New Delhi, Dec 17 : "Horror is a very difficult genre to handle --- you can make it gory or all blood, but to do it intelligently and engage the audience without catering to their lower depths needs a lot of work and creativity.
And generally, people prefer bypassing hard work," says actor Adil Hussain, who was recently seen in Vijay Jayapal's 'Nirvana Inn', a horror/psychological thriller.
Stressing that it is difficult to come by an Indian script where the genre horror/paranormal is intelligently explored, Hussain, who was familiar with the director's earlier film 'Revelations' says that the role of an intensely guilt-ridden person desperately trying to run away from his past was a first for him.
"I have not played such a role before where the character is so driven by his guilt. I thought if I had to work in this genre, this was one the best scripts."
The actor, who has worked in multiple language films, and with some of the best directors in India and abroad considers himself the one of the luckiest actors in the country today, considering the sheer range of roles he has had an opportunity to play.
"Of course, I played the part of not accepting similar roles and vehemently pushed them back. They tried their best to box me in, something that was completely unacceptable to me. The fundamental purpose of art is to see the differences and the subtle nuances. Therefore, categorisation, boxing people and ideas is precisely against that idea of art which is about to see the layers, beauty and complexity.
And there are different kinds of actors -- some love to play their own personality, but I didn't want to do that.for me it was always about playing different roles and exploring my sub personalities as they say in the acting jargon."
Hussain, who has been working on his next theatre production -- a solo performance centering around the dialogue between Krishana and Arjuna says, "I am glad to have started work on that although it requires more time considering the slow and detailed approach."
The actor, who was part of Emmy-award winning series 'Delhi Crime' says that the entire cast and crew was aware about the delicate thematic essence while shooting and everyone was part of it because they had the drive to tell the story.
"While retaining the artistic aesthetics of the craft, we ensured that nothing was glorified or put down.
We didn't resort to any kind of violence despite it being a crime series, use gimmicks or cuss words just to engage the audience."
For an actor who has mostly worked in independent films, the recent decision of the Information (and) Broadcasting Ministry to regulate the digital medium is "tricky, sensitive and dicey".
He feels that the intent behind having the law also comes into play and it can be a double edged sword.
"Of course, not having any kind of censorship also gives birth to a strange kind of content which people seem to be consuming like junk food.
Point is, who will be the people regulating it? What is their expertise? I feel the committee should comprise those with established names in the field of psychology, psychiatry, history, aesthetics and artists of highest order, who understands things deeply and have a very wide and open view.
You simply cannot have IAS officers or actors there."
At present working on the Indo-British production 'Footprints on Water' in the UK, Hussain admits that while a lot of original content has been produced lately, much more attention needs to be paid to the writing department, considering everyone seems to be banking on crime and thrillers.
"When a society is made into a market society, these are the consequences. Writing is neglected the most in India, one reason being that things have worked without good writing.
"We have great novelists, short story writers -- they should be engaged. There needs to be a collaboration between these writers and screenplay writers so that we bring in 'cinema literature' just like 'drama literature' that we studied at NSD -- Shakespeare, Ibsen, Kafka, Tagore and Kalidasa.
One sees some great cinema and series from the west derived from great writing. But then, great writing for has happened here too -- Tapan Sinha in Bengali cinema, alternate Tamil and Malalayee cinema.
People in charge of spending money need to be educated, corporate heads and content hunters must allow the audience to see something more finer and evolved."
(Sukant Deepak can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)