Director of films such as Drona (2008) and Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai (2001), filmmaker Goldie Behl has made his digital debut with ZEE5’s web series RejctX, a high school drama that premiered on July 25. He talks about web-streaming platforms, his fears and getting through tough times after wife Sonali Bendre was diagnosed with cancer.
Several Indian web series have come out in the recent past. Where does RejctX stand?
I have never played it safe when it comes to work. Many of the web series we’ve seen lately are intense dramas and thrillers that are often esoteric. I wanted to do a campus musical for a while. I produced a television show called Remix, between 2004 to 2006, and have been itching to do another. The younger generation will identify with it. Nowadays children are bolder and more confident. The show is a musical thriller set in a campus in Singapore and has students dealing with issues such as fat-shaming, gender fluidity and porn addiction. Sneha Khanwalkar has given the music, which has a lot of ’90s rap besides ballad and romantic songs. The show is based on my observations of the youth. Many people call today’s generation ‘entitled’ but I don’t see it that way. I feel that they haven’t seen any worse and we cannot blame them for that.
Where do you think you went wrong with projects such as Drona and I, Me Aur Main? Do you think you’ve found your calling in the digital format?
Yes, I would like to think so. In the past, I made movies where I tried to pack too much into one film and it got confusing. In a web series format, I can tell multiple stories with complex characters, which I find very exciting. I used to take criticism to heart, which was wrong. I have learnt to be more fearless.
I believe you stated that the web format pays more attention to content and not the star actors.
Yes, it does, and I think we are seeing that shift in films too. Unfortunately, it is strong content that makes the actor a star, and then he/she remains a star with the next project that focuses on them.
The past year has been difficult for you personally.
It has, but one has to be positive. I was in New York for Sonali’s cancer treatment and a lot of the writing was done there. I am glad we came through a tough time. I lost my father when I was 15 and that was the worst year of my life. I would say this is better than that.