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Bollywood News

Sriram Raghavan on ‘Merry Christmas’-‘Pinocchio’ connection

Starring Katrina Kaif and Vijay Sethupathi, the film releases on January 12.

Merry Christmas Poster

By: Mohnish Singh

Sriram Raghavan says his upcoming thriller Merry Christmas, starring Katrina Kaif and Vijay Sethupathi, is set in the early ’80s and shares a thematic connection with the story of Pinocchio.

Raghavan, regarded as the master of the thriller genre in India, returns to direction with the film after 2016’s hit Andhadhun and hopes the audiences engage with the story that unfolds within a span of one night. It will hit the screens on January 12.

The trailer of Merry Christmas shows the two central characters walking past a theatre showing the children’s classic Pinocchio, about the titular wooden puppet whose nose grows longer when he lies.

“We have not specified the time but it is set in the early ’80s. Pinocchio has many movie versions so we decided to design our own version of the Pinocchio poster. We haven’t shown the movie on the screen, you will only hear the soundtrack. So, thematically it’s very much like our film because it is about deception. When Pinocchio tells lies, his nose gets longer,” Raghavan told PTI in an interview.

The filmmaker said it was challenging to cut the trailer of the Hindi film as he wanted to create intrigue about the plot of the movie, which he shot simultaneously in Tamil.

“The Hindi trailer was more fun because it’s got these quick cuts. The whole aim was to not give away the story and make viewers think of their own stories so that when they come to the cinema hall, they’re surprised. Occasionally, one of them will be right too,” he said.

The Hindi trailer of Merry Christmas seems like a time capsule, taking viewers back to the era of weighing machines, landline phones, and single-screen theatres.

Raghavan, 60, said he decided to include these elements as they are all gone now.

“These are iconic things of that era and it has all gone now. I remember I would go to the railway station just to check my weight and get that little card, which had a picture and something written on it. I used to collect those. This is why we chose it for our film.”

The idea to set the film within the span of a night was also by design, said the director, known for cult classics like Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddar, Badlapur, and his biggest hit Andhadhun.

Raghavan said one of his earliest memories is watching Yash Chopra’s 1969 thriller Ittefaq, starring Rajesh Khanna and Nanda, which was also set in the course of a night.

“I think one-night stories are a genre in themselves because there can be all kinds of stories. I remember seeing Yash Chopra’s Ittefaq and I was completely blown away by that movie and performances. Even Die Hard (the 1988 Hollywood hit featuring Bruce Willis) was a one-night and a Christmas story. I like the sub-genre of one-night stories because it’s tough to hold the attention of the audience. It’s exciting to think how you are going to compress time and space and make the story work,” he added.

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