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Time to get spooked with 'Machli Jal Ki Rani Hai'

Actress Swara Bhaskar, who’s self-confessedly scared of horror films, agreed to be a part of Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai as the script had her hooked. Filmmaker Debaloy Dey talks to us about how his film is more relatable than the usual fare 

Achhli Jal Ki Rani Hai is an upcoming thriller-horror film directed by Debaloy Dey. This is a sort of comeback for Dey, who made his directorial debut in 1993 with the Salman Khan-Sridevi starrer, Chandra Mukhi. Thereafter, Dey moved onto TV serials only to return with this spooky flick, which has been shot in locations like Panchmarhi and Jabalpur. The director, who has great fascination for the supernatural, talks to us about his film and getting Swara on board. Excerpts...

Swara Bhaskar

Q. What is the inspiration behind the film?
A. The film is partly based on a true incident, a story I heard from a friend whose father had a supernatural experience while working in a tea estate. However, I have added a lot of fiction to it. The script has Bollywood elements in it.

Swara Bhaskar

Q. How does it differ from the usual horror films?
A. It’s not an out-and-out horror film per se. That’s why we have positioned it as a paranormal thriller. It will surprise and shock the audience in equal measure. I would say that our characters are a lot more relatable than what we have seen in the horror-cum-sex films of late. Anyone can identify with Ayesha’s (Swara Bhaskar) problem and feel that it can happen to him or her as well. That’s the philosophy of the film.

On the sets

I believe that every film should be comprehensible for the common man. I watch all my films at Chandan, which is a single screen theatre, and my ideology is to cater to such an audience. If you hear their comments carefully, you’ll learn a lot more than what’s taught in film school (laughs out loud). My film has songs and usual filmi moments.

Debaloy Dey

There is a large section of the audience that love horror films because of the vicarious pleasure they get from being scared. Fear is an universal feeling — Debaloy Dey, director

Q. What made you select Swara Bhaskar for the lead role?
A. We were auditioning quite a few girls but none of them gave me the vibe that they were truly fit for the film. There is a lot of action in the film, so I needed someone who was a good actress and physically fit as well. Finally, when we approached Swara, I told her in detail what was expected of her so that she did not feel uncomfortable later on. I gave her the worst-case scenarios. She said she would think it over. Three days later, when we met, Swara had my character Ayesha’s background ready with her. Swara had already visualised Ayesha and deconstructed her. I was very impressed with her sincerity. Working with her was a fabulous experience.

Q. What techniques have you adopted in this film?
A. We have worked a lot on the sound and lighting. The scary scenes in the film happen during the day, which is not de rigueur. If you see the film in 7.1-surround sound, you will get a better effect. We shot the film in Panchmarhi, Madhya Pradesh. I have tried to capture the forests in various shots to add to the eerie ambience of Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai.

Q. Horror films normally do decent business. What’s your take on the genre?
A. There is a fixed audience for horror films. That is a huge advantage for a producer. When you go to a festival like Cannes and try to sell your films, the first question is, ‘Does your film have sex?’; the next one is ‘Does it have horror?’ Horror films have evolved since the times of the Ramsays. People get a vicarious pleasure out of getting scared and are disappointed when your film isn’t scary enough.

Synopsis

BANNER: Shree Wardhman Movie Ventures Pvt. Ltd.
PRODUCER: Vinay Modi and Abhinav Jain
DIRECTOR: Debaloy Dey
STARCAST: Bhanu Uday, Swara Bhaskar, Murli Sharma, Reema Debnath, Deepraj Rana
MUSIC: Amit Mishra
RELEASE DATE: June 13, 2014
WATCH OUT FOR: After a few ‘horrex’ films in Bollywood, this one promises to be a paranormal thriller. Swara Bhaskar of Tanu Weds Manu and Raanjhanaa fame, is the lead protagonist of the film.
IN A SHOT: With horror films having a loyal fan following, we hope this one grabs eyeballs as well.

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