WA: How was your experience in co-writing the script of such a dark and convoluted thriller ‘Yeh Saali Aashiqui’?
VP: We wanted to be absolutely true to the script for which we ventured into extensive research. We watched Hollywood, Korean, Chinese and French cinema dealing with criminal mind and history; we also watched various documentaries and movies like those by (Alfred) Hitchcock. We met psychiatrists, physiologists, criminals and also patients suffering with dangerous mental conditions and as we met them we realised that empathy is the most important thing in humanity. Our perceptions are quite different from their realities. We decided not to form strong opinions but to embrace each of the characters in the script to present the story in its truest form. We even got our script approved by the head doctor of the facility at Agra Hospital. It was one of the most honest and yet stressful processes as it even took a toll on our mental condition and mood for a long time. It has been the greatest learning experience of my life.
WA: What preparations did you do for the role of Sahil in ‘Yeh Saali Aashiqui’?
VP: It was an intense process. We went to a mental institution in Agra, where we spent a lot of time with the doctors, patients and also some of the most dangerous criminals. We also went to the Agra Central Jail’s high-security cell and interacted with the criminals to understand why they did what they did, and how they were dealing with the situation. It was a gruelling experience; hence, it made us understand how important it was for us to make this film with a unique perspective. We did a lot of reading and participated in workshops to bring that on-screen.
WA: How did your years as a theatre artist and an assistant director help you bring Sahil to life on-screen?
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February - March 2020