Vikram Bhatt has been a prolific filmmaker in the thriller genre, giving us movies like Kasoor, Raaz and 1920. “Thrillers, like love stories, will never go out of fashion,” he says. Bhatt has also written films, including Dastak, Aetbaar and Hate Story. His recent film as a writer, Dangerous, starring Bipasha Basu and Karan Singh Grover, is currently streaming on MX Player.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Bhatt spoke about the thriller genre and working with Bipasha Basu. He also revealed whether he can remake Raaz today.
Q. How do you get thrillers right?
Luckily for me, the audience is clever. I think a thriller is about the improbable, which you have to make probable. Like you’d feel this character could never commit a murder, that’s improbable. But logic and motivation make it plausible. Ah! I just gave my secret away!
Q. How much do you keep the actor in mind while writing a story?
When I’m writing, after a point, I don’t do that. Because then you become too rigid in your imagination. Ultimately, films are a director’s medium. Once you’ve written the script, it is up to the director how he visualises it and what actors he feels will fit in. You have to stop interfering. I think that’s what a writer should do once he hands over the script to the director.
Q. Do you ever worry about your message not being conveyed well enough to the audience?
It can happen. At some point, you have to stop working for the end result and start enjoying the process, because if you are goal-oriented, the process becomes miserable. You don’t have much control over the end in any case. The films that have been miserable for me as a director have not done well. Some films I enjoyed making have also not done well, but at least I had fun in the process.
Q. Dangerous reunites you with Bipasha. How has your equation with her changed over the years?
I think she is living a semi-domesticated life, or I should say she has semi-domesticated Karan (Singh Grover). She has always been dedicated and passionate about her work. I think she still looks a million bucks. She’s kept herself in shape and relevant. The best thing about Bipasha is she’s not desperate about work.
A lot of women actors decide to latch onto big stars and think that’s what a film career is all about. That might be stardom, but not acting. In a big star film, you are going to get just one or two songs. But there have been a lot of actresses who decided to take a film on their shoulders. When you do that, you take the responsibility for the success or failure of the film. And Bipasha has been one such actress, who’s made a career by not working with the big guys. She got success without walking the trodden path. That’s what’s special about her.
Q. Bipasha said you understand the pulse of a woman in your stories. What do you say about that?
I don’t know if I understand women’s stories, but I don’t see men and women differently. I see a character as genderless. Let’s just say I don’t have a misogynistic approach to writing, and that perhaps shows in my understanding of women — which probably means not misunderstanding them.
Q. Do you think you can recreate a Raaz given today’s audience?
I don’t know how I made it in the first place. I don’t think films are made, they just happen. I shot an arrow in the air. You try to make the film to the best of your ability. The only way to not make a flop film is not make a film at all.
Q. In the more than two decades, how do you think the audience’s attitude towards the genre has changed?
Today, the audience is smarter and you can’t take liberties with common sense. When you are writing thrillers, everything has to be researched now — poisons, guns, bullets. You can’t fire a bullet from one gun and find the cartridge of another. The audience is very clever. If they see one hole, the entire plot falls.
Q. You’ve tried other genres like comedy. Why don’t you do that now?
I’m very impatient when I want to make a film. I don’t want to wait for actors. Deewane Huye Paagal and Awara Paagal Deewana had a huge cast. There are directors who are ready to wait for three months or three years to make one film. I would go bananas if I had to do that.
Q. A film of yours which you’d like to remake and improve if given a chance?
What is done is done. It was an attempt, and if it didn’t work, there was something wrong in it. If you want to be in the business of entertainment, you should not delve so much into the past. You must learn your lesson and move on. If I want to recreate the past, it means I’m not thinking enough about new ideas and the future.
Q. How do you see films releasing on OTT platforms?
That is a reflection of the times we are in right now, but it’s not permanent. It’ll change. Film theaters will come back. People just need to have that confidence that they won’t die watching a movie.