What’s the best thing about your film that will be showcased at Cannes this month?
It’s surreal! I went online and showed my mom the reports, she then convinced dad that it was indeed a big deal. She compared what was happening to the prize I got in school. That comparison keeps me grounded.
Did working with Michael Winterbottom on Trishna help you in your directorial debut?
This film wouldn’t have shaped up if I had not worked with Michael so closely. He works in a detached and objective manner. He isn’t emotionally involved with his films so he can be relentless while editing them. Working with him has given me a larger perspective.
You’ve worked with Anurag Kashyap closely over the years on films like Gulaal (2009) and Dev.D (2009). Was is easy to switch to branch out?
This is not the first time that I let go. If Anurag had played safe, he wouldn’t have been the filmmaker he is today. He warned me that I was immature and rushing things. But with my team behind me, I was pretty confident that I could make Peddlers, with or without Anurag.
The fights with Anurag were intense and serious when we started the film. Producer Guneet Monga crowd sourced and charted out a plan to finance it. That gave me the freedom to make it the way I wanted. The first cut was three hours long. When Anurag saw it, he said, “it might go somewhere.” That was motivating.
Is Peddlers a dark film?
The film is dark in treatment and was shot in 31 days. We have shown Mumbai as a ghost town with empty streets and people locked in their homes. There are no landmarks like Dharavi, Gateway of India or Mohammad Ali Road.
The film follows three very guarded and scarred people and talks about how childhood experiences shape them into complex individuals. It shows how under a calm demeanour, beneath an
articulate, civil façade, everyone is a vulnerable ticking bomb.