his own eyes when he saw the final outcome. He had come up with an entirely different pattern of speech which goes so well with his character in the film. Any other actor may have made a mess out of it but it was just a matter of Tusshar's getting enough conviction and belief in himself to achieve what turned out to be the ultimate product."

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