Interviews ...

“Directing Vikrant Massey in Blackout was an enriching experience” – Devang Bhavsar

Devang Bhavsar had no connections in the film industry but had a lot of passion for cinema. He stepped into the industry as an assistant director and production assistant around 2008-09 and since then, slowly and steadily worked towards making a place for himself here. ‘Blackout’, Devang’s debut feature-length film as a director, will start streaming on Jio Cinema from 7th June. The film, featuring Vikrant Massey, Sunil Grover, Mouni Roy, Jisshu Sengupta, Ruhani Sharma and Chhaya Kadam. in principal roles, has been designed as a comic caper.

In this interview, Devang talks about the process behind making the film, the journey in the industry, putting an ensemble cast together, what makes Vikrant Massey a special actor, and more.

Vikrant Massey has said in an interview that he has never played a character like Lenny and done a film like ‘Blackout’ before.

‘Blackout’ is a comic thriller. Vikrant has not done this type of comedy in the past. When he read the script, he himself said that it would be a new experience for him. During the rehearsals, he once asked me, “yeh thoda loud toh nahin ho raha na?” (“does this feel too loud?”). I assured him that this tonality would work for the script and his character. We had many script readings before we started working on the film. He gave a lot of valuable inputs.

The trailer of ‘Blackout’ gives an essence of the world the film is set in but does not reveal much about the story.

That was a conscious decision. There is a lot of suspense in the story. We did not want to give out the story. There are a lot of twists and turns. We worked very hard on putting together the trailer. We wanted the audience to be intrigued and figure out how things will move forward.

The films features an ensemble cast. How was the casting process like?

Vaibhav Vishank’s company Anti-Casting cast actors for our film. Vaibhav and Niraj (Kothari, producer) deserve all the credit for the casting. We managed to cast some great actors from different industries. Sunil (Grover) sir is known for his improvisations. Because of him, we improvised during many scenes. Mouni (Roy) ma’am was very excited as she was stepping into a new space. Chhaya Kadam ma’am is brilliant. Karan (Sonawane) and Sourabh (Gadge), who are now very famous on Instagram, were perfect for the parts they play in the film. Every actor was passionate about the film and the story we were trying to tell.

Niraj Kothari and you co-produced a show, ‘Never Kiss Your Best Friend’, earlier.

Niraj and I have actually known each other since college. Both of us wanted to do films. Today, by God’s grace, we have reached a stage when we are making films together. We were doing a course in BMM and were studying advertising. We started our journey in the industry as assistant directors and production managers. Both of us are complete outsiders. Nobody from our families has worked in the industry.

Which was your first job in the industry?

I was an assistant director on ‘Prince’. Kookie (Gulati) sir had directed the film. I was the third AD on the film. It was an action film mounted on a huge scale. Working on the film was a huge learning experience for me. After that I worked on Ashu (Ashutosh Gowariker) sir’s production department on ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey’. Working on the film helped me learn a lot about costume design and set design.

Was it easy to reach a point where you could direct your own film?

No, it was a tough ride. Most directors go through this. If you are not from the industry, things get more difficult. It takes a lot to make this happen. Being at the right place at the right time also matters. I graduated in the year 2007. After that, I have been working in the industry. The industry went through a lot of changes in these years. When I started out, people were shooting on film camera. With time, technology evolved and new things came into place. YouTube and social media came. The arrival of OTT platforms was another turning point for the industry. It has been a journey of learning and adapting. I belong to the generation which has seen the transition happening from analogue to digital.

Was there always a plan to release ‘Blackout’ on a streaming platform?

Every filmmaker wants his film to be seen on a 70 mm screen. However, every film has its own destiny. I am grateful to Jio Cinema for giving our film a good platform, promoting it well and ensuring that it gets a good release digitally.

Over the years, Vikrant Massey had earned tremendous respect as an actor. The commercial success of ‘12th Fail’, however, propelled his career in a new direction. Do you think ‘Blackout’ will benefit from it?

Absolutely! It has been a few months since ‘12th Fail’ released but people are still talking about it. Vikrant’s performance has connected with everybody in the country. That is definitely going to help our film.

Which is that one quality in Vikrant which helps him stand out as an actor?

Vikrant is always prepared. That is one thing I respect and adore about him. Directing Vikrant was an enriching experience. On the first day of his shoot, Vikrant shot the last scene of the film. Doing this can be quite challenging for an actor but Vikrant did the scene fabulously well. I don’t think many actors can do that.

What are you doing next?

My focus in on making films. Right now, the writing process for my second film is going on. We should lock the screenplay soon.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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