Says Bejoy Nambiar as he talks about weaving three stories in one and the challenges involved
When Bejoy Nambiar’s stylish debut film released, many had compared it Amores Perros in terms of its existential flounce. For a first time director, the sheer scale and intricacies of his vision was worth appreciating. But for the director the film was just a stepping stone to get producers fund his magnum opus ‘David’. “I had written David way before Shaitan but I knew upfront that as a debutant director, I won’t be able to scale the film to the extent of which the script demanded. Shaitan filled that vacuum and helped in getting the support that David needed.”
Nambia is no stranger to the art of persuasion. As an absolute novice, he convinced Mohanlal to come to Mumbai to act in his first short film Reflections (2005). The finesse and the narrative was enough to convince persuaded Mani Ratnam to hire him as an assistant on Guru and Raavan. From there to getting Anurag Kashyap to produce Shaitan, was an tough but rewarding journey.
Nambiar’s story is about three Davids at three different places in three different eras and interweaving the stories and yet maintaining the rhythm in the script has been a challenging journey. Here’s what he has to say.
Excerpts from the interview:
How was David conceived?
I wrote David before Shaitan. While writing it, I had realized that the canvas of the film is huge and would need a lot of support to pull it off. I read about an incident in the papers that really sparked off the idea of David. I had this one big idea of making a film on three different characters in three different spaces in time, but with the same name.
You have used three cinematographers to shoot the three eras. Don’t you think that can become jarring in terms of the film’s continuity?
It was about how far I can push the envelope. Once I decided to do the three-films-in-one format, I wanted to shoot it as three different films, each with its own sensibility. So, I got three different cinematographers to shoot the gangster story in black-and-white, one in the monsoon and one in sunny Goa. Each cinematographer brought in his own sensibilities and the results are satisfying.
What are the challenges involved in making such a film?
The biggest challenge was the writing and convincing people that it not a usual song and dance film. While writing, I treated all the three films as different threads and that approach made things easier rather than me trying to do it all together. I am the thread of continuity in the film. The story is about Neil’s (Nitin Mukesh) David who is a gangster in London of 1975, then there is Vinay Virmani’s David who is a budding musician in Mumbai of 1999 and Vikram’s David is a fisherman in Goa (2010).
Why did you choose to shoot Neil Nitin Mukesh’s part in black and white?
I wanted to show the 1970s London and bring an authentic feel to that era.
When do we see you making a rom-com? Are you averse to love stories?
I am not averse to rom-coms but ‘Shaitan’ and ‘David’ are the kind of films I wanted to make since I like watching fast-paced films and it gives me an immense kick to make films like that.