Nagesh Kukunoor on how directing Hotstar Special City Of Dreams enriched him as a writer and a director

Simran Singh

May 06, 2019 09:38:53 IST

Director-producer-writer Nagesh Kukunoor is well known for his acclaimed films Iqbal (2005), Dor (2006) and Dhanak (2016). Apart from films, he successfully ventured into digital space with Nimrat Kaur-starrer The Test Case. Now, he has brought political drama City Of Dreams to the digital viewers.

Nagesh Kukunoor on how directing Hotstar Special City Of Dreams enriched him as a writer and a director

A still from City Of Dreams. YouTube

The basic concept of the series was originally for a feature film but was eventually made into a series. While speaking to Firstpost, he said, “I am glad it has been made into a web series. See, when the script came to me for a feature film, it had two-three intersecting storylines, so this script was the easiest one to use for web series because in the web, you can have multiple stories in a single series. So the groundwork my co-writer and I did was plenty enough to start a web series”.

 The series is based on Mumbai and its political background. This is the first time he has tried to explore Mumbai through his lens. “Visually, Mumbai has two different areas. One is south Mumbai, which is technically one of the most beautiful urban places of India. When you come to suburbs, it has a completely different flavor. It’s crowded, and it's grey. I wanted to capture both these things”.

The show has an ensemble cast from Marathi cinema, with Atul Kulkarni, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Priya Bapat and Siddharth Chandekar in pivotal roles. Nagesh declared that he wants to work more with Marathi actors.“The actors with whom I have worked on City Of Dreams have a different level of dedication, professionalism, and approachability. This is something I haven’t encountered before. Barring a few people, every actor in Bollywood is punctual on sets. But the ‘hunger’ to work more than what is required, I found it here. I enjoyed so much working with them. They all used to come on sets well prepared with their lines. We used to shoot after one rehearsal. Such was their speed and with A-class output. There are hardly two-three scenes in the entire series where I took five to six takes. The rest, we were nailing it like anything. That gives the director joy as well. You fine-tune in rehearsal, take the shot and move on to next scene. That is the way things should be shot," Nagesh added.

Kukunoor believes that the digital era has found its base, but there should be a sense of responsibility also, when it comes to content creation. “Please understand that digital is a very new concept in India. If we will abuse the concept with a substandard story and bad direction and bad acting, we will kill it. After OTT, many thought that it is a quick way to make money, instantly come up with 10 episodic series. We took almost five months to write this story and I have never written so much in my life." He continued, “Don’t ever think that we can misuse the platform as the audience is always smarter”.

Dhanak director asserted that he directed every frame of the show himself and has rejected several offers of being the showrunner of TV shows, as he feels that he is a storyteller he cannot follow a trend. Nagesh concluded the conversation by confirming that he is directing his first Telegu film, which might release by the end of this year.

Helmed by Applause Entertainment, City Of Dreams is currently streaming on Hotstar.

Updated Date: May 06, 2019 11:46:22 IST

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