Millennium Post

The fear effect

T-Series and Vikram Bhatt have had a successful joint venture with Hate Story 2 being one of your latest hits. How did Creature come about?
 Vikram: After Aashiqui 2 released, we started making a number of films and realised that we had a very good understanding of music. So when we started listening to scripts, Aashiqui 2 was the first film where we heard the entire narration, with dialogue and so on. We realised it was an apt script to remake and the story fit the bill. That’s how our journey into film production began. We also realised that we should make more films on a stipulated budget, like Vishesh Films does, which makes films with relative newcomers. Hence, we figured it would be a good idea to team up with Vikram Bhatt. We were also very impressed with the fact that he not only directs but also writes, does the screenplay and dialogue. He is creatively involved with both direction and production. I approached him with this thought in mind. Together, we wanted to make a good film with a good story and screenplay and a budgeted production.

Hate Story 2 was the first film that came out of our collaboration. One day, he said he wanted to make a 3D creature film that would be directed by him. That came as a surprise and we wondered if it might turn out to be tacky, jisme mazaa nahi aaye logon ko. I told him it was a nice idea and I found the title exciting. To absolutely convince me, he promised to show me some sketches to familiarise me with the concept of brahma rakshasas. He said he was inspired by mythical creatures and I grew confident about his talent. Considering his work on Haunted, I agreed to do the film with him. But I said that the creature had to look real and not generic. Vikram was very confident as it was his dream project. When he showed me the first shot of the creature and what he had created, I was totally confident that I too wanted to make this film. Abhi toh you might not feel ki international level ka quality hai ki nahi but when you watch the film, will you will agree that it is a quality product. The run time of this film is over an hour and it is the story of how this creature is destructive, tamed and then transformed. The 3D impact is phenomenal. I guarantee you ki aap 10 baar bhi dekhoge aapko jhatka lagega hi lagega.

Is that the reason you are showing clips of the film to the media?

Vikram: Yes. We are showing the press these scenes because we want them to write about how good the 3D effect is and how realistic the creature looks. The storyline is very simple. Any thriller about a creature where the creature is killed is very simple. These movies have a thrill and you are constantly on the edge of your seat.

How would you classify this film in terms of genre? Horror or thriller?
Vikram: I would classify it as a film which has never been made before in India. It’s a ‘creature feature’. While Hollywood has made a killing from this genre, no one but Bhushan Kumar had the courage to back this film. All he said to me was, ‘The creature won’t look tacky, na?’ And I assured him it wouldn’t. The only other thing he asked me was whether the movie would have music. I said, of course it would! (Laughs).

Hollywood has been making films like this from a long time. They have had Godzilla, Gremlins, Jurassic Park, Anaconda, Aliens. These are among the most successful franchises in the world. We have the wherewithal to make films like these as we do VFX work for Hollywood. So we have the indigenous talent, we just don’t have the vision. So it’s a new genre, a creature feature.

I showed 10 minutes of the film to Bhushanji and he said he asked me why I wasn’t showing it to the audience. So that’s how we are promoting the film. A film of this kind will look nothing short of grand on the big screen. It doesn’t have the same impact on YouTube. Ek mental calibration hai, but you have never seen a creature film in Hindi, so you don’t have a reference point. So when you watch it on YouTube, you wonder, yeh kaisa film lag raha hai yaar? The trailer is not even in HD but the film is in 4K. And that’s a huge difference! So we decided to show 10 minutes of footage to everybody, like the makers of Avatar did. Aisi film bani hi nahi hai toh kaise promote karein?

Bipasha, how did the journey of the film begin for you?
Bipasha: It began with just one line Vikram telling me let’s do a creature feature! And I have been a huge fan of films like these. I wanted to be a part of a film like this and I knew that Vikram was quirky and would achieve his objective. I trusted him and, very simply, that’s how it all began for me. He said it would be a one-of-a-kind film, the first of its kind. So, as an actor, it’s going to be exciting.

From the marketing perspective, since there is no reference point, will you be simplifying the film?
Vikram: Since there is no reference point, we felt that the media would be able to communicate what the film is all about only if they watched a clip of the film. We will be showing them 3D shots on the big screen, complete with Atmos sound, so the naturally have huge expectations of the film. Marketing ends on Friday.

Bhushan: Let me narrate an anecdote. When I was telling Bhatt saab about the film, there was a man in a blue suit running in the stills. I was trying to tell Bhatt saab that yeh scene mein aisa hoga. And all he said was that par yahan toh ek blue aadmi bhaag raha hai. So I tried to explain to him that there would be VFX in this shot. And he told me, ‘Tu aliens ko gud ka swaad sikhane ki koshish kar raha hai.’

Since you have worked with 3D before, was it easier to make this film?

Vikram: It was very tough. I don’t want to get into that because it was so tough. It’s been almost a year since we finished shooting and I am still not happy with it. It’s gone back to the lab and we are still correcting. And we have not cheated with point-of-view shots. Many filmmakers use point-of-view. They blur the edges and ab yeh creature aa raha hai ghaas ke andar se. So after half the scene has run, they shoot the hand, the legs and suddenly koi jhopde ke picchhe chillata hai aur uska body out aur baat khatam. We haven’t done this with our film as we wanted to make a path-breaking film.

