You have seen him play many a roles in the past – as an author, as a speaker and an ex-armed forces officer. Just that he did not belong to the film industry then though he was associated with it remotely (co-authoring Queens of Crime: True Stories of Women Criminals From India) with actor Sushant Singh last year). And now, Kulpreet Yadav has jumped on the Bollywood bandwagon by announcing his maiden directorial venture, There’s A Stranger In My Bedroom. The short film is an emotional story of a young couple and revolves around the theme of infidelity.
We had an email interaction with one of the country’s best-selling authors…
Where and when is There’s A Stranger In My Bedroom releasing and on which OTT platform?
We are currently focussing on sending our film to national and international Film Festivals. Once it completes this circuit which will take anywhere between four to six months, we will take a call based on critical response and reach out to OTT platforms.
When did the idea of making a short film strike you and how did you go about it?
Well, for the longest time, I’d been hoping that someone would make a film on the writing that I’ve been doing for so many years. But that didn’t happen. So, I thought why not do it myself. The second reason was Anurag Kashyap. No, I have never met him and I’m sure he might not have heard my name. Unless, of course, if he likes to read books. Here is what happened. Early last year, I was watching one of his talks in which he said, “A lot of people come to me and tell me that they have a great story for a film, or that they can act well, or they are good at directing. I tell them just one thing…what is stopping you?” This made a lot of sense to me and I said to myself, “Enough waiting, if I need something badly, I must move my a**”
A number of challenges must have crossed your path during the making of There’s A Stranger In My Bedroom. Share one of the most challenging one…
Yes, there were a lot of challenges. The first obvious one was that I had no experience. I was able to partner with a friend for this project named Commandant Dinesh Kumar Chauhan, but he didn’t have much experience too. Dinesh is a passionate singer, lover of music and poetry and had been an advisor for Akshay Kumar’s movie Rustom for his character, story, screenplay, narration, and location selection. But we faltered at every step: location, casting, crew, logistics, etc. One of the major challenges was post-production. Because, once the primary shoot was done, we returned to our homes. Since all the people involved lived in different cities, the coordination for editing on a frame-by-frame basis was a nightmare. Here, I would like to mention that we had a great team. And that helped ease our pressure a lot. Kirandeep Kaur and Shivam Pal were brilliant, both as actors and as human beings. Rashmi Pitre, who has a small but important role, was exceptional in her commitment too. Rashmi has a lot of experience of working in the industry, but she still came across as a humble and focussed person. Jimmy Eric, our DOP, who also edited the film, was totally devoted to filmmaking. Others pitched in as well to support Dinesh and me. Finally, Udit Saxena’s background score is exceptional too.
How easy is it for an author to adapt his own story and turn it into a film?
I have no thoughts on this because I haven’t done it in any other way. But I think no one knows the story better than the writer because he is the one who has visualised it in his mind and then written it. So, it must be a good thing.
While this switchover – from an author to a filmmaker – takes place, who emerges more powerful – the author or the filmmaker?
Early days right now to give a balanced answer. What I think is that basically I’m a storyteller and whether I do it visually or through words, it does not matter because, at the end of the day, these are just mediums.
Any plans to make a full length film soon?
Yes, very much. But there are many challenges. The first is that it requires massive funding. Secondly, it’s a risky business because sometimes well-made movies also fail at the box office. And over and above all this, the current pandemic has created a major confusion and no one knows how movie-making as a business will get impacted.
An author, a speaker, an ex-armed forces officer and now a filmmaker. Which role do you enjoy playing the most and why?
All. To be honest, I was a very happy officer. Contended will be the right word. But after a while, I started to get bored and decided to move on. I love writing and filmmaking is my new addiction.
Do you feel books today have become so expensive that they have gone out of reach of the common man and has resulted in the reading habit going down to some extent?
No, on the contrary, books in India are the cheapest in the world. The problem is elsewhere. Indians don’t read. You go to someone’s house and nine out of 10 times, you won’t find a bookshelf in the living room that has even a dozen books kept. Bookstores are struggling to make books cheap and interesting. Profits in books trade are wafer-thin. But Indians love films.
The word “creative” to you is…
A good observer of life.
What does it take to be good storyteller?
Who has been the most inspirational person in your life and why?
My dad and mom. They are different, hardworking, and open to new experiences.
What/ who has influenced you and what were the motivations behind writing?
No one. Perhaps my reflection in the mirror? Motivation: I think I like to tell a story that has the potential to move & entertain a total stranger.
What is Kulpreet Yadav doing when he is not writing?
Oh, a lot of things. I love cooking, I’m fitness conscious, I love travelling, I am a whiskey aficionado, etc.
Will we see you making a movie on one of your books soon?
Probably, yes. But I’m open to exploring other’s books & screenplays too.
Plans for future…
More books. More films.
Anything you would want to share with the readers that we missed out on…
Yes, people should love what they do. But only after they have saved enough to survive the storm that this love-what-you-do will push them into.