Interview of Vivek Agnihotri director of Hate Story starring Paoli Dam
Vivek Agnihotri is a name to reckon with much respect for his forte of creating unusual movies and tele shows. His television show Arohan on Indian Navy brought him much fame. The show was shot at the original location, something no short of revolution on the television media. His other television shows like Yeh Kahan Aa Gaya Hum and completely different stories Gubbare, Saturday Suspenses, X-Zone, Rishtey & Neha were also very popular with the audience. Vivek is also known for his distinct twitch and treatment to visual delight which he successfully did in his earlier two movies Goal and Chocolate. Recently he has become a much touted name for his forthcoming movie Hate Story. The film has already created ripples of sensation in and out of the industry with its first promo. This master story teller has gone candid in an intimate conversation……..
Hate Story is written by Vikram Bhatt. How did you lap up the offer for directing the movie?
A. This story is very bold and quite riveting. One day he called me and asked to have a look at the script. I could not hide my surprise. I asked him directly why he wanted me to go through it. He is a director of high talent and could have directed the movie himself. But Vikram had other things in mind. He wanted to raise the bar of boldness for the movie and so was looking for a matured director who could accomplish the job with a never-seen style and much boldness.
I did not jump at the offer as erotica is very tricky subject and needs a delicate treatment. By that time I had finished shooting an intellectual ‘Art House’ cinema ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’ with 570 future CEO’s of India. May be I was a little bit scary to handle erotica but then I shed my inhibition and took up the challenge. In fact I encouraged myself by my very own idea of making the movie in the same way only a French director could have approached it. From the beginning I was very much particular not to tease the audience like the cheap movies on the same subject. I gave him my piece of mind and he instantly agreed.
What did you find the most challenging as to the film’s storyline?
A. Truly speaking there were really many challenges from start to finish. Making a film on erotica has never been on my mind. So which was most challenging for me was to understand the genre that I have not been introduced before at least through a director’s lens. The next challenge was to make a list of ‘what not to do with the movie’. It was no short of a very big challenge to find out the actors who would have no inhibition to stay naked in front of the lens. And I must confess to have been lucky for finding out some gifted artists like Paoli Dam and Gulshan Devaiah who helped a lot to make the movie the exact way it should have been made.
How do you react to the fact that Hate Story has managed to get 22 lakh’s views within 8 hours on a single website?
A. I must admit that it is really overwhelming. The fact that the movie’s trailer has got lakhs views just within 24 hours has stupefied me. And you know it is a record!
As per as your claim, Hate Story is the first real erotica ever made on the Bollywood silver screen and the poster of the movie is in complete keeping with your words. Do you foresee any confrontation with the sensor board?
A. Actually you can’t make a bold movie like this if you keep in mind as to how the sensor board or moral police will react to such themes. Making an honest film requires much of boldness. If you are timid and calculative, this is not the field for you to graze on. And just to throw a direct answer to your question, I can only say that I have always been fearless and will be so in future.
Why have you signed Paoli Dam for your lead role when there are so many Bollywood actresses?
A. I knew that she is extremely talented but at our first meeting I directly asked her if she could go naked in front of camera. Paoli came with the answer ‘yes’ and I made up my mind as to who will play the lead role in my movie. Every scene with her has added an aesthetic value to this film. Generally while shooting the erotic scenes, the entire crew is sent out of the set. But here we have shoot all those scenes in front of full crew present on the set. It was akin to shooting any other scenes. And this was possible because the actors’ bold attitude.
You worked with Bipasha Basu in Goal and Tanushri Dutta in Chocolate. Now you have Paoli in your upcoming film. Are you really drawn to the Bengali beauties? If yes, then why?
A. Yes, it’s true that I am really in love with the doe-eyed Bengali girls. Their eyes exude power just like that of Ma Kali.
Do you think that Indian people have grown up matured to digest the real erotic on the silver screen? Are not you running much ahead of time on this sensitive subject?
A. Yes, I do think that Indian mass and movie industry have enough maturity to do complete justice to Hate Story. It is the land where Kamasutra was written so many years ago. Whether it is Kalidasa’s Ritusamhar or Meghdootam or Ghalib’s mesmerizing creations, you will find enough of erotica in any one of them. It is only in the recent past the government and vote-bank politics are taking upper hand to throttle freedom and creative spirit. The censor board is also playing its role by overreacting to the very ancient subject like eroticism.
Did you change any scene at the eleventh hour?
A. No. However, I needed to reschedule the shooting when Nikhil Dwivedi fell and fractured his arm.
What’ll be Vivek Agnihotri’s next signature?
A. Well, Buddha In a Traffic Jam is in the pipeline. It is really a very personal favorite. The movie artfully and intimately deals with intellectual terrorism and that too for the first time in India.