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Partners in Crime: Sriram Raghavan & Pooja Ladha Surti

May 17, 2019 08:50 AM IST India India

For all the thrillers they have collaborated on, award winning director Sriram Raghavan and co-writer, editor Pooja Ladha Surti could well be called partners in crime. When I meet with the two for yet another edition of Film-Maker Fridays, it’s after their film Andhadhun, a story about a blind man as a witness to murder has mopped up much acclaim and a neat 300 crore plus in China. This, besides its domestic box office earnings. Raghavan who made a mark with his first film Ek Hasina Thi starring Urmila Matondkar is no stranger to adulation but Andhadhun has put him in a league of his own as a director who knows his thrillers well. Bashful as always, Raghavan lets all of it sink in without acquiring any airs even though Surti ribs him about becoming less patient with ineptness over the years. Like all creative mavericks, he has a process. For starters, he is very democratic on the sets, is a voracious reader and of course, a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock and all things French. We agree that the French bring in a certain panache to the proceedings as only they can. Surti who has been a long-time collaborator details their process like writing dialogues for instance. Thrillers need conversations to be less verbose and filmy, with possibly a hint of what lies ahead, a craft which they have fine-tuned to perfection in Andhadhun. Surti reveals that they put themselves in the characters’ shoes to bring in a natural perspective keeping it real and conversational. She also shares a few quirky editing tricks! One major learning influence for them was director Ram Gopal Varma, who, Raghavan says, generously handheld them through the film-making paces. In this freewheeling conversation, the two share behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Andhadhun, Ek Hasina Thi, Agent Vinod, Badlapur among others. For more details like the new actor who was in contention for the lead role in Andhadhun, before Ayushmann Khurrana stepped in or what went wrong with Agent Vinod, watch this episode of Film-Maker Fridays video.