Actor Samir Soni, who is making his debut as a director with My Birthday Song, says it was filmmaker Karan Johar who encouraged him to helm the film.
Asked if shifting gears from acting to direction is a natural progression, Samir said: “I have always had an interest in suspense thriller and dark, intellectually stimulating stories. I wrote one of them and my friends said that it is a good story.
“Being a realistic man, with the interest to know the opinion of industry people, I narrated the story to Karan (Johar) and at the end of the story, the first reaction that came from him was, ‘Samir, direct the film’. Though he mentioned that Dharma Productions cannot produce the film because it is a dark film, he encouraged me throughout.”
However, he found his producer and actor of the film when he went to one of his friends, filmmaker Sanjay Suri.
Samir said: “Since Sanjay also said that I should direct the film, I asked him if he is interested to play the role in it. Surprisingly, he was not only ready to act in the film but also to produce it. Our sensibility matches so well and it is a very exciting project.”
While Samir found it quite a challenging and interesting process to write a thriller, according to him, “this is the genre where the story plays the real hero”.
“If the plot is good and engaging, the film will work. Yes, of course, it is very tough to crack the deal and perhaps that is why in our country, thrillers are so few and far between,” said the fanboy of filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Christopher Nolan.
Interestingly, most of the experimental content is coming up on the digital space. Why then did he choose the medium of cinema instead of a web-series?
Samir said: “You see, a film can be available on digital platforms, but a web series cannot be available in a theatre. Since the medium of digital entertainment is new, I am yet to understand the pulse of the audience there. I have seen some of the really bad Indian content on the web too.
“When it comes to the story of my film, it is already a risky genre, thriller. After working for 20 years in cinema, because I know the audience of this medium, I think it is better to put it out on a conventional medium of cinema rather than the web. If the film fails, at least I would be sure it is for the story and not for the medium,” said Samir.
The film My Birthday Song, also featuring Nora Fatehi, is releasing on January 19.