A film that releases, not at the nearest theatre, but on your television set. Surprised? Starting March 2 (Monday to Thursday at 10pm on Sony), get prepared for a cinematic feast for 12 weeks as four of the countrys most gifted directors bring a host of untold stories to your living rooms. In a first for Indian television, Specials@10 has directors Anurag Kashyap, Madhur Bhandarkar, Vikram Bhatt and Mahesh Manjrekar write, present and direct short films specially for the small screen audience. t2 chats up Vikram Bhatt whose Shohrat, Nafrat aur Showbiz is one of the shorts to be screened…
What is the idea behind a series like this?
The idea, of course, is very unique but it isnt something that I can take credit for. It was the channel (Sony) that came up with the concept and when they came to me with it sometime in December, I was like wow! I never gave a second thought to it. For me, nothing can get better than being able to watch a brand new film sitting at home made by some of the best directing talents that contemporary Bollywood has to offer. We hope that it is the same for the Indian television audience too.
What does a series like Specials@10 mean for an Indian television audience bred on saas-bahu soaps and reality shows?
I just hope and pray that the kind of television that we are trying to promote through Specials@10 takes off. India is the only country that is making this kind of mindless television. Look at the writing and shooting that happens on American television and compare it to what we have been seeing on our channels over the last few years and you will know. If Specials@10 is successful, we may well see the audiences preferences changing.
Do you see this as a step towards bringing back the era of telefilms of the 80s Doordarshan?
You are asking me to speculate but Im afraid Im not very good at talking about the future. I was a great fan of the telefilms that were beamed on Doordarshan every weekend. Those films had a lasting impression on us because not only did they entertain, but also carried a message. If Specials@10 is able to recreate even half of that magic or capture even a tenth of that audience, we will know that we have done a good job.
What is your short Shohrat, Nafrat aur Showbiz all about?
The underlying theme is revenge. It is about a wronged woman who seeks revenge, but loses her soul and her innocence in the process. She reaches the pinnacle of success, but yearns for her lost innocence.
Sounds like a Madhur Bhandarkar film…
(Laughs) Madhur has made too many of those, I know. But he is making something completely different for Specials@10. But my short is in no way influenced by Madhurs films and neither has my work ever influenced the kind of movies he has made.
You have written the script for Shohrat, Nafrat aur Showbiz, but not directed it…
Its been directed by Sanjay Khanna. Honestly speaking, I would have loved to direct the film, but I am too busy with Shapit (a thriller starring Udit Narayans son Aditya Narayan) and two months was too short a time for me to work around the Shapit schedule and accommodate Shohrat, Nafrat aur Showbiz. But if this season takes off, I am open to directing and writing many more such short films in the future.
Is Specials@10 the first step to a lot more of Vikram Bhatt on the small screen in future?
I really dont know. Only time will decide that. I have been someone who has never been caught up in the big-budget, big star ball game. I have worked with all kinds of actors and with all kinds of budgets. For me a medium is a medium is a medium and television is truly a fascinating medium. While I may not be comfortable with lending myself to the daily soap genre, I wouldnt really shy away from doing new and never-seen-before stuff on television.
With many directors now moving from behind the camera to in front of it, will Vikram Bhatt too take the plunge soon?
Well, I have my face plastered on the Specials@10 hoardings across the city. So thats the first step, right? (laughs). Acting may happen or it may not. Im a mad guy, I can do anything!