Yogesh Raut, director and writer of hit TV series ‘Mano Ya Na Mano’ is making the first ever found footage Marathi horror film titled ‘Episode 13’. Based on a real life event where a family in Maharashtra locks themselves inside their home for a period of 8 years, this movie will be a thriller and the first of its kind ever in the Marathi film industry. The movie will be from the point of view of the camera (POV) and will cater to audiences who love horror films. Here are the excerpts from an interview with the director, Yogesh Raut.
1. Why did you choose to make a horror film in Marathi, when you could have easily turned to Bollywood?
These days Marathi Cinema is known for accepting genres which are hardly explored in other film industries of India. Marathi viewers and even filmmakers are more keen to explore new genres rather than looking at a film from a commercial aspect. My script needed unknown faces, actors who are not stars. I doubt I would have been welcomed wholeheartedly by Hindi producers or distributors.
Another reason I chose to make my film in Marathi is due to the lack of horror films in Marathi Cinema.
2. What are your expectations from the film?
My entire team and I have worked on creating something that has never been tried in Marathi Cinema. Each and everyone of us have worked hard and have given our best without expecting a single penny in return. I am sure the Marathi audience will be thrilled after watching our attempt to serve something different. Any filmmaker would love to see his/her film getting a big release. That’s the only expectation our entire team has right now.
3. Do you think Indian audiences, especially the Marathi film watching ones will be receptive of such a film?
As I said earlier, the Marathi audience love watching different genres. But when we started writing the script, even we were not sure about how the audience would react, but thankfully at the same time Dibaker Banerjee’s Love Sex aur Dhokha got an amazing response being a film of found footage genre. This was a good sign for us to complete the script as soon as possible.
4. Do you plan to dub the film in other languages?
These days every regional film industry is trying its best to attract their own audience as well as audience from other languages too. For example, critically acclaimed film ‘Court’ does not belong to one particular language. It is truly a multilingual film. I think people are more interested in the content rather than the language of a film. If your content is strong, people will come to watch it no matter what language your film belongs to. They just need good films with proper subtitles. Personally, I have always disliked the concept of dubbing films in other languages.
5. Tell us something about your cast and crew for ‘Episode 13’?
It was a first film experience for most of my crew including me. It is my first independent film as a director. My co-writer, Upendra Sidhaye, has written some gems like ‘Killa’ and ‘Mumbai Meri Jaan’. You will get to see him in a new avatar as one of the lead actors of Episode 13. Everyone have given their best.
6. Why did you choose the crowdfunding route?
To be very frank, no filmmaker would opt to crowdfund their movie. No one would like to see their film going ahead with uncertainty of reaching the target of funds in crowdfunding. But as an indie filmmaker, when your budget goes even a little higher than what you had planned earlier, I think crowdfunding comes as a saviour. Not only that, it gives you the opportunity to make your audience a part of the journey of film making which I think is amazing.
7. Do you think a horror film from the camera’s POV (point of view) works?
I think the best treatment for horror film is POV treatment. It gives your audience the feel of real life. POV treatment films does not have scary background music, exotic locations or a big budget set, instead it pushes you to become one of the characters of the horror story…. and that is scary!
8. Did you face any difficulties while shooting?
While shooting the movie, we had major issues working with a well known cinematographer. The treatment of the found footage should look raw but my then cinematographer was not ready to make the shots less beautiful.
Finally I had to take some cruel decisions and changed the cinematographer while shooting the film. After watching the outcome, I am glad that I took some harsh steps to save my film from being a beautiful looking montage of shots.
The indoor location, the bungalow was a place of defecation of that entire slum area. But this was the best location. I had no other option than finalising this location. It took weeks for us to clean the bungalow.
9. What is your target audience for ‘Episode 13’?
Finding the right audience for a horror film is tricky. You never know what kind of audience you will get for this genre especially when the whole target audience has never experienced found footage. But this film will definitely get appreciation from the multiplexes and youth from small towns and metro cities.
10. What message would you like to give to the people who are supporting you and waiting anxiously for ‘Episode 13’?
Episode 13 will be a totally different experience for Marathi audience as well as my funders. Most of my funders know nothing about found footage, but they do have faith in the movie and are excited to watch it. I am sure when the film is complete, my funders will realise their precious support for my entire team was not wasted. We would love to have you be a part of our journey. You can take a look at our crowdfunding campaign here.