Vishal Pandya's last film Hate Story 3 was a sleeper box office hit. The film-maker who is quite unapologetic about being labelled for making erotic thrillers, is back with yet another movie Wajah Tum Ho, which is slated to release this Friday.
In an exclusive chat with Filmibeat, Vishal reveals why the idea for making Wajah Tum Ho stayed with him for six years, why he was never scared to explore this genre and much more.
Excerpts from the interview...
Q. Your last film Hate Story 3 was a box office hit. So, what made you take up Wajah Tum Hai instead before starting work on Hate Story 4?
A. Actually, we were planning Hate Story 4. But before that I wanted to do something different but at the same time, not steer away from the thriller zone. People assume that it is very easy to make a franchise-based film. I agree to this fact to some extent. But to make a franchise film bigger and better each time is a huge responsibility. I wanted to do something new this time. I hope Wajah Tum Ho will be a film that will become a franchise.
I had this subject with me and I told Bhushan Sir that let's not make Hate Story 4 now and allow me to make a fresh, new film. When I told him about this concept, he approved the plot within 2 minutes of the narration and that's how Wajah Tum Ho began.
Wajah Tum Ho is a very new form of a thriller with elements like technology, hacking and live murders.
Q. How did you conceive the idea for this film?
A. I had this concept of Wajah Tum Ho with me for the last six years. The idea struck me way back in 2010 when I was without any work, sitting at home watching the daily saas-bahu soaps. That time, I thought why not make a film that would cater to everyone. So, I wrote a story which centred around hacking of a TV channel as I wanted to weave a plot where I could involve everyone in it.
I narrated this idea to many producers who rejected it brushing it off as an impossible film to make. However, I am very happy today that they said 'No' way back then. Because of them, I waited for six years and finally got Bhushan Kumar to come on board for this project. He has helped me in every possible way right from providing me with the hi-tech sets to the songs.
Q. Why is the film titled Wajah Tum Ho?
A. I wanted a title which sounded like a romantic thriller. I remember listening to 'Wajah Tum Ho' song from Hate Story 3 post the trailer launch and the beautiful song stayed with me for a long time. I called up Bhushan Kumar suggesting him this new title. He too loved it and we registered it since it was so apt for our subject.
Q. You said that you stayed with this film's idea for six years. So, what was the most challenging thing for you when the film actually went on the floors?
A. The best thing about working with a good production house is that things get crystal clear right from the start. Everything was sorted. I never had to go through any kind of stress while making Hate Story 3 or Wajah Tum Ho. I have a fantastic bond with Bhushanji and I hope and pray that we continue making successful films with this collaboration.
Q. Both your films, Hate Story 3 and Wajah Tum Ho are erotic thrillers. In India, we don't see many film-makers exploring this genre. So, is this a conscious move on your part to be different from them?
A. It's nothing like that. Having a few love-making scenes or kissing scenes doesn't make a film erotic. People get labelled every time they try to make something different, so, I have been tagged as a director known for erotic thrillers. But, I am very happy with it. So, if tomorrow someone else dabbles with this genre he will have to make something better than me.
I have no issues with being labelled because I know there's nothing bad with the word 'erotic'. In fact, it creates more curiosity in the story. It happened with Hate Story 3. People thought of it as an erotic film but came out of the theatre instead praising that it had a fantastic script.
A movie doesn't become erotic just by giving it a tag. I think it's got to do more with people's thoughts.
Q. Why do you think film-makers develop a cold feet and steer clear from exploring this genre? Is it because they find it risky?
A. The biggest risk is not taking a risk. It's very important to conduct research on what the audience wants. If they don't want to see something and you make it then that's a risk. If film-makers want to test the waters by thinking that let someone else make it before them then that's more like a blame game.
Thankfully, I have had a successful collaboration with Bhushanji but that doesn't mean that this formula will always work. I have not embraced this formula. Instead I have always created a formula of making new stories. He's just a part of it.
It's not about developing cold feet. People get confused when they are unsure about what they want to make and don't know people's taste of films.
Q. Were Gurmeet Chaudhary, Sanaa Khan, Sharman Joshi and Rajniesh Duggal always your first choice for the film?
A. My initial choice was just Sharman Joshi. After writing the script I went to a couple of actors but they all rejected it. Finally, we got Gurmeet on board. I never had Sanaa in my mind while casting for the film. But now, I can tell you that she is exceptionally good in the film. I am really lucky to work with her since she is a fantastic actress.
Q. What's next in the pipeline?
A. Hate Story 4. My first draft is ready. The film will go on floors mostly by the end of February 2017. We will be shooting it abroad in London, Scotland and other places.