‘Water is going to be a huge problem’

Debarati Palit Singh
Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Filmmaker Vikramaditya Motwane talks about why he chose water as the central theme for his film, and why he decided to make the action sequences realistic

Vikramaditya Motwane’s latest film Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (releasing on June 1), revolves around  water crisis. The vigilante film, starring Harshvardhan Kapoor, highlights the water mafia in Mumbai. The reason Vikramaditya decided to focus on this issue is because water affects everybody and at every level. 

“It’s a problem that we all have and I feel that it’s something that if we don’t tackle now, will come to the surface. We think that monsoon will arrive and the rainwater will replenish water bodies but look at what’s happening in Bengaluru. The city has a huge water shortage and it is going dry because there is no foresight. Everyone thinks, ‘We will tackle it when it happens after five years’. It’s an absolutely wrong way of handling the issue. We should prepare for it now,” says the Udaan and Lootera filmmaker. 

He further says that most cities don’t have a proper water supply system. “One bad monsoon is a problem and no one is talking about water harvesting. Ultimately, the situation will be beyond repair, so I thought I should highlight it now,” he quips.  

Apart from the water problem, there are several other civic issues that concerns him as an individual. “There are so many problems in India especially the kind of infrastructure, traffic management, tax collection, pollution control, cleanliness and hygiene, water harvesting and so on in a city like Mumbai. We really need to work on these issues,” he says. 

As a society, we have restricted ourselves to just reacting on social media. We tweet about issues that are bothering us and our society. But we need to go beyond this and do actual work to bring about change. 

Vikramaditya cannot agree more. “Absolutely. Most of us live in a bubble — we live in AC rooms, travel by AC cars, visit AC malls. But we need to break out of our bubble. Having said that, our cities lack basic infrastructure and amenities. For example, I love walking outdoors but where do I walk? We don’t have the right facilities.  However, we can’t keep pointing fingers at the government all the time. There are certain things we need to do on our own like cleaning the garbage. There are enough people, activists and NGOs who are doing the stuff, you just need to back them up both physically and financially,” he says.   

Hollywood has produced some very popular vigilante films like Batman series, Spiderman series, Zorro films, Death Wish and others. But it’s a rarely touched genre in Bollywood. How different is Bhavesh Joshi?

“Bhavesh Joshi is a cottage industry superhero, he doesn’t have money, he isn’t cool but he wants to do the right thing. He is inspired by Batman but he can’t be like him. It’s about someone who wants to be a superhero because there is no other way to solve a problem and he has to be a vigilante and solve it. In that way, it’s very similar to all other vigilante films,” says Vikramaditya while promoting the film.  

Usually, filmmakers go overboard with vigilante/ superhero films with never-seen-before action scenes, computer generated imagery (CGI). But the action scenes in Bhavesh Joshi Superhero are realistic, which Vikramaditya says are more fun. 

“When you have such realistic scenes, they do more for me than having fantasy sequences like in Avenger series where a lot of things get blown up. Films like Die Hard is much more interesting in terms of action because it puts a real person in a real situation,” he explains.  

The film took almost five years to make. Ask him how much has the script changed since the beginning considering that the socio-political scenario has changed in the country in the last few months and he says, “A lot has changed. Initially when I wrote it, my script was about a boy who wants to take revenge on this creep, then it became a boy standing for a park land and then it became about construction mafia, water problem. It’s changed over time because when I was writing about park land, these issues were happening back then. Over the period of time, you cannot keep the same script, you have to change it. It has to be more relevant and current.”   

Also explaining the delay in the film, Vikramaditya says, “When you approach certain actors and it doesn’t work out, you go to others and it takes time.” 

The film was originally offered to Imran Khan and then there were reports about Shahid Kapoor being approached for the role. But newcomer Harshvardhan was signed on. Why did he think that a newcomer could pull off the role considering such characters are complex in nature? 

“I was looking for someone who is earnest, sincere and slightly lost. He had this quality where he feels like he is lost but at the same time he wants to do the right thing because of which I felt that he is the right guy,” says Vikramaditya adding, “It’s not like young actors cannot do layered characters. It definitely works when you have experienced actors but it also requires a lot of sincerity and honesty to play a certain part than having someone who is experienced and starts to feel a little rehearsed.”

Vikramaditya has worked with Ranveer Singh (Lootera), Rajkummar Rao (Trapped) and each one has their own style of acting. Ask him about his experience and Vikramaditya says, “With every actor it’s different and you have to adapt yourself according to them. Some actors gets it in the first take, there are others who get better and better in every take, and then there are those who try different things and you find the best on the editing. Ranveer, for example, takes more takes and gets better; Rajkummar nails it in the first take. They all are great actors but you have to understand that they are human beings and they have to be comfortable also,” says the filmmaker before signing off. 

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