What techniques did you use?
Vikram: A lot of techniques. One of them is called expression capture. Here, you take anybody’s face and make notations for every muscle of the body and and computer reads it. I did the expression for the creature. When the creature is scared or angry, he starts shouting. After all, he is a living thing and experienced moods. So we had to give it different expressions. Then we used sound software, which has been used for the first time. It’s called dehumaniser and was used for films like Avatar and Lord Of The Rings. The Gollum voice used in Lord Of The Rings was created using this technique. We spoke to these people and got the software from them. A lot of research and development went into the making of this film.

Bipasha, how difficult was it to act in front of a creature as opposed to a human being?
Bipasha: It was really tough. It is much easier when the reference point is human or even a well-defined animal. We had to imagine the creature. Vikram helped us a lot because he gave us a lot of references, in terms of the creature’s dimensions; we had pointers and crackers and a stunt man mimicking the creature’s movements. So we had an idea of what was going to happen. It was left to the imagination. The first three to four days were quite unnerving because I didn’t know what exactly was in front of me. So, whether to go a little higher, or a little less?People say Bollywood films are not really difficult to do as they follow a very simple formula. Here, suddenly, I was thrown into a place where I needed to react and act differently.

It takes a lot of team work, patience, imagination and focus. When I went to dub for the film, it was amazing as the creature has been placed in the sequences, and that changes everything. Before we started this film, he had created every sequence with these little toys. He had little figures of wrestlers, and I was, like, ‘Vikram, why have you used such an ugly woman?’

Vikram: I was showing her the sequence, what we were going to do.

Bipasha: And I was, like, why am I like this?

Vikram: Yeah, and she is, like, why am I looking so bad? And I am, like, abhi woh mat dekh.

Bipasha: It was very beautifully done. And the creature sequences were so much fun. And he had done all the homework with those little toys, which is so good for an actor.

Vikram: (Cuts in) I showed it to Fox Star Studios and they sent it to Los Angeles, saying these guys are doing some crazy thing with toys. Look how they are doing it because, in Hollywood, they spend millions of dollars on narrations and that was my pre-narration.

Bhushan, you’re very particular about the music that goes into your films. How did you reel in the music for a film like this?

Bhushan: That was my first question to him (Vikram Bhatt), when I heard the script. But there was a storyline which was romantic, apart from the sizzling part about the creature, Bipasha and everybody. There is a storyline on the film that takes care of the music.

Bipasha: And it comes in at a very good time. So the music actually gels with the storyline, what’s happening between the boy and the girl. It’s very emotional and melodious, and it comes exactly at the point where it should have. IVikram: To be very honest, I was worried about what would happen to the pace of the film with the songs. Bhushanji and I have a deal he takes care of the music and I take care of filmmaking.

T-Series is on a roll, especially after the massive success of Aashiqui 2. Does that put pressure on you as the music opens your film?
Bhushan: Yeah, there’s more pressure after Hate Story 2.
Vikram: I keep sending him text messages saying ‘Once the audience comes, they will love the film but to get the audience to cinemas is your responsibility.’ But they are doing everything possible to promote the film. I have also been taking this 10-minute clip to every city and showing it to the media there, so that everyone is aware of what we have made. I have a feeling that the first show will be a game-changer.

What kind of response did you receive from the media when you showed them the clipping for the first time?

Bipasha: A good response. Clearly, no one knows exactly what we have made. Since my name and Vikram’s are attached, they assumed it is a supernatural film, or a horror film. But after they watched the clip, they were blown away. We are showing the creature as a protagonist. Moreover, it has not merely been created with special effects; it is like a live thing, a proper character. He is the main villain in the film, a beast who needs to be tamed. That’s the basic plot of every creature film worldwide.

When your horror films have become super hits, why did you make a creature film? Why didn’t you stick to the horror films?
Vikram: Look how little you know of this genre. After 1920, we successfully did Raaz 3 in 3D. And after that, one could only do more of the same, and more of the same is good business but not good creativity. When a filmmaker does something different, especially when he knows he is working on something very different, he is scared. You can only succeed when you’re frightened of failure. When you feel a sense of completion and you know yeh toh kiya hai yaar, ab bhoot aayega, then you can even direct a film over the phone. It doesn’t give you a thrill.

Vikram, you have known her for a long time. Tell us about her journey.
Vikram: Bipasha started with an unconventional film. I don’t want to name the person but when I was doing Raaz, I was simultaneously doing Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage, which got Hrithik Roshan and Ameesha Patel back after the success of Kaho Na Pyaar Hai. This guy came on the sets and said to me, ‘Arre, yaar, kya woh flop Dino  aur Ajnabee ki vamp ke saath choti picture bana raha hai. Ek taraf tu ye badi film bana raha hai, dekhna wohi chalegi aur ye flop hogi’.

Bipasha: I too remember this person because he was on our sets. (Laughs)

Next Story
Share it