Working with young actors in Pataakha was liberating: Vishal Bhardwaj
The filmmaker launches the first song of his upcoming film, Pataakha, in Mumbai
Dysfunctional sibling relationships are a running theme in Vishal Bhardwaj's films. His debut directorial, Makdee (2003), was a children's comedy horror flick focusing on two twin sisters - Chunni and Munni - who get entrapped by an imposter posing as a witch. In Kaminey (2009), Shahid Kapoor doubled as the lisping and stuttering twins, Charlie and Guddu. A similar crucible is sighted in Bhardwaj's upcoming film, Pataakhaa, in which Radhika Madan and Sanya Malhotra play two perpetually warring sisters who are married - by a twist of faith - into the same household. Based on a Hindi short story by Charan Singh Pathik, Pataakhaa features a young cast of characters and marks an interesting shift from Bhardwaj's previous star-driven films.
"I really wanted to work with a fresh and energetic set of actors this time. It took me back to my earlier days when I used to thoroughly enjoy the process of filmmaking. It was very liberating. Filmmaker Mani Ratnam once told me that working with new actors makes you feel released from slavery," Bhardwaj said at the launch of the song 'Balma' in Mumbai.
Besides Radhika and Sanya, Pataakhaa stars Sunil Grover, Vijay Raaz, Natim Das, Abhishek Duhan and Saanand Verma. Speaking about the honour of acting in a 'Vishal Bhardwaj film', Sunil Grover recalled, "When I got a phone call from Vishal sir, I couldn't hold my excitement. I wanted to shout and scream. For any actor, it's a dream to work with Vishal Bhardwaj. The characters he writes and the way he approaches his material are impeccable. I play a modern-day 'Narad Muni' in the film who loves creating trouble in people's lives."
Commenting on her feature film debut, Radhika, an established TV actress, said, "I have been working in television for a while. I wanted to do something creatively satisfying for a change, whether it were in TV, films or web. The opportunity came in a big way when I was selected for Pataakha. I and Sanya had to gain weight for the second half of the film, for which we had to gorge on food. There are real fight scenes between me and her that are shot in actually heaps of cow-dung. The experience of working on this film was crazy and immensely satisfying."
Before Pataakha, Vishal Bhardwaj was in news for prepping a project with Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan. The project, however, was shelved after Irrfan was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour and moved to London for treatment. Speaking about the film Bhardwaj added, "We all want Irrfan Khan to return to the pink of his health. More than a friend, I am missing him as an audience. I just want to see him back on the screen, whether in my film or somebody else's."
Pataakha is produced by KYTA Productions and Vishal Bhardwaj Films. The film is set in present-day rural Rajasthan. The music has been composed by Bhardwaj himself with lyrics from Gulzar. The film is scheduled for release on September 28.