Hansal Mehta Curated
Indian Film Director, Writer and Producer
CURATED BY :
Shahid and onwards, the kind of films you make or started making completely changed. How was that process?
Your work will always have some reflection of your own personality. Film-makers discover something new about themselves after every film, but that was not the case with me. I took a long sabbatical after Woodstock Villa and that’s when I conceived the idea of Shahid. I found stories that I felt passionate about. I rediscovered myself and found my voice. I could look at all my past creative failures and learn from them. How honest was I to my craft and to my soul? I realised that I actually did bad work and the only way forward was to change for the better.
How was it to recreate the ’90s for your web show Scam1992?
The show begins in the late ’70s and moves to the ’90s and 2000s, almost spanning over four decades. It was fun recreating the ’90s, but it was a nightmare to shoot in the city. Mumbai has changed a lot over the last 30 years. My team did a fantastic job with the costumes, the hairstyles and getting those locations and cars of the bygone era.
How did you adapt Sucheta Dalal and Debashis Basu’s book, The Scam: Who Won, Who Lost, Who Got Away, for your web show Scam 1992?
It was a challenge to dramatise the book because the story is not written as a piece of fiction. My writers, Sumit Purohit, Saurav Dey and I, began working on the show toward the end of 2017 and it took almost two years for an in-depth research of India’s financial system. The funny thing is back in the day, I was a fresh computer programmer on an assignment initially in Australia and then Fiji Islands. When I returned, the entire Harshad Mehta success story had crashed. I was curious, so I did read a lot about him. Everyone loves an underdog story.
Do you think the coronavirus will have an impact on the themes in our films?
Yes, it definitely will. Right now, it feels like we are living in George Orwell’s 1984 and it is scary (I’m also reading the book right now). This lockdown will test your patience because it is not a holiday or a sabbatical. People will oscillate between a gamut of emotions. It is important to observe, experience and let them pass rather than fight it. It is an extraordinary phase that will be written about for decades on how a pandemic affected the entire mankind. People are putting their health on the line to report important stories. Just like World War I and II gave us amazing war movies, I hope this pandemic, a world war of sorts, will also lead to stories about the health professionals, who are the real heroes.