Pari director Prosit Roy: I never chose a horror film. It was in fact the other way around

Helmed by Prosit Roy, Pari starring Anushka Sharma has hit the screens today. The film has been received well by the audience and the critics. In an interaction with a leading Indian daily, Prosit Roy was asked about what made him to choose a horror movie as his directorial debut.

Prosit said, “A lot of people ask me – why did you choose a horror film for your debut feature? And I always tell them that I never chose a horror film. It was in fact the other way around. The film chose me, in a way. You see my grandparents were originally from the other part of undivided Bengal, what is now known as Bangladesh. They had come over during the Partition, and my grandmother used to tell me literally hundreds of stories — folk tales and stories of the land. Quite a few of these were stories about ghosts and apparitions. So, the love for the horror genre was always there. But then horror is a vast space, you see. Within horror, there are so many sub-genres. I never consciously decided that I am going to make a horror film. The horror element almost came as a by-product of my love for a good story. And then I came to know that there’s this production house in Mumbai which wanted to make a horror film. So, (my co-writer) Abhishek Bannerjee and I wrote a storyline and went to the production house. They said we love your story, why don’t you show us a full draft? Abhishek and I went back and fleshed out the full draft, but by that time, the production house had decided not to make a horror film anymore. By that time, I was working as an assistant director for Phillauri, and I showed the story to Karnesh. He loved the story and that’s how the journey began.”

Talking about why nothing was revealed about the film prior its release, he said, “This was not pre-decided, so to speak. When we started off, we had initially thought that we will keep making the film, keep everything under wraps, and at one point, we will take a call on how to go forward with the marketing of it. But after we saw the first rushes, our producer and the marketing team felt that it would be in the best interest of the film to build this sense of intrigue around it. It was then that we decided not to reveal even a part of the story to the world. And I must say it’s a tremendous job both Karnesh (Sharma), our producer, and the marketing team has done, and I think it has worked wonderfully well so far. I have been getting calls and messages and mails asking me – what is the story behind Pari? And the best part is, the teasers and the trailers have been decoded by various people in various ways, they all have their own version of the story now, and some of those versions are rather interesting and funny. So, as I said, it wasn’t planned, but along the way we decided that we will do it this way.”

The director added, “I have been very fortunate, I feel – to have such tremendous amount of unconditional support from the folks at Clean Slate Films. To have the kind of creative freedom that a filmmaker seeks, and to have such faith in his or her vision, especially when there’s so much riding on that vision – that takes a lot of guts and courage to do. I felt right at home, and I have to thank Karnesh for making me feel that way. Also, I have to mention Anushka – she had so much faith in my vision, that even when I told her that we need to go to this remote location in the outskirts of Kolkata and shoot in the middle of these bamboo groves, she agreed in an instant. For an A-lister star to back a debut director in this manner – it is very, very heartening and encouraging.”

“A lot of that depends on how Pari does. I do have a number of ideas that I would like to take forward. But one thing that I can tell you is that I would not want to repeat myself. As a creative person, I would like to explore other genres, tell various kinds of stories,” Prosit Roy said.