” Rashmi Rocket ‘helped me figure out what kind of cinema I want to do’ ‘: filmmaker Akarsh Khurana



Filmmaker Akarsh Khurana, who recently directed Taapsee Pannu star “Rashmi Rocket” has now breathed new life into a play called “The Interview”, originally directed by him in 2010, now made into a TV movie for Zee Theater titled ‘The Job’.

Over the years, Akarsh, son of veteran actor Akash Khurana, has donned several hats in the entertainment industry. Some of his notable works include “TVF Tripling” (as screenwriter), “Mismatched” (as director), “Karwaan” (as screenwriter and director).

In a candid conversation with The Free Press Journal, Akarsh reveals making a TV movie, making a movie from today, and more.

Excerpts from the interview:

How did you come on board for “The Job”?

“The Job” is based on a play called “The Interview” written by Siddharth Kumar, which was produced by my company and directed by me in 2010. It has been performed on stage for over seven years and has made over 120 shows in 26 cities. So technically it was one of our most popular pieces, and then we decided to make a TV out of it and here we are.

How was your experience as a director of a television series?

Teleplay itself is a very interesting and hybrid format. It is not a play and it is not a movie. It’s a bit of a mix of the two. You direct a play using cinematic techniques and it was certainly very difficult but also an exciting experience. We have bridged the gap between the two formats and managed to tell a compelling story. It was different from just recording a story as it needed to be improved and shot in a way that involved and attracted the audience. As a creative team, this was something we jumped on and the result was very rewarding.

Do you remember your first job?

Yes of course! In fact, I started an internship during the summer in a company when I was in university and it went pretty well. I started working even before I finished my graduate studies. I stayed in the corporate space for over three years, before giving it up because I wanted to do something more creative.

You’ve donned several hats over the years – which one is your favorite?

My least favorite is acting because I don’t really like playing the part. I do it sometimes, at the request of friends under duress. I like to write a lot, I couldn’t do too much writing because of the time it takes to be born. I am also happy to realize whether it is for the stage or for a series or for a film. I really love working with actors so I would say directing is my favorite.

How is it that you have only made three feature films in fifteen years?

I started as a screenwriter, I became an assistant director and then I went back to writing. You do not join the industry and immediately become a director. It takes time to prove your worth. About six years ago I made a TV movie for Anurag Basu called “Real FM”, then I made four series and three feature films, which is decent work. I have been busy for the past six years since becoming an independent director. So, I don’t think you can jump in the deep end just yet. I always wanted to be a writer and then I worked for a position where I was considered qualified enough to direct something on my own.

How would you describe the cinema scene today?

I was assistant director on a film where the processes were not yet digital. And now we’re shooting in a digital format and technically that has made it a lot easier. In terms of technology, it is now easier to shoot, edit and color correct films. Back when I started, processes were taking longer and more complicated because there were so many steps that had to be taken before reaching the desired level of perfection. Making movies is certainly more convenient now and the constant technological revolutions are helping to make the process smoother, faster and more efficient. I think cinema is getting a little less complex in terms of technique.

Do screenwriters make better directors?

I think what really matters is what kind of director you want to be. Directing is a whole new ball game, whatever your knowledge and script skills as a writer. There are so many variables you can’t control and sometimes it’s hard for people to switch from writing to output and giving their words a physical vision. Directing is hard work and the way you do it is a very subjective journey. There is no hard and fast rule.

After the success of ‘Rashmi Rocket’, do you feel any pressure to move forward?

No, I won’t let any pressure get to me. I’m really happy and happy that ‘Rashmi Rocket’ performed well and that a lot of people saw it and liked it. I’m very happy with this level of acceptance because the film was in a slightly different genre from my previous work. But I don’t feel any pressure for the future. Instead, I feel relieved that it worked out well and it made me a little more confident to tell stories in my own voice, fight a little harder and longer to stay true to my beliefs. I think ‘Rashmi Rocket’ helped me figure out what kind of cinema I really want to do.

When are we going to see you make your next feature film?

There are a few scripts floating around that I want to do but a lot depends on the variables, in terms of timelines and actor availability.

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Posted on: Monday December 13, 2021, 11:03 am IST



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