After making a mark by releasing Surender Kontaddi‘s Amrutharamam, ZEE5 is taking the ship ahead of digital releases ahead. This time, it is yet another debutant director, Pradeep Maddali’s 47 Days. Opposed to the love story in Amrutharamam, this film is a murder-murder. The film is shouldered by the versatile Satyadev Kancharana and also features Pooja Jhaveri in the lead roles.
Watch the trailer here:
For the unversed, this film was slated to release in 2019. To know the reason behind this delay and to dig deeper into the curiosity that we had all this time, we caught up with the director over a phone call. He happily spoke to us about various things in a 20-minute long conversation. Read the edited excerpts of his interview here.
Q. How does it feel now that the film will see a release?
A. It’s a great feeling. We got the copy (of the film) last week itself. The trailer was released last year (2019) around April. After that, because of various reasons, the film was delayed. Finally, I am relieved and happy that it is releasing on ZEE5. People will be able to see my work and give me their valuable feedback.
Q. What’s new for viewers in this murder mystery?
A. Actually, if you look at the film, the hero’s journey, his emotional arc and graph, the story and the other characters… they have perfect round-ups. It has come out beautifully. I can confidently say that the film has come out well. Even before the climax, audiences will not predict anything. And, I believe that’s an important factor for a thriller to work along with an emotional connect. People will relate and enjoy better if there is a strong emotional connect.
Q. Three words to describe the experience viewers will have after watching this film?
A. Perfect – Mystery – Drama.
Q. Tell us about how the idea for this film came to be?
A. In 2010, I made a short film titled Juliet. It won an award at IIM Calcutta. There’s an investigation sequence in the film which inspired me further to make a feature film. I am a big fan of Vishal Bharadwaj. Around 2009-10, I saw his film called Kaminey, which is based on a Kenyan short film, I believe. I was excited to learn that a 2.30 hour feature film was made out of a short film. So, I thought, why can’t I make one from my own short film? And then, I started working on it.
Q. The film seems to have some supernatural element. What can we expect in that zone?
A. I don’t know if I am revealing too much. There is no supernatural element or fantasy in the film. All of it is the hero’s perception, which comes from his trauma.
Q. Would you say that you have merged too many layers in one film? How did you balance them out?
A. Yes, I could say that there are three-four main layers to the story, apart from the main one. I tried to balance it in an equal manner. The viewer may have several questions after watching the first half. I tried to manage it in a way where people could understand everything without complicating it too much.
Q. In India, people are divided over open-ends and spoon-fed climaxes in thrillers. What are your thoughts on this?
A. Yes, it is prevalent. As a writer and director, I always have this in my mind. I love director Sriram Raghavan‘s work. His latest film, Andhadhun, has an open end. I could imagine 10 different ends. He never explained it, even after the film had released. That’s how a film should be. But sometimes, to cater to audiences, especially mainstream Telugu audience, it could be risky. Even some producers might disagree. In my film, I left a couple of things for the audiences to decide upon.
A balance should be there. Films like Andhadhun may come once in 10 years. By then audiences are also in a fresh space of mind to enjoy that film. Like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. I have watched it four to five times and I still feel there’s more to what I have understood. So, once in a while it is good. Every film cannot be in the same space. At the end of the day, this is the entertainment industry. We cannot burden audiences with open-ended climaxes always.
Q. Considering this is your directorial debut, what things did you keep in mind?
A. While writing — I had Aamir Khan‘s Talash in my mind. The character’s arc is beautiful. Despite having played a cop, he had something new to play with like the emotional trauma. The director Reema Kagti has tied all the loose ends at the end in this thriller. While filming — I was totally open. Because I followed Ram Gopal Varma very closely. I worked for Puri Jagganadh sir for four-five years. Having seen their work, when I was directing for the first time, I was cautious of not imitating their craft.
Q. How did you approach actors for this film?
A. After the first draft was done, Satyadev was the only one on my mind. The hero gets married early on and decides to adopt a girl early in his life. He is young, but also mature. Satya could pull it off easily. Also, I felt it was a bit difficult to convince the other bunch of young actors. Satyadev is also versatile in choosing scripts. He proved it in the last few years. We tried for other leading actresses, but Pooja Jhaveri and Roshni did their parts well.
Q. What do you think about films seeing a direct digital release? Is it a bane or boon?
A. I think it is definitely a boon. Because the kind of attention coming to films on OTT is very huge. Let’s assume 47 Days was released only in the theatres, people in Mumbai or other parts of India would not be able to watch it. But on OTT, everyone can watch it. I have friends from Chennai and Kerala telling how eagerly they are waiting for the film to release.
Q. Do you think this story would have been better as a web series? Why?
A. Maybe, yes. Definitely there is a difference between films and web-series. But this film has multiple layers and I think, it could have been explored further. I have previously directed one for another platform, so I think it can be done.
Q. What are you doing to direct next?
A. I am among the people who believe the web is the future. It would have happened in the next couple of years anyway. Because of the pandemic, it has been preponed. I have been approached by a few production houses to direct web-series. I am also in talks for a digital film. But everything is in its initial few stages. For at least the next six months, I am looking at web only.
And ending on that note, you can check out the full film on ZEE5 now.
Get Live Updates on Coronavirus Outbreak on ZEE5 News.