Hello Folks! In this episode of #blabwithsandy, we have director-writer Vishal Ranjan Mishra with us. Vishal Ranjan Mishra debuted as a director with ‘Coffee with D’, and followed it up with ‘Hotel Milan’, ‘Marudhar Express’, which are known for its satirical yet realistic approach towards story telling. He has a beeline of films coming up, starting with ‘Ae Kaash Ke Hum’, ‘Rosie – the Saffron Chapter’, and ‘Iti’. Let’s wait no further and dive into the exciting blab I had with him:
Sandy: Hello, Sirji! Hope you are doing as good as your stories. 🙂
Vishal Ranjan Mishra: Ha-ha! I’m doing well, Sandy. Thank you!
Sandy: Even before we talk about films, would want to know about your early background.
Vishal Ranjan Mishra: My parents are doctors. My dad is an eye surgeon. I belong to Kanpur, UP, and grew up around a small town culture. I was a meritorious student and completed my MBA in Fashion Marketing from NIFT, Bangalore. I worked in Mumbai, Gurugram, and Dubai. I left my job in 2009 and I’d directed a short film titled ‘The Musk’, which won an award at the Cairo International Film Festival.
I came to Mumbai in 2012 to become a director but needed an entry. Thus, I started a film website ‘Box Office Capsule’ to help me get a foothold in the industry. Interestingly, my website was the only one which used to predict accurate box office collections. My website even caught the eyes of Tusshar Kapoor and Deepika Padukone during its initial years.
Sandy: That seems to be a really interesting and a gritty journey. How and when did you get your first break or rather, give yourself your first break? 🙂
Vishal Ranjan Mishra: In 2014, I got a project with Govinda and Vashu Bhagnani which eventually did not happen. In 2015, there was a opportunity to direct Himesh Reshammiya which was under the banner of Zee but that too could not materialize.
I started making ‘Coffee with D’ in 2016. The film was comical satire starring Sunil Grover and Pankaj Tripathi. It’s a satirical take of a fictional interview between Arnab Goswami and Dawood Ibrahim in Karachi. I’d also received calls from Chota Shakeel and Dawood during its release and it became a huge controversy. Netflix took over the film and it still brings me name.
Sandy: Your next bunch of films ‘Hotel Milan’ and ‘Marudhar Express’ had Kunal Roy Kapoor in it. The first being a political satire and the latter being a Comedy Drama. You seem to tick mark all the genres with each of your films. 🙂
Vishal Ranjan Mishra: Ha-ha! My upcoming films are of the romance, horror, and thriller genre. So, yes, I agree with you. ‘Hotel Milan’ and ‘Marudhar Express’ had Kunal Roy Kapoor as the lead. Marudhar Express was a slice of life kind of a film, on the lines of the 1970s and 80s. Those are the films that I love to watch. Hotel Milan was banned for a theatrical release as it was a subject against the Aditya Nath government.
Sandy: Your film ‘Ae Kaash Ke Hum’ starring Vivaan Shah, Priya Singh and Sophia Singh was set to release early this year. When is it coming out, and what can the audience expect from this film?
Vishal Ranjan Mishra: I really look up to Shah Rukh Khan and like his kind of love stories. ‘Ae Kaash Ke Hum’ follows his genre of romantic films. It’s a small cute film set in a school campus. I launched Priya Singh with a song in ‘Marudhar Express’ and she definitely is a great find. The film is also a dark tragedy amidst being a school romance. Due to the lockdown, it got stuck without a release. The film is poised to release in January/February.
Sandy: Your upcoming film ‘Iti’ with Vivek Oberoi has been buzzing ever since its announcement. What’s it going to be about?
Vishal Ranjan Mishra: “Iti – Can you solve your own murder?” There has been no film made in any language in the world, wherein the main character is solving own murder. It has Vivek Oberoi in the lead role and its going to be an exciting thriller. We are planning to shot the film from April onwards at Europe.
I am very lucky to find a producer like Prerna V Arora who has given mammoth hits like Padman, Rustom and Toilet. She has signed next for these films – ITI and Rosie, and she is the ideal passionate producer a director can ask for.
