Goldie Behl on his web series RejectX, and rumours of it being a sequel to popular TV show Remix
Filmmer Goldie Behl returns to the director's chair after two years. His last directorial was the majestic TV show Aarambh. After trying his luck in both cinema and TV, he is making his debut on the digital medium, which he believes is a great marriage of the two platforms he has worked in.
As his musical show RejectX releases on Zee5 on 25 July, Firstpost talks to the director on a host of topics, from Remix to what kept him going during his wife, Sonali Bendre's cancer episode. Excerpts from the interaction:
Is RejectX a 'spiritual' sequel of Remix? What is different and what is the same?.
That's an interesting question. That's an interesting way to put it. RejectX is me growing up and growing young at the same time. I was much younger when I made Remix. Now, I'm living my teenage through my kid and my nephew. I find it (RejectX) [to be] a contemporary yet different version of that (Remix). Yes, it has music. Yes, it has a high school setting. Yet it is far more real because the times are such, the platform is such, that we can afford to be more real. So you could say they're integrated at some point. But they're very different.
At a time when nostalgia is being 'remixed', how did you ensure you struck the right balance between nostalgia and keeping up with the times?
By being not nostalgic at all, and by thinking yourself as a newcomer.
The setting of the show is an international school. It's in Singapore and has students from various cultures there. I always wondered why only Americans make high school movies. We can make a high school show that's about Indians, set in an international setting. That's why one of the primary antagonists in the show is of Thai origin. He speaks in English, though with a Thai accent.
I'm grateful to Zee 5 for putting money where its mouth is. The show is about many Indian students from all walks of life, who resolve their differences in a global school. They soon form a band and participate in the underground music battle. But one of them gets kidnapped. The rest of the show revolves around how they find him, how close to the finale of a competition they find him, what state they find him in, and if he'll be able to come back from the rejection he has faced. At the same time, they're dealing with their own rejections, from gender fluidity, erectile dysfunction, body shaming, to dysfunctional families, suicidal tendencies. Any young person can face these global issues. That's why this show is likely to work across barriers.
How does a 44-year-old keep up wit the concerns of the new generation?
I still think I'm younger than all of them (one of the cast member shouts, 'Yes you are!'). I keep to listening to new music and get in touch with new influences. Then as a director with so many years of experience, I get to keep all of that in the script. So there is a certain discipline that comes with experience. That discipline, integrated with the constant young fluttering heart of mine gives me a good blend for this kind of content.
Since RejectX is a musical show, how do you believe the genre has evolved in India since Remix?
Sneha (Khanwalkar, music director) and I have been wanting to collaborate for years now. I truly think she is one of the few original talents we have out there. I've been offering her various projects from my production house but she has been declining them. She told me she would compose for the project I'll direct. There are 12-15 tracks in RejectX. There are only 12 in the album. The other three are just situational. We had only one music composer and one singer throughout. I know that is no longer the trend. But I'm very old school that way. So I narrated the situation and how we're going to picturise it, and she has composed according to that. That's difficult. But I don't know any other way. I hope that the trend of musical shows picks up. We're hoping to make a season 2, with even more music.
How was it working with Sumeet Vyas and Kubra Sait, two digital stars?
The web world has its universe. These two stars are creations of the digital world. The way they speak, the way they scat their lines, their pauses are different from any medium. It was a great learning for me. I was lucky to find them because when you're doing a show with newcomers, you need a certain level of credibility. They were also aware the show is about these seven kids. For them to be still a part of the show means they found something good in the project. They want to push it. They bring credibility to the project. In a way, they're supporting and encouraging new talent.
You have said the digital medium marries TV and cinema. How has the experience of working in both come handy?
The writing in the digital medium is very cinematic. The execution and logistics involved, however, are very television. It's a narrative spread across several episodes. So you have to can a number of minutes on a given day. The digital medium brings in a different discipline of its own.
Your sister Srishti, with whom you have co-produced several projects, has been roped in to put together the Netflix India slate. Any plans to collaborate on that front?
Not yet. I'm just happy she is doing very well. I hope she just consolidates her slate and most of her movies are doing very well.
You wrote majority of RejectX when you wife, actress Sonali Bendre, was getting treated for cancer in a New York hospital. What kept you going?
You've got to pay the bills! Haha! I can laugh about it now. You know, you have to keep on working. Sonali also kept her book club alive when she was getting treated. There's no point sulking over it, "Why me?" Why not you? Do you wish it upon someone else, then? Just accept it. I'm glad we have the wishes and prayers of so many of her fans in India. She has gotten better. God has been very kind to us. We had the resources to get her treated in time.
RejectX premieres on Zee5 on 25 July.
Updated Date: Jul 25, 2019 12:47:50 IST