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Last Updated 16.07.2024 | 11:25 AM IST
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EXCLUSIVE: Soham Shah reveals it was risky to cast Shreyas Talpade, known for comedy, in his thriller, Kartam Bhugtam; also says, “I am often told Kaal and Luck were ahead of time. But it’s important to make films as per the current time”

en Bollywood News EXCLUSIVE: Soham Shah reveals it was risky to cast Shreyas Talpade, known for comedy, in his thriller, Kartam Bhugtam; also says, “I am often told Kaal and Luck were ahead of time. But it’s important to make films as per the current time”

The intriguing thriller, Kartam Bhugtam, starring Shreyas Talpade, Vijay Raaz, Madhoo and Aksha Pardasany, is all set to release on May 17. Its director Soham Shah talked exclusively with Bollywood Hungama about the film’s unique idea, unusual casting, his past works and a lot more.

EXCLUSIVE: Soham Shah reveals it was risky to cast Shreyas Talpade, known for comedy, in his thriller, Kartam Bhugtam; also says, “I am often told Kaal and Luck were ahead of time. But it’s important to make films as per the current time”

EXCLUSIVE: Soham Shah reveals it was risky to cast Shreyas Talpade, known for comedy, in his thriller, Kartam Bhugtam; also says, “I am often told Kaal and Luck were ahead of time. But it’s important to make films as per the current time”

The first thing that one notices in this film is the title. What made you go for it?
I wanted something that is very universally believed in. My film is a psychological thriller and is also very Indian and very rooted. But I wanted the story to connect across the world. Hence, I locked on Kartam Bhugtam, which means ‘What goes around, comes around’. People may not believe in God, but they do believe in karma. Its importance is growing with time.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine, Harish Sughand, who is a senior person, would use the words ‘Kartam bhugtam’ in his day-to-day lingo. Like he would tell me, ‘Soham, koi baat nahin, jo hua hai, it’s kartam bhugtam’ or ‘Uske saath jo hua hai, woh kartam bhugtam hai’. These words used to catch my attention as I had never heard them. Then I realized its significance. Hence, I caught on to its title.

The press release of the film also indicates that there’s a strong element of astrology. Do you believe in it?
Yes, I definitely do. I am also a tarot card reader. I also strongly believe in destiny. But the reason I made this film is that there’s a very thin line wherein you believe in it and you start living in it. Anything excess can be harmful to your life. So there’s a point when you need to stop blindly believing in it. Somewhere, you also need to use your instincts.

EXCLUSIVE: Soham Shah reveals it was risky to cast Shreyas Talpade, known for comedy, in his thriller, Kartam Bhugtam; also says, “I am often told Kaal and Luck were ahead of time. But it’s important to make films as per the current time”

Shreyas Talpade is usually known for his comic timing, though he’s much more than that. How did you cast him? Was he the original and only choice?
He got cast very organically. Firstly, I completely agree that people slot actors into comedy whether it’s Shreyas Talpade, Riteish Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, etc, because of the kind of work they have done. But that is unfortunate for the actors’ image as they keep on getting repeated in that zone.

I actually wanted to work with Shreyas for a long time. I had offered him a role in Luck (2009) as well. But since that role was maybe not meaty enough, he didn’t take it up. However, we have always remained friends since then. Also, Iqbal (2005) was not a comedy nor was Kauin Pravin Tambe? (2022), which was a fantastic film. People like Shreyas have a solid actor in them. It is, of course, risky to break the mould. After all, the audience might expect comedy from the actor. Nevertheless, it was a challenge for him to blend into the thriller mode and also for me to get him into that zone.

I wanted a genuine actor who looked like a simple, common man; also, I wanted someone true to his craft and would follow the script. I had the comfort zone to pitch him. And that’s how he came on board.

The unusual combo of Shreyas Talpade and Vijay Raaz also seems to be something to watch out for…
While Shreyas is a common man, Vijay Raaz’s character is very intriguing and has a powerful aura. So, both characters are like chalk and cheese. And yes, that’s indeed something to watch out for.

EXCLUSIVE: Soham Shah reveals it was risky to cast Shreyas Talpade, known for comedy, in his thriller, Kartam Bhugtam; also says, “I am often told Kaal and Luck were ahead of time. But it’s important to make films as per the current time”

How was Madhoo finalized?
She plays Vijay Raaz’s wife and is a simple, motherly character. We had a couple of options for female artists who are doing well on OTT. But I always liked to think out-of-the-box. I wanted an actor who has been a big name in the past and who deserves a fresh approach today. My casting director Gaurav Daagar and I thought a lot as to who we should bring on board who can add novel value to the film. That’s how he thought of Madhoo ma’am. We approached her and she was gracious enough to come on board.

