The Ali Fazal-starrer “House Arrest” is a story of a crazy day in a crazy flat, according to co-director Samit Basu, who describes the experience of making the Netflix original film exciting as well as chaotic.
Co-starring Shriya Pilgaonkar, Jim Sarbh and Barkha Singh, “House Arrest” brings to life the concept of JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out). It is the story of a man trapped in his own fears, who locks himself at home, only to find that while he can restrict his interaction with the world, he can’t keep the world from entering his domain.
“The whole experience of making ‘House Arrest’ was exciting, and completely chaotic, and the absolute opposite of the calm, controlled solitude of writing a book,” Basu told IANS.
Basu has jointly directed the project with Shashanka Ghosh. The movie went live on Netflix on November 15.
“It was a privilege to work with an experienced, successful director like Shashanka, whose presence on the project brought so many talented actors and crew persons on board,” said Basu, who has written the project as well.
Reflecting on the thought behind the project, Basu said: “There were two starting points — I wanted to explore the story of a person who had not left the house in a long time, who other people thought had either turned into a hikikomori-Esque recluse or was dealing with some sort of nervous breakdown, but who actually appeared completely tranquil and happy in his solitude if you actually met him. So, the story of one mad day in one mad flat where we find out what happened to drive our protagonist to this way of life, and also make him reconsider his choices.”
Hikikomori is a Japanese lifestyle trend, wherein people withdraw from society and seek isolation and confinement. The film touches upon the issue and traces the story of a young man looking for isolation in an apartment in Delhi.
Basu also “thought the idea of a single-location rom-com was challenging”.
“I couldn’t think of an instance where it had been done before. Earlier drafts of the script were much more theme-exploratory and less movement-driven, and a lot of the challenge for me was working with experienced, successful Bollywood people and understanding what they needed to create a story that was less thought-driven and more physically entertaining,” he recalled.
It was in 2012 when the first came to his mind.
“The script has been through innumerable rewrites since then because I really had no idea of what was required of a Bollywood entertainer – perhaps that’s why it took so many years for my first film to actually happen. I’ve been trying forever, but both books and films require single-minded dedication and take over your life, and I’ve been doing books for 17 years now.”
“House Arrest” is the screenwriting and co-directorial debut of Basu, who has many novels, graphic novels and children’s books to his credit.
How did he handle creative differences while working on the project?
“In this case it was easy, because whenever we were at absolute loggerheads the simple decider was that Shashanka had years of experience and had last directed a 100-crore hit and brought Netflix and the cast and crew on board, and this was my first film and no one in the film industry knew who I was.
“Shashanka and I had been trying to work together since 2004 when I’d seen his first film and he’d read my first book. When you write books, you have absolute control and absolute responsibility. As a newcomer in film, I knew going in that I had neither, because the whole project is one of collaboration, which is led by trust, which is most easily built by reputation.”
What’s next? “There’s a script I’m supposed to write, a show that I’m in talks for based on one of my books, and I have to try and build my solo directorial debut as well,” he said, adding that his dream project is to make a “Game Of Thrones” scale adaptation of his novel “The Simoqin Prophecies”.