What director Vikramaditya Motwane didn’t enjoy about making Trapped ? The rat!

He debuted with a coming-of-age drama (Udaan, 2010) and followed it up with a period romance (Lootera, 2013). His latest film, Trapped, is a survival thriller, about a man locked up in a highrise without food, water or electricity. Vikramaditya Motwane sat down with t2 recently to talk about the film, rats and his superhero film!

By Karishma Upadhyay
  • Published 21.03.17
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Rajkummar Rao in Trapped

He debuted with a coming-of-age drama (Udaan, 2010) and followed it up with a period romance (Lootera, 2013). His latest film, Trapped, is a survival thriller, about a man locked up in a highrise without food, water or electricity. Vikramaditya Motwane sat down with t2 recently to talk about the film, rats and his superhero film!

Weren’t you working on two other scripts? 

I have been working on Bhavesh Joshi for almost four years and then there was something else….

AK vs SK, right?

Ya. It was around that time when I got an email from a writer called Amit Joshi. He sent a synopsis that I thought was really interesting. I was treating Trapped as a side project, but suddenly it became the main project. 

So the film went from inception to shoot floor very quickly?

Very quickly! From the time I got his email to the start of the shoot was four-five months. That’s quite unheard of. Amit sent me the screenplay within a month of the synopsis. I had already spoken to Rajkummar about this film. When I realised that AK vs SK (starring Shahid Kapoor) wasn’t happening, I had a window to make this film. Thankfully, Rajkummar also had dates available immediately. I had a crew in place already, so the only thing I had to do was find the right location. 

What made Rajkummar perfect for this film?

Everything, ya! He has a really interesting vulnerability. There’s a never-say-die attitude that he has. You never know if he is going to win or lose. He doesn’t have that uber hero kind of vibe. Of course I knew I was going to get a phenomenal performance from him. 

The other ‘character’ in your film is the apartment he’s stuck in...

I initially wanted a location that was on the outskirts of Mumbai. I wanted to be able to see the city in a distance and yet feel you are away from it. We found some that fit that brief, but they didn’t really work out. We were very lucky to find this apartment in the heart of Mumbai. I had an assistant who was walking around in Prabhadevi when he saw this empty building. Shooting in the middle of the city changed things in the script, but I think it worked. 

Trapped looks very minimalist. Was that easy to tackle? 

It was very easy. This is a character drama. If you strip off all the embellishments, all of us make character dramas. All movies are about people. This, for me, was the most exciting thing about this film. My own home films are like this… just following people around. I love that kind of vibe. I also love spaces where characters don’t talk a lot, so this was perfect for me. 

Is it true that one of the reasons why this film caught your attention was because of the rat we see in the promo?

(Laughs) Yes. I am petrified of rats! I figured this could be a good opportunity to get over my fear. Except that didn’t happen! I am maybe five per cent less scared than I used to be. I am normally a very hands-on director. I am never far away at the monitor. Instead, I prefer to stay close to the actor and give instructions. For the rat scenes, I was stuck to the monitor!

As a genre, survival drama is not very extensive. Do you have favourites?

You are right... the genre is still in a very nascent stage. I don’t think any of the films I have seen have been superlative, but they have all been interesting in their own way. I think 127 Hours (directed by Danny Boyle and starring James Franco) is my favourite among all of them. I do like Cast Away (with Tom Hanks). I thought Buried (Ryan Reynolds) was a great idea.

Lootera was almost four years ago. Was it fun to finally get back on a movie set?

Absolutely! By the time this film came along, I was a little fried that I hadn’t been able to get a movie on the floor in all this time. I was turkeying to start shooting. 

What’s happening with Bhavesh Joshi? There has been talk that the film has been shelved again...

No, no! We are 60 per cent through with the film. The moment I am done with Trapped, I am getting back to Bhavesh Joshi (starring Harshvardhan Kapoor). That film did have teething issues but it’s going really well. 

I read something about ‘Udaan 2’?

(Laughs) That’s a pipe dream. That’s an idea that I have. I always joke with Ronit (Roy) and Rajat (Barmecha) that some day I’ll go back to them 10 years later. I have a story in mind, but I don’t know if, how, when. We’ll see. 

Your Phantom Films is getting into shows for Amazon and NetFlix. Is that what you’ll be working on after Bhavesh Joshi?

Ya, I am very excited about television as a medium. It’s very interesting to see how people consume shows on Amazon and NetFlix. We are used to telling a story in one go… in about two hours. To sustain a story over a season is going to be fun. It’s an exciting and liberating form to explore.