Being a pro at making horror flicks, he opened up to us in a short telecom as he spoke about his film, and his expectations, plus why he can never make a romantic film!
1920: Evil Returns is kind of a pseudo-sequel to the much successful 1920. What helped you envision the plot from such a different angle such that there’s no resemblance with the original?
Well I really don’t know exactly what a pseudo sequel means. But yes, the two films are completely different and they have no connections with each other whatsoever. But this is how films from different franchises and their sequels are developing in the country. It has got nothing to do with just 1920! Even if it’s a Raaz or a Jannat or a Murder or a Golmaal, they are sequels too but they do not have relevance to any of its previous films. What everyone is trying to do is to market the sensation that was first delivered by the original. When you say 1920, you know there is a possessed girl, and there is a gothic kind of feel to the film. It has got beautiful music; the film is aesthetically good looking. These are the things that you know you are going to expect out of the movie. These are the things that we deliver. Otherwise, yes the storyline is different here and what happens in horror is that it has a definitive end, most of the times.
Most of your previous films in the recent past have had hints of horror in it. Why do you choose to stick to this particular genre only, rather than trying out something newer?
See, there’s always a conflict where the creative person wants to be prolific! I am a producer who understands the needs of a brand. What according to me is right, I do it. You don’t get points for being prolific; everyone has a kind of film or genre which they specialize in. When you watch a film, you say it’s a KJo (Karan johar) kind of a film, you know what it would be like. When you speak among your friends and say that this film is Rohit Shetty kind of a comedy or a Madhur Bhandarkar kinda realistic film or a David Dhawan film, that’s what it means. So everyone has their own kinds of films which make their identity and a symbol of their branding. When people pay high for a multiplex or any other single plex for a movie, they want to be sure of the experience they are about to get inside before they enter the movie plex! When you are a branded film maker of sorts, they know what to expect from your films. They would feel ki Vikram Bhatt has scared us in the past and this time also he would be doing the same. So if you want to get scared, let’s go for the film. If I start making a love story like Yash Chopra did, people would get apprehensive about it. They would kind of have a feeling, ‘Is it good or is it bad, we have never seen something like this from him before’! That is the main reason one has to work very hard at branding themselves nicely these days!
What made you opt for Aftab and Tia for this role?
Tia Bajpai is a very good actor. She had a three film deal with us; she did Lanka and Haunted with us before and is now doing 1920. We chose Aftab Shivdasani because Aftab and I go back a long way. He was looking to reinvent himself. He wanted to come back and disconnect with some bad films that he had done in the past. I had told him that if he takes a sabbatical and works on himself, then we will re-launch him once again into good cinema. He took up the challenge and detached himself from everything to do something which he had never done earlier. And now he’s back finally!
With ‘Raaz 3’ creating such a benchmark for horror films, is there a constant pressure as a producer to match up to its success?
See it is very unfair to compare Raaz 3 with 1920: Evil Returns. I think it would be better if people compared this film to the first film from the franchise that is 1920. That’s what a comparison should be like. You cannot compare a Raaz 3 with Vishesh films and with someone directing Emraan Hashmi, Bipasha Basu and its music, along with the 3D effect to a film like 1920 which has no 3D, does not have Vikram Bhatt directing it and have fairly lesser known stars in it. So there I feel the comparison isn’t correct unless it is with the prequel which has the same parameters.
Your previous few films have done average business except ‘Raaz 3’ which was incredible at the box office. So what are you expecting out of 1920: Evil Returns?
Previous which films? Before Dangerous Ishhq, I had Haunted, I had Shaapit and 1920, all of which were hits. They were all successful films. Coming to 1920: Evil Returns, I obviously want it to be another hit film too! That’s all.
What are the other projects that are keeping you busy for the next one year?
Well we are about to announce them sometime next week. We are going to make an announcement soon, so till then I can’t really tell you much about it.