SKJ Bollywood News

An​shuman Jha Tells Subhash K Jha Why Horror  Is The Need Of The Hour

What prompted you to turn producer, and that too with a film where you don’t play the title role

​….​

unless you’re playing Mona Darling?​

 
​(Laughs)​

I am not hot or promiscuous enough for ​the director  Shashi

​ Sudigala​

to cast me as Mona. On a serious note, the film is bigger then the actor. I have believed that a good script is the biggest hero there can be. And we as actors can bring them to life. Mona

​ D

arling was offered to me in 2011 as an actor & was supposed to be my 2nd film after LSD. But for different reasons it didnt get made but I have believed in it since the first narration by Shashi Sudigala in 2011. And I wanted this script to come to life before anyone else made a film on this theme of Social Media. Also, Wiki Pedia as a character really attracted me as an actor as he’s an anti-social geek who looks at life as a game. I’m a bit of a geek in real & wanted to explore Wiki. I may produce something tomorrow which doesn’t even have me in the cast if the script excites me.

What made Mona Darling appealing enough to you to produce?
 I love thrillers & always wondered why don’t we make more. Considering there is an audience because Hollywood Thrillers do well here. This is the kind of high concept contemporary story –  A whodunit with a spice of paranormal & sci-fi – the kind of film, if well made, I would love to watch. So I decided not just to make it but make it well in terms of audio-visual quality which appeals to the youth as with Thrillers the world you create is paramount. Excel Entertainment has been a quality benchmark for me & First Ray Films will strive to make quality productions where the intent is to work with the best possible crew for a given genre.
Do you think horror as genre to be dependable at the boxoffice?
Nothing is dependable at the B.O. as there are so many variables at play – The Friday you come on, the cast, the genre, the P&A budget & then the story. Yes, Horror-Thriller-Whodunnit make audiences curious so that way may be. But eventually the picture has to work on the given Friday.
What do you feel about the horror  films being made in India by Mahesh Bhatt and Vikram Bhatt?
 I loved Raaz, the first one. Infact I saw it when it released at PVRAnupam in Saket Delhi and it was 20% full. And then saw it on Monday in week two & it was 80% full. The word of mouth on that film was phenomenonal. And that experience inspired me to go for Mona as word of mouth can make a film survive. Mahesh Bhatt & Vikram Bhatt both spoke with me after watching the trailer & have loved the energy & vibe of the trailer. Their suppport encourages me & I’m grateful, especially to Bhatt Saab whose support has been a shot in the arm. Also, mona_darling has no dayan or kaala jaadu or tantrik or kabristan or mangal sutra ki shakti, its a contemporary high concept whodunit – A Social Media Based Thriller –  which hasn’t been done in India before.
How do you view your struggle so far? What do you feel about actors from Bihar like Shatrughan SinhajiShekhar SumanSushant Singh Rajput and Gurmeet Chowdhary?
It

​’​

s been 15 years already – I was an intern AD on the sets of TereNaam as a teen. Every minute spent on a film set since has made me a better Actor. I feel the struggle always continues, just the levels keep changing. You just need to stay in the game.  I just dont give up. And thats all there is to me.

I respect Shatrughan Ji alot, infact been lucky to spend some time with him when I was Subhash Ghai’s AD. Shekhar Suman’s energy is infectious. And Sushant is probably one of the contemporary actors whose body of work on screen is inspiring. He nailed Dhoni like No one else could.
As a

​n actor

from  Bihar

​have you​

faced hurdles

​?

I haven’t faced anything major because I’m a Bihari but yes mild jabs from certain quarters do come & I ignore them. Its the world we live in & ignorance is bliss sometimes. Your work over the years has spoken & at the end of the day thats all that will matter. In fact, now that I’ve turned producer, a lot of people compliment my enterprising skills because I’m a Bihari. So it works both ways & I like to look at the positive side more. But lets just say “producing mona has taken a Bihari Ka Dimaag & a Miyan Bhai ki daring.”

What do you think about the way Biharis are portrayed in our films? Does the ‘Lalu’ stereotyping bother you?
I look at films as a mode of entertainment. And not get bothered by anything. Times have also changed & I don’t think that stereotyping exists anymore. And the credit for that goes to good writing.
Tell me about your forthcoming assignments?
Well last year I took a sabbatical from my two plays on stage “Dirty Talk & “The Boy Who Stopped Smiling”. And have ended up shooting for 4 films in 10 months. So Mona_Darling, followed by Nandita Das Produced “Pagla Ghoda” which is Directed by Bikas Mishra, followed by “Angrezi mein Kehte hain with Sanjay Mishra where I play a loud Benaras Boy. And lastly in BAFTA Nominee Ashvin Kumar’sNoor” where I will be seen as a young Army major . And since Theatre has been my lifeline as an actor, I’m also performing, once a month, in & as “Jhumroo” in India’s Biggest Bollywood Musical at Kingdom Of Dreams.
What do you see yourself doing in the next two years?
More films as an Actor now since I’ve taken a con

​s​

cious break from stage except Jhumroo. I have faced this opinion that I look like a bacha so hopefully I look grown up enough now at 30 to do more work. I’m a trained dancer, martial artist & I have been showcasing those skills on stage, hopefully I bring them on screen soon. And now that I have begun Producing, I will aim to do one film under First Ray Films every year. The World’s a stage! And I’m grateful to all the people who have supported me.

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