Challenging to keep audience invested in story: Sujoy

Challenging to keep audience invested in story: Sujoy

A haunted house may seem like the perfect setting for a ghost story but "Typewriter" director Sujoy Ghosh says the challenge is always to keep the audience engaged in the series format where the protagonists are children.

Ghosh has delivered one of the best thrillers in Bollywood with "Kahaani" but making a shift to the digital medium with the new Netflix series was not easy for him.

The director says he had to unlearn many things as a writer as he "wasn't sure if he could write a story for the digital format" but it turned out to be a learning experience.

"Irrespective of the story and the format, the struggle always is to keep the audience invested from the beginning till the end," he told PTI in an interview.

"I had to be confident that I could write a story for a series where all the characters would be given equal importance and they would be dealt with in detail. When you are writing (for the web), you have to unlearn what you have learnt in films. Once I made myself believe that I could write a series then only I decided to direct."

Talking about the difference between a film and a web-series, Sujoy says rather than keeping the focus on one character, in a series every part is important.

"If I am making a film, I can make one woman running through Kolkata (referring to Vidya Balan in 'Kahaani') but if I am doing a series, I will also have to concentrate on the inspector, who is helping her, and other people."

"It is a wider world, the characters are much broader. Everybody is equal in the series. I cannot take a short-cut."

The story of "Typewriter" revolves around a group of nine-year-old children in Goa, who are on a mission to capture ghosts.

Sujoy says he was contemplating to make a film featuring children but he wasn't sure whether it would make it to the big screen.

"On a film structure, it is a little difficult to make a film with young adults as protagonists, you don't really get to see kids as heroes. The last one we saw was 'Chota Chetan' or 'Makdee'. I wanted to make a film for them, if 'Badla' wouldn't have happened, I might have tried to make a film."

"I knew it would have been a struggle to get that film made because making every film has been a struggle for me, even 'Kahaani'."

A haunted house and ghosts are always a part of a horror story but Sujoy says what one does with the familiar elements is what counts.

"Whether it is a love story or comedy or tragic story, the mood or tone will remain as its core theme. Like in a comedy film, there will be funny things happening, in a love story two people will come together and fall in love, etc."

"The trick is in representing it differently. Like, in a ghost story, what happens when you go to a new villa? Every ghost comes in the night what if it came out in the day? So you try and change things."

"Typewriter", featuring Purab Kohli, Aarna Sharma, Aaryansh Malviya, Mikail Gandhi, Palash Kamble, Jishu Sengupta, Palomi Ghosh among others, premieres on Netflix on July 19.