Meet Deeraj Vaidhy. An enthusiastic filmmaker, his films are a treat to watch. His latest film, Urban Legends, has been talked about a lot within our short film community and was critically acclaimed. In October 2012, he was recognized in the short film circle when he was awarded the “Popular Choice” award for his film, “Pariyathum Veruoom”
So why should you watch Urban Legends: Yes it is interesting, intriguing but why should invest 16 minutes of Precious time?
The answer: After all how many Science fiction films come out every year. Wait how many quality Science fiction shorts have you watched?
We arranged an interview with Deeraj Vaidy to talk more about his visions that led to the creation of the short and he was very much interested to share the many nuances that he embedded in the movie.
1. Your latest film, Urban Legends was on a sci-fi genre. How did the entire concept of it come to you?
Later, I wanted to explore the sci-fi genre. I had a vision for many days but was unable to write a story around it. At that time my friend who was my cinematographer for many of my movies wanted a story for his third year project. Even before six months this happened, I had a vision of two people sitting in a restaurant and spoons were flying. I was speculating ways to write a story around this. I was listening to a certain soundtrack because I believed that soundtracks helped bring out visions. So my friend called me up and said he wanted a script in six days. I sat and started to write. For me, only when I sit I get a flow. I read about urban legends, tele-kinesis and just started writing. And that is how I ended up with the script of Urban Legends. “
And so, the script perfectly came before me. I fixed on the soundtrack before filming. It was from the song Angel by the hip hop group massive attack. I decided that the audio should start with the appearance of the title, and then during the editing, I found that the entire soundtrack just perfectly gelled with the other events of the film just the way I had envisioned. I have also kept the concept of this film saved up for a feature film.”
2. There were a lot of nuances or rather subtle hints embedded into the film, you thoughts on that..?
Yes, there are a lot of small nuances to the characters who are in argument. T.K or the one who believes in Urban Legends is understanding and respecting while Joseph or the one who does not believe in Urban Legend is a stubborn and arrogant character. When T.K starts to speak, Joseph interrupts and demands that he records the conversation in his laptop. But the close up of the laptop screen shows that Joseph isn’t exactly recording any conversation and that he had done it just to establish his dominance. Towards the end, I have shown how Legends go places but with many stories varied in nature. For example, when people talk about the man (T.K) who controlled the motion of sofa and the boy in the train, each person would be giving a very different description of T.K.
3. We can see that you wanted to experiment more with this film in terms of camera and techniques. What made you to do it? And, were you satisfied?
I wanted to lose the strangleholds of many imposed rules in filmmaking. While I was seeing “Blue is the Warmest Color”, which is a French short film about a lesbian and her change of mind, I observed that the cinematographer has broken the 180 degree rule on purpose. The 180 degree rule, where the positions of two characters in a screen should not change from left to right or vice versa in the succeeding shots. I wanted to break the traditions in Urban Legends. So, I forced the cinematographer to shoot the film without a tripod and also broke the 180 degree rule on intention. You can also observe that there were deliberate camera shakes so as to highlight the tension between the characters. But when Quentin tarantino or Christopher Nolan does this, people would be in awe of them. Since when aspirants like me do it, people get more skeptical and sometimes ridicule our filmmaking ‘talents
4. What references did you look up before writing the script?
None. I always finish writing the script and then see the films related to it. If I want to do a gangster movie and before writing the script, if I happen to watch some 50 movies on Gangsters, I might without my intention use a scene or two from other films. But I watch these movies after writing the script, all I would focus on would be only on style, vision and cinematography. This is, what I feel, truly necessary for an artist
5. Any challenges while making the film
Main challenge was time constraint and it kept on playing in my head. Then, we had troubles shooting within the allocated time at the restaurant. They asked 5000 rupees for 3 hours which was pretty expensive too.
Deeraj Vaidhy is now planning to go to the Bigger League. He then asked us whether his pilot version of a feature film was good. And also asked us whether we would like to see it in the big screen.
Yes, we would Deeraj. Yes, we would!