Kartam Bhugtam and your earlier films Kaal (2005) and Luck are all drastically different from each other. But your previous works had great BGM (background score) and Kartam Bhugtam, too, seems to be on the same line, if the teaser is anything to go by. How important is good background music for you?
I call myself old-school when it comes to the BGM. I have grown up on films which have had great background music. The current trend is such that new age-directors go for lesser background music or a lot of silence. Meanwhile, I like my films to be edgy and fast-paced. So, I think the background music is very important. It creates the right atmosphere. Also, when you have made a film for theatres, BGM is like a soul. Hence, I am very much interested in this department. Salim-Sulaiman gave the background score in Kaal while Amar Mohile worked in both Luck and Kartam Bhugtam. Amar Mohile is fantastic; he’s underrated and should be celebrated more. All credit goes to him.

Was Kartam Bhugtam always meant for cinemas? Did the makers toy with the idea of taking the direct-to-digital route?
Honestly, when we started the film, we were clear that with a casting like Shreyas Talpade and Vijay Raaz, we would attempt an OTT release first. But from the last 8-10 months, the OTT platforms demand a theatrical release after which it goes on streaming. Thankfully, while filming, I knew that there was a 50% chance that I might release Kartam Bhugtam in cinemas. So, I approached it appropriately and didn’t compromise in any way. Today, I am more than happy to release it in cinemas.

EXCLUSIVE: Soham Shah reveals it was risky to cast Shreyas Talpade, known for comedy, in his thriller, Kartam Bhugtam; also says, “I am often told Kaal and Luck were ahead of time. But it’s important to make films as per the current time”

You made your first film way back in 2005. How do you think the industry has changed since then? What is the difference between pitching a film then and now?
There’s a huge difference. Earlier days were much more passion-driven. It was difficult even then but at that time, there were fewer filmmakers and producers. The film industry was smaller. So, you would be able to make your way through better. The quality of producers we used to pitch our films at that time was something else. They had brains. They were creative, instinctive and were like a one-man army. They’d listen to your story or read it and instinctively decide whether or not to make your film. This is because they were also passion-driven. Their own money was put into the film. Hence, they didn’t see it as business.

Today, the world is different. You need to break through agencies to approach an actor. By the time your story reaches the actor, six months have passed. Sometimes, your story never even reaches the actor. The producers are often not from the film background due to the corporate setup. It’s completely a business now. I don’t think the creativity and passion is not even 10% of what it used to be.

Recently, after watching Vidyut Jammwal-starrer Crakk, a lot of people were reminded of Luck. Even Kaal was one-of-its-kind. Do you feel your films were ahead of their time?
I have been hearing a lot that both Kaal and Luck were ahead of time. But it’s important to make films as per the current time (laughs)! So, let’s hope Kartam Bhugtam is one such film.

After Luck, you also shot for a film, Sher, starring Sanjay Dutt. Though we are aware that it’s got into a legal problem, is there any way it can be revived or maybe it can get a release on OTT?
The production company, Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision, closed down. It faces a lot of legal hassles over that film. Hence, I doubt if it’ll come down.

I believe the film was shot in scorching heat in Gujarat…
Yes. It was a very good action thriller. It was also a period film and had shaped up very well. Unfortunately, Sanjay Dutt also went to prison at that time.

What next? You took a long gap before Kartam Bhugtam. Can we see more of your work sooner?
(Smiles) Yes, definitely. I hope that after Kartam Bhugtam, I return at a faster pace. There are 1 or 2 projects, which I am chasing right now.

At one point, you had planned to make a biopic on Kiran Bedi. Is the project still on?
I had interacted with her. We had worked on the script as well and it is ready. But right now, I am not interested in doing a biopic anymore because we have had too many biopics. We were working on this project when the biopic trend had just started. Right now, the genre is exhausted and hence, I am not looking at it.

Also Read: 19 Years of Kaal EXCLUSIVE: Soham Shah reveals the tigers were trained extensively for three months and were flown from the USA to Thailand; also says, “Yash Johar ji told me, ‘You youngsters think you can write anything in the script and you think we’ll put in money? How will you show tigers?’”

More Pages: Kartam Bhugtam Box Office Collection


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