The latest web series to make your quarantine a little less boring is Who’s Your Daddy. The director Chirag Arora, who has won many accolades at International film festivals, talks about his latest release, his journey so far and much more.
Following are the excerpts from the interview:
I am a Delhi boy and did my first course in filmmaking from Pune, a non-commercial institute run by ex-heads of FTII. I was barely 18 when I got my first internship at ANI Delhi and kept shuttling between Delhi and Mumbai for small assisting jobs and also did making on various feature films. Later, I got my first job in Zee News network when I was not even a graduate as a Producer and eventually did anchoring too for it. It was the first Hindi Gadget show ever on any news channel launched by me.
I was 21 when I shifted my base to Mumbai and decided to enroll myself in Whistling Woods International and did major in Direction. My first short film “Gir Gaya” was selected in Cannes in 2008 and won a lot of accolades and awards all over the world. I then started assisting Raj Kumar Santoshi after passing out and learnt aspects of tight screenplays under his vision. My dream of working with Mr. Amitabh Bachchan got completed there and one day when Mr. Bachchan appreciated my way of working, I realised this is the time to do another short film. I made another short in 2011 “Kharoch” and it won audience choice award at “South Asian International film Festival New York” and many more all over the world. It put in some confidence in me on accepting the ad film offers I was getting at that time. My first advertisement was with Lowe Lintas and the the brand was “Micromax”.
As I was directing commercials, my real love for directing music videos came along and I started to get offers from big artists to direct them. I have had the opportunity to Direct names like Mr. Shankar Mahadevan, Akriti Kakar, Harshdeep Kaur, Atif Aslam, Shaan to name a few. I was trying my luck to get my feature film going and one of the projects started working out till one of the studios which signed my project shut down and it went onto a back burner.
But I kept writing various projects till “Whos Your Daddy” happened accidentally. I narrated this concept to a friend of mine who was a PR to the biggest star in the country inspired me to take it to a studio. Balaji came along and accepted the concept readily. It took us more than a year to come up with the right script for the platform.
Tell us something about your latest release – Who’s Your Daddy and Why a web show at the beginning of your career?
Who’s Your Daddy is a mashup of laughter, drama, thrill, and desires both material and emotional all with a ‘Dilli’ dialect and vibe tadka. Even if you are not from that space you will still connect with the characters, fall in love with them and have a smile stuck on your face throughout, maybe even tears.
Every filmmaker dreams to tell their story on a big screen but the digital space is quite a good medium to start your career in fictional space. It gives you the mass audience and it makes you grow as a filmmaker understanding their pulse and what they enjoy watching. I feel blessed for this opportunity and it’s a great learning for me to grow and make more cinema be it on web or on a big screen.
Which space excites you more when it comes to working – the big screen (films) or the digital space (web series)?
Both films and digital has its own challenges and they satisfy a filmmaker in their own way. A release of a film or series on a digital platform not necessarily depend on a big name or a star to sell. An interesting and engaging story in a genre drives for it to be made. While a film in today’s time to become big and more sales to happen needs a big or a sellable name for it to work on box office.
Well as a filmmaker it would be easier for me to get my scripts approved on digital platform and tell my story without worrying about a big name coming on board. But the way Feature films excite a filmmaker no medium does cause of the nostalgic value it has and the experience you give to people going to a cinema hall and sitting and watching your creation without pausing it, with full attention and appreciating your work is unparallel.
How is Ekta Kapoor to work with?
The name Ekta Kapoor is going to be a legend in coming years. The only name who has forayed into TV, Web and films and has been extremely successful in all. I have extreme respect for her and she gives a filmmaker full freedom once the script gets approved by the creative team.
Which other actor-actress you really wish to work with?
I would love to work with the actors who give their full time and energy to one project and make the project theirs. If you see in Japanese cinema, British or even in Hollywood, actors choose a project and stick to it till it completes. That’s the best approach a filmmaker needs from their actors. And in India, we see Amir Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Ranvir Singh, Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt to name a few who have made this trend popular in India too. I would love to work with them but also like to work with new talent too who have extreme potential and their untapped talent.
What are the other genres you would like to foray into?
I would love to foray into all sorts of cinema. I learnt it from Mr. Santoshi closely that a filmmaker never chooses a genre but a script chooses a filmmaker. And the zeal to make a script should be in the story and not the genre driving force for a story to be told.
Would you like to share something about your future projects?
I am attracted to north India and the characters it has which propel my creative juices to create a story around them. I am writing a few which have been set up in North India. Let’s see which one sees the light of the day.
What are you doing in the lockdown period of COVID-19?
I am talking to a lot of friends and family making sure no one is feeling depressed. I am reading mythology books by Devdutta Patnaik, they are very interesting and tells us about our history. Also, I am eating some amazing food made by wife Akriti Kakar. And last but not the least watching some amazing cinema which I have missed in the last few months while I was shooting.