Sandy: Another film of yours which is also having an interesting buzz around it as ‘Rosie – The Saffron Chapter”. It has Shweta Tiwari ji’s daughter Palak as the main lead. The title and first look motion poster are really intriguing. Vivek Oberoi collaborates with you yet again for this one.
Vishal Ranjan Mishra: Thank you, Sandy! If you go and search ‘rose saffron bpo” on Google search, you will be shocked to see what it reads! It’s a real life horror tale based on a real incident in 2003. A girl used to work at a BPO even after 8 years of her death. Isn’t it interesting? Rosie – The Saffron Chapter is going to give you horror chills.
Talking about Vivek Oberoi, he is part of two of my films back-to-back and he is also producing it. I and Vivek share a long standing friendship and also a spiritual connection. I am very happy to collaborate with him and excited to kick-start the shoot of the films.
Sandy: Do you think your films could have done much better at the box office or are you happy with their outcome?
Vishal Ranjan Mishra: I am very happy as a director. I have never seen those films only as a commercial success but I see to it that my producer is not losing money. My films have all been controversial and edgy, which have been banned in India too! I have my own sense of cinema and I love to make films on controversial subjects. I love cinema and I make it a point to watch 2 films a day and that’s my most defined rule.
Now, it’s all about market pressure. ‘Iti’ is being made at a budget of 15 crores while ‘Rosie’ stands at 10 crores. I am having a big producer and a bigger actor and things are going to be bigger going forward. I will be trying a horror and a thriller genre for the first time and its going to be an exciting time ahead.
Quick Shot Round:
- Biggest regret: Probably not to pursue my hobby of poetry early
- If you are given a chance to make any change(s) to your previous film(s), what would it be? I will change a few portions in the first half of ‘Hotel Milan’. It were a little commercial and it could have been a little more brave
- Good and bad about the film industry: If you are worthy enough, you will succeed not matter how many times you fail. The bad thing is that there is a category for good and bad films
- Your worst habit: I should try to sleep more. Since the past 20 years, I’ve been sleeping only for 3-4 hours a day
- Vivek Oberoi: Big brother
- Favorite Genre: Crime/Thriller
- If you could barter your profession for a day, it would be with: It has to be with an Army Man
- Actor(s) you’d like to work with: Probably only one person – SRK. I met him 5-6 times and I cherish those moments. Maybe, I also wouldn’t want to work with him. My perception towards him may change or if the film won’t do well, I would be really sad. Tricky! 🙂
- If you were stuck in a lift and can have two other film personalities tagged along, who would you want them to be? Shah Rukh Khan always! But, to give other names, it would be Yash Chopra and Dibakar Banerjee
Sandy: What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming year?
Vishal Ranjan Mishra: All my films belong to different genre. My target is to make 8-10 films in the coming few years in totally different genres. Coffee with D was a satire, while Marudhar Express was a small town rom-com.
Hotel Milan was a political satire while Ae Kaash Ke Hum is an issue based campus story. Rosie is going to be a horror flick while Iti is a thriller. I would like to make a relationship drama, followed up with a biopic.
Sandy: Any piece of advice you’d like to give to the newcomers entering the industry?
Vishal Ranjan Mishra: Stick to your guns and when the time is right, try harder and things shall fall into place. Make what you want and try to be original.
Sandy: A few words about ‘Iti’ and ‘Rosie’ to all the readers and film lovers.
Vishal Ranjan Mishra: ‘Rosie’ starts its shoot this December. It will give you chills down the spine. Coming to ‘Iti’, I can guarantee that it shall be a never seen before thriller!
Editor’s note: It has been an immense pleasure chatting with Vishal Ranjan Mishra. He’d asked me to check about ‘Rose Saffron BPO’ on the internet and to my amusement, the story shook me. Just by reading it, I felt the shivers, so I would leave the imagination to you all about how it would feel while viewing the film. Vishal Ranjan Mishra is bringing different subjects to the industry and its our duty to embrace his stories with open arms. Sirji (as I address him), wishing you a blissful cinematic journey ahead, filled with whistles and cheers!
Interview by Sandy (Sandeep Ra0)
Follow Sandy @blabwithsandy
Follow Vishal Ranjan Mishra @visalmisra