Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury on his ZEE5 anthology Rules Of The Game: 'It is a psychological human relationship drama'
Rules of The Game is part of ZEE5's Forbidden Love series, an anthology that comprises four romantic thrillers exploring the edgy side of love, relationships and marriage.
National Award winner Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury who made his directorial debut in Bollywood with Pink (2016) that received accolades from critics and also did well commercially, loves telling stories on human relationships.
His latest, Rules of The Game is part of the Forbidden Love series, an anthology that comprises four romantic thrillers exploring the edgy side of love, relationships and marriage (Mahesh Manjrekar's Diagnosis Of Love, Priyadarshan's Anamika, and Pradeep Sarkar's Arranged Marriage).
The plot revolves around a couple in their thirties’(played by Aahana Kumra and Chandan Roy Sanyal), who want indulge in role-playing to spice things up in their relationship, but one of them takes it too far. And how far, remains the suspense.
“The thought behind Rules of the Game forms the basis of all my films, be it Anuranan or Buno Haansh (both Bengali), or little bit of Pink. I love to explore relationships between man and woman, man and man, or woman and woman in their various complexities. In today’s world, I feel, relationships have become a bit indifferent. That entire romance between husband and wife, their intense friendship has become more functional and boring making it increasingly difficult for relationships to survive. The intensity is getting buried under day to day problems and the struggle is becoming huge nowadays. We have to negotiate life. I believe it's a constant struggle in any monogamous relationship to keep the romance quotient high. I am sure many in this generation will relate to the film in some form or the other. Millennials aren't foreign to the art of role play, but what if it takes a wrong turn? Not just in marriage, even in our relationship as friends we are not exploring. Previously, anger and hatred used to be the biggest killer but now an indifferent attitude and apathy is taking over which is far more difficult to deal with because in anger you scream, shout and finally calm down,” says Roy Chowdhury.
“And suddenly one day”, he continues, “We realise, we don’t have anything in common, we are merely functional, we don’t talk, we don’t celebrate, we don’t share or care, the belonging, the longing, the waiting, everything is missing. To get rid of what I call as morbid monotony the couple does something and that’s the film all about. But I can’t disclose what they do or how far they go. It is a psychological human relationship drama in today’s world. We did a lot of research and that gave me a lot of ideas. This is exploring life, this is the kind of voyeurism, introspection and through this film we dig into our lives, too. It is about adding spice to our mundane life and it doesn’t just talk about romance. I can’t tell you more and spoil the fun. There is a twist in the tale.”
The hour long film has been shot like a docu-drama and the actors found the shooting process both “tricky and exhilarating”.
“Tony da (Roy Chowdhury) wanted us to be documented more than just shooting us out on our face which was very interesting. He let us experiment which I don’t get to do in a lot of set ups. This candidness gave us freedom to experiment as a lot of things would come out on its own. He wouldn’t cut and keep shooting so something or the other would come out of it. Chandan is also a very interesting actor, he wouldn’t stop, he would continue, so it was all very collaborative,” says Kumra.
“I told my actors that I will not take a shot, I will cover you, your emotions, but don’t be fake, be original. It was like being in theatre space. It was an interesting collaboration, both creative and production wise. We had loads of fun,” adds Roy Chowdhury.
“We didn’t know where we were going to reach. It wasn’t like we had to reach here and that was the end point. It was more about trying and figuring out where it goes. It is nice when you are finding joy in process instead of reaching an end goal and that is exactly what happens in theatre. The minute you enjoy the process you will enjoy your work,” says the actress who has had four releases this year.
“I have had Marzi which was a drama, then Betaal was horror in which I did zombie makeup. Then in Khuda Hafiz I wore hijab, changed my voice, learnt Arabic, and did some action. Now Rules of the Game is a psychological drama. I play a housewife who is unpredictable and twisted. She gets bored with her life and tries to add some spice with her husband with a game. How this game starts ruling their life and how their life starts to change will be interesting to watch. Next, I am doing a comedy show which will premiere on Sony Liv. For me OTT has been a very fruitful space because I am getting to experiment as much as I can. I am lucky that I am not repeating myself,” she adds.
Sanyal is all praise for his co-star, “Aahana is way beyond her make up and Instagram. We bonded and connected well. We have a lot of intimate scenes in the film which required a certain comfort level and friendship. I could win her trust, belief and sensibility which helped."
Sanyal, who worked with Roy Chowdhury in his Bengali film Aparajita Tumi, divulges that Rules Of The Game's unusual storyline attracted him to the role.
“It is a wild and modern take on love. That bizarreness of these two unassuming characters who suddenly decide to rekindle their relationship and dying love, is exciting. It can be dangerous going to that length but it also shows how much they love each other that they want to find that love back. They make a dangerous move and that was very interesting. There is a little suspense in it and that is the crux of the film and the story,” says Sanyal, who, however, hopes that people don’t try out what is shown in the film.
“Those who have been married for some time may relate to it but I won’t advise people to do it in their real lives. It might backfire. It is like a gamble. But if somebody is really adventurous, then why not?” he laughs.
Rules of the Game: Forbidden Love is now streaming on ZEE5.
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