Many of us Indians
are film crazy, but not all of us venture out to make films. How did you
guys with no background in films decide to get into filmmaking?
Well, we just are a little more film crazy than most people then! It's
just that we have been watching films for a long while now. We would
have these huge discussions analyzing a film after we watched them -
from how we would ourselves make those films and what went wrong with
them, to admiration for stories, techniques, etc.
Soon we were making shorts, and we finally graduated to making our first
one-hour feature, shaadi.com. That it earned some good reviews at some
film festivals boosted our confidence and here we are with FLAVORS.
A Bollywood film director once told me during the course of an
interview that filmmaking is an art that is imbibed after years of
watching and learning from other established directors. There was a time
when a director would venture out to make a film only after he had spent
years on the sets assisting a director. Can film direction be
self-taught? Is passion for filmmaking enough to make a technically
Well passion is a must. Making a film is a long and hard process and
requires a lot of sacrifices - and the passion is the only thing that
keeps one going. But passion alone is not enough to make a good film.
What you say is true. Films are your teacher. You have to watch films to
learn and imbibe from them. But of course, you need to be able to
channel what you see into action. Being engineers - we have a certain
ability to analyze and break any huge project into modules small enough
to be manageable. That's what we did for filmmaking too - figure out all
the individual aspects and learn and implement each one.
A lot of people have an inborn talent. But we also believe that any
craft can be learnt if there is a corresponding interest. The more
passionate you are, the more you open yourself to learning the craft.
We have watched so many movies - loved some, hated some. So as part of
the discerning audience, we imbibed the good and the bad. And all that
came into play when we sat down to write our script.
We didn't jump into filmmaking or assist anyone, but we did start small
with short films. They were our way of testing how much we knew our
craft. We tested ourselves - we didn't want to make audiences scapegoats
as we learnt our craft! So that is why we took baby steps, slowly
getting bigger and bigger, and now we have our first feature film ready
to release this week.
Flavors is branded a crossover film. What exactly does this term
stand for? And what makes your crossover film different from others. To
extend the question a little, what qualities distinguish you from the
numerous other crossover filmmakers?
Actually, FLAVORS is not branded a crossover film. The term actually is
much hyped and much abused.
Essentially, a crossover film broadly means one that holds appeal for
audiences outside of its fixed ethnic demographic. If a film has
universal sensibilities and people can relate to its characters, that is
a crossover film.
Coming to FLAVORS, we call it a New Age film. It has modern
sensibilities, it is intelligently made, and it doesn't take the
audience for granted. And yes, we like to think it appeals to a global
audience, as we have seen from a number of screenings at some
prestigious film festivals that FLAVORS has been to. Audiences,
irrespective of ethnicity or language, seemed to have enjoyed the film
It is different from other films because, so far, movies we have seen
have told us how to feel, how to react, when to laugh and when to cry.
What we mean is that movies usually spoon feed you. And of course they
adhere to formula because people tend to be apprehensive about veering
away from formula.
We consider ourselves audience-turned-filmmakers not just
engineers-turned-filmmakers. So we decided to respect ourselves and
others and their intelligence and have tried to make an innovative film.
What audiences are you targeting with FLAVORS. Would you call
the movie innovative? If you do, what makes you certain that people are
eager for something different?
As we said earlier, we are appealing to a global audience. Because the
emotions, the language it speaks are universal. Like we keep saying, 'It
is the story of you and me, minus the boring parts.' Thoughts are the
same, feelings and emotions are the same, the world over. And that is
what we hope this film will do when it releases on July 16 - reach out
to the world audience.
But our immediate goal is to focus on the niche South Asian audiences
because it is our core audience. Let us see how things happen after the
Yes, FLAVORS is innovative. For us, technique and presentation is of
paramount importance, just as the content. That is why we chose a very
quirky, very non-linear structure - that has multiple storylines
intersecting each other to come together at the end. We also set the bar
high for ourselves with the main core thought behind FLAVORS - the world
is small, and everyone's connected.
To achieve those connections among the characters in FLAVORS, avoiding
loopholes, adhering to logic and yet making it entertaining was a huge
task. But we did manage to come up with an entertaining product, for all
Would you say your style of filmmaking has evolved after you first
ventured to make a mockumentary? Which filmmaker’s style has inspired
Well, we would like to think it has evolved! After you are done with
each movie, you equip yourself to make a better film. Sure, we do our
best with whatever film we are making. But at the end of it, we have to
evolve - it is a process of challenging ourselves by setting the bar
higher and higher. The day we stop evolving, we sill pursue some other
We respect a lot of filmmakers. But it is New Age filmmakers that we
admire most. They could be from anywhere, from any part of the world. So
rather than any specific director, it is the style that we are more keen
on. But yes, we have always admired the Coen brothers.
If you had to pick your Bollywood & Hollywood favorites, what
films (and filmmakers) )would figure on your list?
It's so tough to pick films like that! Well, in the last couple years,
we have liked Dil Chahta Hai and Company. And we have very high respect
for Mani Ratnam and Ra m Gopal Varma. In Hollywood, of course, the Coen
brothers. And Amelie.
How did Anupam and the Raj & Krishna duo get together.
Well, when we were making shaadi.com, we met Anupam Mittal, founder and
chairman of People Group that also owns the very popular portal,
We realized that we were incredibly like-minded, and just as passionate
as us in terms of the kind of films we want to make. He loved the idea
of our film, shaadi.com, and we tied up.
Then we decided we wanted to continue this association further. And so,
we remain together with FLAVORS as well. We are just very lucky we
What’s in the future for the Flavors threesome?
Films. And more films. All kinds of films! We are a very strong,
like-minded group right now, with Anupam, Raj, Krishna and Sita Menon,
and we just can't wait to make another film. And it is definitely going
to be another genre..