Shoojit Sircar step his foot into the industry way back in 2005 with a film called ‘Yahaan‘. But it was in 2012 when his unsual comedy ‘Vicky Donor‘ opened minds of the Indian society in a humorous manner and his arrival as a director was marked. He intrigued his fans with a political drama ‘Madras Cafe‘ and then went back to making a light hearted film ‘Piku‘. The switched back to high voltage political drama ‘Pink‘ and with his upcoming film ‘October‘ that stars Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu he is set to bring an unusual tale of love.
We chatted with him about his actors, his unreleased Amitabh Bachchan film ‘Shoebite‘ and more. Take a look at his interview:
Q. Varun Dhawan is a current gen superstar and Banita Sandhu is making her debut with your film. How was the cast selection process for you?
Shoojit Sircar: We wanted to have a fresh cast for the film. I’ve always believed in working with a new pairing. For me, Varun (Dhawan) is a debutant in my film. I keep teasing him saying this is your debut film. I’ve worked with Banita (Sandhu) before ‘Pink‘ during an ad shoot. She was casted for the ‘Doublemint‘ ad. I had her in mind. Varun was the last actor to get cast. I believe Varun is more than what he’s made out to be. He’s very different from his general image. I want certain amount of honesty and integrity for his character and I found that in him.
Q. You’ve always cast stars who show their unseen acting side through films. Do you take it as a responsibility to extract a certain kind of performance out of them?
Shoojit Sircar: In this regard, I think my theatre experience and background plays a pivotal role in making such decisions. I like making films based on slice of life. They’re relatable to real life situations and the characters are too. I get my inspiration from the surroundings and the stories I hear. That is why yu tend to see my actors as the characters they play in my films rather than the stars that they are.
Q. What is the reason behind the extensive delay in the release of Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Shoebite’ which was technically made before ‘Vicky Donor’?
Shoojit Sircar: Amitabh Bachchan took onto his social media pleading the producers to release the film. I felt very bad that he had to do this, so I requested the producers to sort out their issues. We are just technicians on a film who put in our heart, soul and sweat into the making of a film, it’s the producers call. And they should have equal enthusiasm in releasing the film for what it is. We have had talks with UTV and Fox to release the film and have our fingers crossed.
Amit ji has been trying to get the film released for sometime now. As an actor he must have felt he’s put something great into his character and he truly believes in the final product. So I think this led to his tweet.
Q. Juhi Chaturvedi has been your writers for most of your films. Would you be open working with other writer as well?
Shoojit Sircar: I had Ritesh Shah‘s script in ‘Pink‘ and so did ‘Madras Cafe’ had a bunch of other writers. But yes, Juhi and I have a certain combination and subjects where our understandings match very well. The research for story development and characterization with her is as real as I want it to be. We believe out films should translate into a poetry for the audiences. Our films are given such a shape. We try to inculcate as much realism as we can to give ourselves and the audiences a certain kind of understanding.
Q. The trailer of ‘October’ doesn’t give out the gist of the story too directly, Was it a strategy to keep the audiences confused of what the actual film is about?
Shoojit Sircar: The job of a trailer is to build curiosity among the viewers and keep them teased. I cut such trailers for all my films. To find out what the films is all about and how much it takes the trailer forward is the excitement that we focus to cater with regards to the audiences. To give a clue and yet not give a clue definitely creates anticipation. I’ve gotten responses from people who’ve told me they’re found the trailer intriguing and have understood the subject to a certain extend. They also found the characters interesting. The line in the trailer that goes ‘This is Not a Love Story but a Story about Love‘ has also done the deed.
Q. What response have you got as a director for the trailer of ‘October’?
Shoojit Sircar: Thankfully I’ve not come across a negative response yet. I’ve been garnering appreciation from most people. They’re specifically talking about the cinematic visuals in the trailer and how beautiful it is looking. The music is being applauded and Varun’s changed avatar is being talked about. It’s being called subtle, real and very touchy.
Q. What do you have to say about Deepika Padukone’s reaction to you calling Varun Dhawan his ‘Jigar Ka Tukda’?
Shoojit Sircar: I think both of them are parts of my ‘Jigar’, she’s one ‘tukda’ and he’s another.
Q. Who has been the best actor you’ve worked with so far?
Shoojit Sircar: Ii will not be able to answer it. I cannot be biased. Be it Ayushmann (Khuranna), Annu Kapoor and Dolly ji (Alhuwalia) in ‘Vicky Donor’ or Deepika (Padukone), Amitabh Bachchan, Bhaskar Ghosh and Irrfan (Khan) in ‘Piku’ or Taapse (Pannu), Kirti (Kulhari) and everyone in ‘Pink’, I believe I’ve cast them perfectly in my films so it would be difficult for me to choose. All my actors have delivered the needful.
Q. You’ve tapped into all genres in your way through your films. Is any genre which you would like to explore more extensively?
Shoojit Sircar: Humour is something that I enjoy so I would like to make more comedy films. I also like political thrillers.
Q. Which actors would we get to see if you plan to make a comedy? For example, Ayushmann was great in ‘Vicky Donor’.
Shoojit Sircar: Well even Amitabh Bachchan is quite humorous as well. Even in ‘October’ for that matter of fact, you’ll get to see funny things. Infact, Varun is hilarious as well. The script demands what kind of actors need to be cast at the end of the day.
Q. How proud did you feel after watching the pair of Varun and Banita on screen?
Shoojit Sircar: They’ve put a lot of faith in me, now it’s the audiences who need to decide how they look and how good they’ve done their parts. I’m 200% satisfied with their work. I’ve got compliments saying their chemistry looks natural.