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Last Updated 15.10.2019 | 12:11 PM IST



“Maybe after you watch Acid Factory the fifth time, it’ll get predictable” – Suparn Verma

The only music he listens to is film soundtracks. He is a big fan of collector’s item and is a proud owner of the limited edition Heath ‘Joker’ Ledger. He has all of Kill Bill, Lord of the Rings, E.T., Homer Simpson, Star Wars, etc. He loves to collect posters too. Then he jokes, “God has given me such a face that I only love black humour.” He insists that his films will have strong women and stylish men. He cannot make a simple film but prefers to make a twisted tale instead. The new breed is here to stay and so is writer and director Suparn Verma. He is a handful during an interview. Transcribing him is even more so. If you’ve ever seen or heard an interview with him, you know how fast he talks, how many thoughts fit into a single sentence without pause, and how he says the ‘f-word’ and ‘here’s a thing’ in most of his answers. Suparn hears me out, then politely set me straight, positioning violence as one of cinema’s key aesthetics and reeling off a list of admired forebears and contemporaries who, like him, trafficked in blood and guts because both they and the audience ‘got a kick out of it.’ UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent meets the rubber faced man with a fan-boy attitude, bad-boy grin and machine-gun giggle. Trying to cram a chat with Suparn into a coherent story is a fool’s errand. So here’s our conversation, almost word for word, pretty much as it happened on a sunny afternoon at the BR Studios over four glasses of lemonade.

Journey from a writer to a director:
“It is as tough to get your second film as it is to get your first film. I had no industry connections nor was I from a film school and I had not assisted anybody. When I joined rediff in 1996, I was the ninth employee of the company. I had no degree in journalism and didn’t even know how to put on a computer. Six years down the line when I quit rediff, I had created an entire chat property and over 1,500 chat events. I set up my entire radio studio and started the rediff radio out there. I was a chat jockey doing film reviews and stories. I was also involved into marketing and sponsorship. I learned the job. Similarly, when I started writing scripts, Hansal Mehta who used to read reviews, offered me Chhal as a writer. I had a commercial hit with Qayamat which was a remake of The Rock and that’s how I got to know Ajay Devgn who recommended me to Rohit Shetty and that’s how Zameen happened. I didn’t learn writing but used to read a lot of screenplays. I had success as a script writer but wasn’t satisfied enough. I wanted to portray my own stories and that’s how my first directorial debut Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena happened.”

I had no industry connections nor was I from a film school and I had not assisted anybody

Debacle and confidence:
“With Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena, I tried to show off a lot. But as a director, technically, I think it is Fardeen’s best ever performance, Kay Kay did something new, Feroz Khan came back to big screen after eighteen years to work with an outside director and launched Koena Mitra too. I set my foot in the industry as a technical director. The debacle screws you up mentally. As a director, if you have confidence, the producer is ready to put money in you, the actors do exactly what you say. The first year after Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena, I set up my own production company called Dark Power entertainment.”

Temptation and Acid Factory:
“I got a lot of offers from production houses and producers to make those Rs. five to six crore budget films. At the time when I was just a film old, it was a big temptation to resist. Sometimes there are big banners offering you to make films. That’s the time I came in touch with Sanjay Gupta. He loved the promo of Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena and we connected. He met up with me towards the end of Shoot Out At Lokhandwala. Then we both began writing Acid Factory. The writing process took one year because I wanted to be absolutely sure on a script level that it should work. I wrote fifty five drafts of Acid Factory along with Sanjay. We had a story idea given to us by some writer. Once I was set, I took six months on my pre-production. We shot the entire film in fifty days.”

Sanjay Gupta loved the promo of Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena and we connected

Who first? Producer or Actor:
“Whether I get a producer on board first or actors, it doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day, it’s like what came first? The chicken or the egg. It’s going to lead to a film getting made. Either way it’s a win-win situation for me as a director. Honestly speaking, roping in a producer for your film before you rope in the actors is a far more beneficial approach as compared to going solo and you are looking to produce the film yourself.”

Mixed Bag:
Acid Factory is gritty and highly stylish. I see all kinds of cinema. I am not a genre based viewer. Similarly, I am not a genre specific filmmaker either. I have some story ideas for a love story and a rom-com, but horror is something I really want to do. At the same time, I will keep on doing action films. I want to have a mixed bag.”

Old is Gold:
“I love Danny sir. He is a legend. There are couple of actors I’d like to work with. I’ve worked with Feroz Khan and Danny Denzongpa. Now I want to work with Amitabh Bachchan, with Rishi Kapoor, and if God gives me a chance, I want to work with Shashi Kapoor. I’ve heard a story that Vishal Bhardwaj wanted to cast Shashi Kapoor in the role of Abbaji which Pankaj Kapur has originally played. We are a generation who did not have as much television as we have today. So we come from that solo movie culture. For us, these actors are like demi-Gods. Today we have pop icons. Each film of mine will be an endeavour to work with at least one of them.”

Fan-boy experience:
“I am on my own set directing actors like Dia Mirza, Fardeen Khan, Irrfan, etc. They are looking at you and you’re making them do what you want. There is a split personality of me which is standing aloof right next to me observing all this as a fan does. My first interview as a journalist was of Shekhar Kapur during Bandit Queen. I waited for two hours on Juhu Beach behind his office and the kind of frustration I felt in July 1996 was that I wanted to be a filmmaker. I said, ‘Why the f*** am I asking questions. I don’t want to be the one asking them. I want to be the one making such films.’ I never went to Juhu Beach again till Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena released. My entire journey in film business is of a fan-boy.”

Favourite films:
“I love Danny Denzongpa’s first film Mere Apne. It was Meena Kumari’s last film too. She is my screen goddess. I liked Aftab a lot in Kasoor. I loved Dia Mirza in a very obscure film she did where she plays a victim of sexual molestation. She is sitting on a psychiatrists chair narrating the entire incident. It is one of the best performances by any actress I’ve seen. I don’t know the name of the film. Manoj’s best is a toss for me between Satya, Road and Shool. I still remember his laughter in Aks. Raghavan’s character is mind blowing. I’m a big fan of Manoj. I call Irrfan a super star after he did Maqbool. I loved Fardeen in Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena. As I say, it’s his best role. I also love him in Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega because there is this softness to his role. His Khushi was very earnest. Lastly, Dino Morea’s best I should say comes out in Acid Factory. He has surpassed all his previous roles.”

Sanjay Dutt:
Sanjay Dutt was a part of Acid Factory and had to do Irrfan’s role in the film. But the rift between Sanjay Gupta and Sanju happened and we parted ways. Dutt saab is a rock star. I’ve interviewed him as a journalist. I love Sanjay Gupta too. I was a big fan of Aatish which was one of Sanjay Dutt’s best roles. It’s between two brothers and it’s none of my f****** business. I don’t have any right to comment on their relationship. If Irrfan has replaced Sanjay Dutt, I did not have to compromise on the quality of the character.”

Sanjay Dutt was a part of Acid Factory and had to do Irrfan’s role in the film

Acid Factory‘s predictability:
“May be after you watch Acid Factory the fifth time, it’ll get predictable. The thriller is quite twisted. We have multiple narratives; we have games being played by the characters within the film. So it is at times, not about predicting who’s going to do what rather at times, be a spectator and are watching at each other. I’m putting you in a spectator’s seat and giving you information, I’m making you predict and guess at the same time. It’s a one hour forty five minute film and it goes past so fast that you don’t have time to think nor predict.”

More Pages: Acid Factory Box Office Collection , Acid Factory Movie Review

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