Nirvana Inn was one of the 29 projects selected for the program, Busan Asian Project Market at the Busan International Film Festival. It premiered under the “A Window on Asian Cinema” section at the 24th Busan International Film Festival. Here is an excerpt from an exclusive interview with the director of the film.
- Tell us something about this film “Nirvana Inn”.
Nirvana inn is a Hindi psychological horror drama starring some wonderful actors like Adil Hussain, Rajshri Deshpande and Sandhya Mridul in the leads. We started shooting for the film in 2018 and then it was premiered on 6th October at the Busan International Film Festival. Most of the post production work was done in Busan itself and since then the film has been travelling through a lot of film festivals all around the world. Now, we are finally bringing the film to India. As we all are going through a very tough time right now due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the theaters are not functional. So we have decided to release the film on the new and innovative OTT platform, Cinemapreneur, which streams independent films. It’s like an online theatre where audiences can buy tickets online and watch films. Nirvana Inn will be available here for 99 hrs only and therefore we call it “99 Hrs of Nirvana Inn.”
2. How did you come up with the idea for this film?
The idea of the film actually came to my mind after reading an article about the Germanwings Flight 9525 crash where the pilot had crashed the plane, since he was having suicidal thoughts. I was quite disturbed and intrigued by the story that how can someone take such a drastic step? But at the same time I was fascinated as well. I really wanted to know the psyche of this person. That’s when I decided to make this film as I felt that a psychological horror would be a good genre in order to explore the story and the character.
3. Talking about the casts, were they your first choice?
Yes. In fact when I first wrote the script, the only person that came to my mind for the role of the male protagonist was Adil Hussain. And Nirvana Inn became a Hindi film because of Adil Hussain. While writing the script, I was thinking to release it as a bi-lingual film i.e. in Tamil and Malayalam. But the moment I decided to caste Adil Hussain, it became a Hindi film.
4. What made you pursue film making?
(Laughs) I was a very passionate film watcher actually. Which I still am. I especially liked watching art films. So before becoming a filmmaker, I was working in the corporate sector. But then one day I thought why not produce a film myself? That’s when I decided to quit my job and become a film maker . So the first film that I made was “Revelation”, which is a Tamil film and was shot in Kolkata. It was also premiered at the Busan International Film Festival and then it was released in Netflix.
5. What roadblocks did you face when you were starting out?
When I decided to start making films, I was 30 years old, which was eight years back. At that point of time, I was not sure of either joining any film school or assisting any filmmaker because I thought I was too late for all that. So the only option I was left with was making my own film. And to make a film, you need huge amount of funds. Thanks to my job! I had some savings and I utilized that to make films. I don’t make commercial films or mainstream films as I am into feature films. And the distribution of such films becomes a challenge for you. It’s like a war and you have to battle the war on a daily basis. You win some, you lose some.
6. Which film inspired you the most?
More than films, film makers have inspired me more. Because without film makers, there can’t be films. Not one or two, but there are many film makers who have inspired me . Like Akira Kurosawa, Hirokazu Koreeda, Vishal Bharadwaj, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane to name a few. The list is long!
7. Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful film maker?
It’s not necessary to go to a film school to become a film maker as I know many successful film makers who has never been to any film institute or has taken any formal training. But yes, it is good if you join a film school because a formal training will enhance your knowledge and will help you grow as you get a lot of exposure.
8. What advice would you give to the upcoming film makers?
(Laughs) I am myself an upcoming film maker and I don’t think I have reached such a stage where I can give advice to anyone. But what I have learned from my personal experience is that in order to be a good film maker, it’s not only about learning cinema or watching cinema, but it’s also about sacrifices. You have to be ready to sacrifice and work as hard as you can.