Abhishek Pathak Interview: I took up the challenge to direct Drishyam 2 and make my own version of it

Abhishek Pathak Interview: I took up the challenge to direct Drishyam 2 and make my own version of it – Times of India

In 2015, Abhishek Pathak co-produced Drishyam, directed by Nishikant Kamat, which went on to be a successful film. Back then, little did he know that seven years down the line he would be helming the sequel to the Ajay Devgn, Tabu starrer. As he talks about taking up the challenge of making his own version of Drishyam 2 (which is the remake of a Malayalam film of the same name), Abhishek opens up about taking the baton ahead from Nishikant Kamat and feeling intimidated while directing senior actors like Ajay Devgn, Tabu and Akshaye Khanna. Read on…
2019 saw the release of your directorial debut, Ujda Chaman and you followed it up with Drishyam 2. For someone who’s new to direction, was it unnerving to helm a sequel whose first part has enjoyed success and acclaim?

When we bought the rights of Drishyam 2, I never intended to direct it. But in Nishi sir’s (director of Drishyam, Nishikant Kamath, who passed away in 2020) absence, we had to find someone to helm this project.
A few months before we went on the floors, my dad (producer Kumar Mangat Pathak) asked me, ‘Why don’t you think about it?’ But then, I didn’t want to direct a remake, especially when someone has set a benchmark. It is when a lot of people around me said that I should think about it, that I took it up as a challenge to make my own version of it. I worked with writer Aamil Keeyan Khan and it took me a good 7-8 months to rewrite the entire screenplay. Making a remake, which has won so much love, is a big responsibility and I just wanted to do it correctly. First, Jeethu Joseph (director of Malayalam, Drishyam) set a benchmark, then Nishi sir set a benchmark, so I had to follow a certain route. I had to be loyal to the world that was already created, but at the same time, I had the liberty to be creative as the story unfolds seven years later. I thought I would be the right person as I have lived that film with Nishi sir while he was directing it. I was there during the shoot of the film. Finally, I did it and I am very happy and satisfied with what I have done.
The original Drishyam 2 starring Mohanlal released in 2021 and in the current phase we are seeing that remakes aren’t working, given that the original content is available in the digital space with subtitles already. So, as you took up the challenge of the remake with your own version, what changes did you introduce to the script in order to keep it afresh?

I think people are already finding it a little different. Not all viewers prefer watching films with subtitles. Like, even I don’t watch a film that way. You keep reading the subs rather than watching the visuals. It is not a good experience, especially while watching thrillers. That’s something which will help this film and push it to reach its major audience. When we made the earlier part of the story, people loved it. This is a continuation of that tale, of what happens to Vijay Salgaonkar… yeh sabko jaana hai. Trailer mein ek line hai… Mera naam Vijay Salgaonkar hai, aur yeh mera confession hai, and after seeing that scene in the trailer, I have had people asking me, ‘Yaar, yeh confess karta hai ya nahi?’. So, I am assuming that not all people have seen the Malayalam version. That apart, yes, we have got a few characters back in the film (from part one), like sub-inspector Gaitonde (played by Kamlesh Sawant). This character isn’t there in the Malayalam version of Drishyam 2. We thought we should get him back as he was an interesting character in the earlier part. Akshaye (Khanna) sir’s character as a cop is there in the Malayalam film, but we have done it differently. In the first film, it was Ajay Devgn versus Tabu, this time around I wanted it to go a notch higher, so I rewrote the entire character of the cop.

One of the characters who people enjoyed watching in the first instalment was Tabu’s. How did you plan to take the character ahead especially with the introduction of Akshaye’s part in the film?

