Karan Lalit Bhutani, whose debut directorial Phamous will release on Friday, says it is an attempt to experiment with the western genre, which he feels has been unexplored so far in Indian cinema. The film’s actors Pankaj Tripathi, Kay Kay Menon and Jimmy Sheirgill, are hopeful that with the exposure to world cinema, the audience will be receptive towards the genre, which explores a power struggle in a rugged rural terrain.
Bhutani has earlier assisted Tigmanshu Dhulia, known for Paan Singh Tomar, set in Chambal — a factor common to Phamous. “Being a student of film studies, I have always had a huge influence from western cinema — films like ‘The Good The Bad and the Ugly’. In India, the western film is not well-explored genre and keeping the iconic film ‘Sholay’ aside, we really do not have many examples of films in this genre. So it was a conscious decision to try out this genre in my debut film,” Bhutani told IANS.
In the film, Kay Kay plays Kadar Singh who has a desire to gain power but is clear about his conscience and morals. “He can kill someone for a moral reason. Yes, he is such kind of a guy. He is clear in his head that he wants the power and at the same time does not want to compromise on morality,” Kay Kay said of his role.
Asked what makes this genre so attractive, he said, “This film of western genre, has its own charm. There are people who love to watch such film. This genre has its own style and that works.”
Bhutani said, “In such films, the bad guy is larger than life… The hero is an aspiring villain. So in this film, Kay Kay and Jimmy are depicting such characters.” To that, Jimmy added, “My character in the film is a young educated guy of Chambal who realises that like every other household and every other man, even he should have a gun. That will make him a ‘asli mard (real man’ who will be able to protect the family. But how his desire to own a gun to become ‘phamous’ puts him into trouble, is the story of my character.”
As the film revolves around power struggle, emphasising on the mood of the film and treatment of characters, Pankaj said, “My character is a very dark man who everybody would hate at the end of the film. But the treatment of the character is with so much complexity that audience will get hooked onto it. Such characterisation happens in this genre of film.”
A question arises that unless this genre of film is not accepted by the large mass audience, how will it gain popularity, and unless the genre becomes popular, why would more filmmakers take the risk to make such film?
It may be a niche genre, but that can be extended if more such films are made, said Jimmy.
Kay Kay said, “You cannot make film thinking about what audience is going to think, how to impress the audience and accordingly you write a script. No, that is wrong completely. One should write a good story and make a film with integrity. Then it should be released for audience. Then the audience should watch and decide.”
As a director, what is Bhutani’s expectation from the film?
“I think a film does not fail, its budget does. So I should make a film in such a budget where I should have the confidence that my producer will get its return. Beyond that, I cannot say much because the fate of the film is not in my hands,” said the Quentin Tarantino fan.