Vikram Bhatt is well known director of Indian cinema who has directed many film such as Jaanam, Ghulam, Raaz , Awara Pagal Deewana etc. But my interview questions were on different project and that was his recent app. What is this app let’s see what he is going to say.
Q. What makes you to build this app and what is the USP?
Vikram: The digital platform liberates me from language barriers, the single screen-multiplex divide and censorship issues. There was a time when I consciously worked towards building myself into a horror brand because that was the only genre which didn’t need stars. Today, with money coming in from two-three cities and the multiplexes, it’s time to rethink that strategy. What makes this app unique in the market currently is their subscription module. In this app one can subscribe to the entire app or would have to pay for the shows they would want to watch. This is the first time in India that the viewers would get to pay for particular shows only which they desire to watch and not the entire application. With this,I wishe to bring about this change in the digital space and give choice to the viewers.
Q. Reason behind the digital space?
Vikram: The move to digital space happened when I realised that everything was moving onto digital. Music was the first thing to move online, then came books and we’ve seen big chain of book shops being wiped out and then even retail went online in a major way. So it was only a matter of time before Cinemas went online. Now when Cinema and Entertainment has gone online, one has started seeing apps which are subscription based apps where you subscribe monthly and you get your dose of shows. However the app we are launching is a very different concept. Its actually a multiplex on your phone. So when you download the app, you don’t have to subscribe, you get various shows and each and every show has a ticket price of its own, very much like a multiplex theatre. So you the watch the show that you want and only pay for that show making it more accessible.
Q. You are facing the camera first time, how do you feel as an actor behind the camera?
Vikram: I’ve faced the camera in the film Bhaag Johnny and for my televised series, Once Upon A Time With Vikram Bhatt (OUATWVB). I have been a writer, producer, director for the longest time and acting is just something that I am doing by the buy. It is not my meal ticket. It’s not my bread and butter. I think i’ve come to a stage in my life where I am just having fun. I am enjoying what I do. I am enjoying whether its making a web series, or acting, or writing. I finished writing a book that’s done well for Penguin called a Handful of Sunshine. Let’s just say that I am having time of my life.
Q. Launch of OTT platform Untouchable which is already in production, more details please?
Vikram: This platform will be commercially launched on the 27th of January, 2018, under Loneranger Production which coincides with my birthday. It will be called as VB-Theatre on the web’. Untouchables is a courtroom-drama which revolves around a medical student, who’s an escort to finance her education. And lands up facing a murder rap when her wealthy client is killed. Her dad, a chauffeur, pleads with his employer, a 48-year-old washed-up lawyer, to return to court one last time to save his daughter thereby justifying the tagline: The only one who can save her life is the one the world has given up for dead.
Q. VB theatre on web app is set to launch this month on your birthday how are the preparations?
Vikram: The preparations is all set to launch the app on 27th January which happens to be on my birthday. Post launch I am also planning to hold a press conference where I can take the media fraternity through my app and its working module.
Q. Which all shows/genres users will get to enjoy on your OTT plarforn VB theatre on web?
Vikram: My present slate of six web series includes romance, thriller, erotica, period-drama, courtroom-drama but no horror. I’m not what I make. VB on the Web is like the Facebook stories I wrote for 200 straight days on anything and everything. I could even try a sci-fi, here. These offerings are for young people who are hooked to Netflix, Amazon and YouTube for streaming and downloading American TV shows because the desi ones only cater to the ladies and interiors. For them, Untouchables is a familiar word and hopefully a familiar world. For me, this digital world is a wonderland of exciting possibilities.Its party time of a different kind.
Q. Since the series has been directed by your daughter Krishna Bhatt, it must not have been an easy thing. Were there any such apprehensions?
Vikram: Well you know, I never thought but my daughter is quite the control freak and she knows exactly what she wants. Her sense of drama is very different to mine. So the first 1 or 2 days were little odd, we did have some secret fights as well. She told me either I listen to her or I was free to direct it on my own. That kind of chastised me reprimanded me and then I was on my best behaviour. Mahesh Bhatt is very close to me and to Krishna so he said to me “Hey you get out of the set, you’re not directing anymore, she is doing it and if you dont trust her dont give it to her.” I was like Ok, my God she has got everyone on her side, I scurried. Then secretly I asked the editor to send me some edits because i wanted to see how its going and it was fabulous and then I was relieved, I was like she knows what she is doing. It was a proud moment for me.
Q. Are you also planning to work on or in any biopic? If you had to, anyone in mind whose biopic you could want to make? And if yes, which actor you think would justice to the lead role?
Vikram: I don’t know why but biopics have never interested me. I am sure, they make some good stories but at the end of the day a story is a story a story whether u talking about a real person. Strangely and ironically speaking a biopic is generally a cinematic life. So you telling the story of a real person who has a cinematic life. So I would rather stick to a cinematic life of a cinematic person, that’s the person I am. I don’t see myself making biopics, they don’t interest me.
Q. You’ve made quite a few films in horror/supernatural genre. What makes them a hit with the audience and how easy or tough it is to make such films given that it looks convincing on screen?
Vikram: The supernatural films that I’ve made are actually been love stories. I’ve seen that films that I’ve made that did not have good human drama never did well never. 1921 was proclaimed to be still born people thought it would never do well. It was the last choice with other 2 releases of the week. But I knew it would succeed because of its intense emotional drama and that’s what made it succeed. Whether its a love story or whether its a horror story, whether its a thriller you have to feel for the characters. If I dont feel fear for the person on the screen then I am not interested in however scary the film is. And that you’ll only feel if there is a certain amount of emotional connect with this character. An emotional spine is what works, horror and everything else works later.