Tabu ma’am’s character had resigned. I had to get a new cop in the picture, who drives the entire game for the Drishyam finale. But as you said, people loved watching Tabu ma’am on screen, and so, we made sure to add a few scenes and make her part of the setting. Now again, that is another change we introduced to the screenplay, which is different from the Malayalam version. Here we have got (Tabu) in a meatier role where she is trying to find the whole truth behind this case. On the other hand, Akshaye sir is going to be a surprise in this film, because there is a world already set where a new character is stepping in. When we were at the scripting stage, I could see him playing this role. I am glad that he came on board as the reaction he is getting for his part in the trailer is really good.

As a fairly new director, did it get intimidating to direct senior actors like Ajay, Akshaye and Tabu on set?

It is exciting to work with actors like Ajay sir, Akshaye sir, Tabu ma’am and even Kamlesh Sawant (who plays Gaitonde). And yes, it was definitely intimidating working with them, though in the past I have worked with Ajay sir in the capacity of a producer. This time, a day before the shoot I could not sleep the entire night wondering how do I even tell this brilliant talent what is to be done. You have always seen Ajay sir do wonders on screen, and suddenly, you have to go and tell him what you want him to do in a particular scene. That made me nervous. As we moved on, everyone got comfortable with the idea of me heading this film and then it became easy for me, too.

As a producer you have worked on multiple films, how comfortable are you taking charge of a project as a director?

I did production because my dad was producing movies and I became a part of it. Direction is something that I wanted to do. I liked the whole process of production, but I always wanted to be a director. Direction is my passion and production is a business, which I am running at the same time. A producer has certain control, whereas a director has complete control of the creative side of a film and that is what I am looking for.

A couple of months ago, actress Shivaleeka Oberoi and you made your relationship Insta official. Is the wedding going to happen anytime soon?
I’ve told Shivaleeka to let this film release and then we will sit down and plan everything. It is a big step in my life that I will be taking, so I don’t want to be bogged down by work stress. Shivaleeka and I have known each other since Khuda Haafiz (2020). We collaborated on that film, and it was during the promotions that we started chatting a lot. Then during the lockdown, we bonded a little more. We loved and enjoyed each other’s company and after a year, we became certain about entering this new chapter of our life. In 2015, Abhishek Pathak co-produced Drishyam, directed by Nishikant Kamat, which went on to be a successful film. Back then, little did he know that seven years down the line he would be helming the sequel to the Ajay Devgn, Tabu starrer. As he talks about taking up the challenge of making his own version of Drishyam 2 (which is the remake of a Malayalam film of the same name), Abhishek opens up about taking the baton ahead from Nishikant Kamat and feeling intimidated while directing senior actors like Ajay Devgn, Tabu and Akshaye Khanna. Read on…
2019 saw the release of your directorial debut, Ujda Chaman and you followed it up with Drishyam 2. For someone who’s new to direction, was it unnerving to helm a sequel whose first part has enjoyed success and acclaim?

When we bought the rights of Drishyam 2, I never intended to direct it. But in Nishi sir’s (director of Drishyam, Nishikant Kamath, who passed away in 2020) absence, we had to find someone to helm this project.
A few months before we went on the floors, my dad (producer Kumar Mangat Pathak) asked me, ‘Why don’t you think about it?’ But then, I didn’t want to direct a remake, especially when someone has set a benchmark. It is when a lot of people around me said that I should think about it, that I took it up as a challenge to make my own version of it. I worked with writer Aamil Keeyan Khan and it took me a good 7-8 months to rewrite the entire screenplay. Making a remake, which has won so much love, is a big responsibility and I just wanted to do it correctly. First, Jeethu Joseph (director of Malayalam, Drishyam) set a benchmark, then Nishi sir set a benchmark, so I had to follow a certain route. I had to be loyal to the world that was already created, but at the same time, I had the liberty to be creative as the story unfolds seven years later. I thought I would be the right person as I have lived that film with Nishi sir while he was directing it. I was there during the shoot of the film. Finally, I did it and I am very happy and satisfied with what I have done.
The original Drishyam 2 starring Mohanlal released in 2021 and in the current phase we are seeing that remakes aren’t working, given that the original content is available in the digital space with subtitles already. So, as you took up the challenge of the remake with your own version, what changes did you introduce to the script in order to keep it afresh?

