By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: The Ek Thi Daayan director Kannan Iyer who has taken off on a holiday after the release of his film, agrees with the critics who feel the second-half of the film has gone wrong.
Softspoken and thoughtful, the director – who waited ten years to make his directorial debut – says, “Maybe commercial considerations coloured the second movement of the storytelling. To me the core of the story in Ek Thi Daayan is the relationship between the children and their stepmother who they think might be a witch.I was not interested in the horror or the supernatural elements per se. It was the inherent drama in the theme that interested me. It’s always the drama that grips me.”
Kannan can’t thank his stars enough for discovering the two children Visshesh Tiwari and Sara Arjun.
“Pavan Malhotra and Konkona Sen-Sharma who played their parents would have their jaws fall open when they would see the kids perform. It’s amazing how much talent there’s among today’s youngsters,” he says.
Kannan’s delayed directorial debut is attributable to a lack of writing talent in the film industry.
Says Kannan, “Though early in my career I’ve been credited with co-writing Ram Gopal Varma’s Daud, I am not really a writer. In fact it was the lack of writing resources that delayed my journey into direction. My producer Vishal Bhardwaj and I finally found a story that we both liked. It was a one-page story by Mukul Sharma about two kids using a lift to descend into the ground floor which they thought was hell.Vishal wanted to build on that theme to incorporate the idea of witches in a contemporary setting.”
Kannan now wants more writers to come forward, so he can focus on his next film. “We desperately need writing resources. Screenplays need to be developed the way they are by Hollywood studios at a leisurely pace before they are put on screen. Unfortunately here in India we cannot afford to spend time and money developing screenplays.”
The directors feels the industry needs to urgently foster writing talent. “I’d like to see more writing talent come forward . But for that sort of indulgence my first film as director has to do well. Unfortunately Ek Thi Daayan is not showing the kind of numbers at the boxoffice that would give me the leverage to invite writing talent into my ambit of activity.”
Though Kannan is a late bloomers as a director he is in no hurry to direct another film. “I won’t plunge into another film until I am sure of the writing.I waited to make my first film. I can wait again.”