Never in the history of Indian cinema would you have heard of a film that scares you but brings society into relevance as well. Vishal Furia’s Lapachhapi is one important film in that regard.

This Marathi film has traveled to Brooklyn and Madrid film festival and has received massive adulation and success. Not to forget the awards. The film will be showcased at the NFDC Film Bazaar this year, where it has also made its place secure in the Film Bazaar Recommends’ section of films.

We caught up with Vishal Furia, the director of the film to know more about this unique experiment of cinema which is gaining fans across the globe rapidly.

Q: The genre of your film is Horror and social drama. This is something that I have never heard yet. Tell us a bit about it.

A: While writing the film, there was no such thought that it had to be such a genre. Somehow it connected to the social drama also. That is how we gave it a social relevance as well. It is a socially relevant film, I would say. This film does not preach anything. It tells a powerful story.

Along with horror, it has a strong social angle to it.

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Pooja Sawant in a scary sequence from the movie Lapachhapi

Q: Tell something about yourself. Where do you come from and how did the inclination towards films happen?

A: I was pursuing engineering and in middle of doing it, I figured out that it was not my thing. I did not complete engineering and left it. I was very interested in VFX. I thought of going into VFX and then go into direction. I always believed that direction cannot be taught. You cannot teach someone how to tell a story. In the same way, you cannot teach anyone how to direct a film.

You can teach the technicality of the trade but not the art. So, I did not pursue VFX as a direction course but out of interest. I was a VFX artist for 4-5 years and then turned director. I am a director for the last 10 years now.

Q: Where has your film Lapajhappi traveled internationally?

A: It went to Brooklyn Film Festival where it won the spirit of the festival award. According to the jury, the film reflected the Indie spirit of the festival in the true sense and hence the award was given. You can say that it was second best film of the festival. Then at Madrid Film Festival, we got 5 nominations. It was for Talented New Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Music and Best Editing.

I won the Talented New Director award over there for the film. We have won many awards in an online festival award.

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Veteran Actress Usha Naik and Pooja Sawant in a dramatic scene from the movie Lapachhapi

Q: The film has won many awards and now the film is going to NFDC as well. From here, how do you see the film’s path in reaching the audience at a greater level?

A: The Horror genre does not have a huge liking in India. There are not enough genuine horror films in India. We have either copied them from Hollywood or have made bad ones. So, this genre has not worked commercially here to its potential. On the other hand, when the Hollywood horror films release here in India, they do well. This means that there is a set of audience which wants to watch horror films. But we don’t good ones here in India. We sell sex and songs in name of horror.

I am a big fan of the horror genre as it leaves an impact on your mind. Our country has so many such stories but nobody makes films on them. That was always my question and that is why this film was made. It also is based on one of the stories of India. It is very Indian in nature. It is very Indian at heart.

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When I started the film and approached people for it, the response was very less. Nobody was interested in horror films and that too in the Marathi language. Luckily, I found Jitendra Patil and he does not come from the industry. He is essentially a businessman who is very new to the world of cinema. He saw the potential in the story and came forward to make the film with honesty and sincerity.

We decided to make the film and show it in festival outside so that the film gets good word of mouth. When the films got the awards, people gained curiosity about the film. This is when people started calling us and now we are on board, talking about the release and NFDC too is helping is to take this forward. They are helping us to take the film to a larger audience.

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Director Vishal Furia, producer Jitendra Patil and lead actress Pooja Sawant from the sets.

Q: How much time did it take to make this film?

A: The story took me about 2 months. A couple of months for writing the screenplay. The phase in which we had to find a producer was the longest. That was the most difficult step. That took about 8 months. From writing the script till going on the floor, it was almost one and a half years times. But then we shot it in 16 days. My preproduction was very strong and that is why it took a very short time to make this.

Can we end the article by saying that ‘The film got very good response from the foreign audiences and also a sample of the domestic audience? The female audience also loved the film which is rare for a horror film. Hoping we can give the film a big release and change the way Horror is perceived in India.

Interview By: Shubham Pandey

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