I think people are already finding it a little different. Not all viewers prefer watching films with subtitles. Like, even I don’t watch a film that way. You keep reading the subs rather than watching the visuals. It is not a good experience, especially while watching thrillers. That’s something which will help this film and push it to reach its major audience. When we made the earlier part of the story, people loved it. This is a continuation of that tale, of what happens to Vijay Salgaonkar… yeh sabko jaana hai. Trailer mein ek line hai… Mera naam Vijay Salgaonkar hai, aur yeh mera confession hai, and after seeing that scene in the trailer, I have had people asking me, ‘Yaar, yeh confess karta hai ya nahi?’. So, I am assuming that not all people have seen the Malayalam version. That apart, yes, we have got a few characters back in the film (from part one), like sub-inspector Gaitonde (played by Kamlesh Sawant). This character isn’t there in the Malayalam version of Drishyam 2. We thought we should get him back as he was an interesting character in the earlier part. Akshaye (Khanna) sir’s character as a cop is there in the Malayalam film, but we have done it differently. In the first film, it was Ajay Devgn versus Tabu, this time around I wanted it to go a notch higher, so I rewrote the entire character of the cop.

One of the characters who people enjoyed watching in the first instalment was Tabu’s. How did you plan to take the character ahead especially with the introduction of Akshaye’s part in the film?

Tabu ma’am’s character had resigned. I had to get a new cop in the picture, who drives the entire game for the Drishyam finale. But as you said, people loved watching Tabu ma’am on screen, and so, we made sure to add a few scenes and make her part of the setting. Now again, that is another change we introduced to the screenplay, which is different from the Malayalam version. Here we have got (Tabu) in a meatier role where she is trying to find the whole truth behind this case. On the other hand, Akshaye sir is going to be a surprise in this film, because there is a world already set where a new character is stepping in. When we were at the scripting stage, I could see him playing this role. I am glad that he came on board as the reaction he is getting for his part in the trailer is really good.

As a fairly new director, did it get intimidating to direct senior actors like Ajay, Akshaye and Tabu on set?

It is exciting to work with actors like Ajay sir, Akshaye sir, Tabu ma’am and even Kamlesh Sawant (who plays Gaitonde). And yes, it was definitely intimidating working with them, though in the past I have worked with Ajay sir in the capacity of a producer. This time, a day before the shoot I could not sleep the entire night wondering how do I even tell this brilliant talent what is to be done. You have always seen Ajay sir do wonders on screen, and suddenly, you have to go and tell him what you want him to do in a particular scene. That made me nervous. As we moved on, everyone got comfortable with the idea of me heading this film and then it became easy for me, too.

As a producer you have worked on multiple films, how comfortable are you taking charge of a project as a director?

I did production because my dad was producing movies and I became a part of it. Direction is something that I wanted to do. I liked the whole process of production, but I always wanted to be a director. Direction is my passion and production is a business, which I am running at the same time. A producer has certain control, whereas a director has complete control of the creative side of a film and that is what I am looking for.

A couple of months ago, actress Shivaleeka Oberoi and you made your relationship Insta official. Is the wedding going to happen anytime soon?
I’ve told Shivaleeka to let this film release and then we will sit down and plan everything. It is a big step in my life that I will be taking, so I don’t want to be bogged down by work stress. Shivaleeka and I have known each other since Khuda Haafiz (2020). We collaborated on that film, and it was during the promotions that we started chatting a lot. Then during the lockdown, we bonded a little more. We loved and enjoyed each other’s company and after a year, we became certain about entering this new chapter of our life.

Source:https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/abhishek-pathak-interview-i-took-up-the-challenge-to-direct-drishyam-2-and-make-my-own-version-of-it/articleshow/95473088.cms

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