Your movie Khazana
- in a few words, what is it about?
Khazana means Ďtreasuredí when
translated from Hindi to English, and it is about the downward spiral of a
newly-wed bride, who has all her expectations and hopes dashed when she
realizes that everyone around her do not have her best interests and have
taken advantage of her. How she takes her revenge forms the second half
of the movie.
What were your
inspirations when writing Khazana,
and is any of the movie based on personal experiences or true stories?
have seen and still see many South Asian
women in the UK suffer at the hands of abuse, domestic and mental, and it
always shocked me how no one ever said anything to help these women. One
particular family, who are extremely wealthy, had even misused their power
to get what they wanted, let their sons have extra marital affairs and
even carried out abortions in their pregnant wives, because they were
giving birth to another daughter and not a son. So all these experiences
consolidated together, domestic abuse, people in power and adultery, is
what brought Khazana about.
talk about your co-writer Noah Potter, and what was
your collaboration with them like?
Noah Potter was an additional writer on this,
and what he did was made the initial script less Bollywood and more
realistic. When I had given the script to Noah, he loved it, but felt that
it needed a bit more of a connection to a non-Indian audience. So we both
collaborated together and added scenes and removed scenes to appeal more
to a universal audience.
To what extent could
you actually identify with the lead of Khazana,
I feel South Asians, men and women, have a
Vaidehi inside of them. So much is expected of a new South Asian bride, is
she educated, does she know how to cook, does she know how to behave in
front of other family members? And if she deviates from the mold by even
an inch, she is given hell. Likewise for South Asian men, parents set
super high expectations, you need to be a doctor or a dentist and you need
to earn so much money and support all family members, and if he does not,
then he is also given hell. Whenever someone is pushed so much beyond
breaking point, they will crack and avenge as a new person. Thatís
exactly what happens to Vaidehi - she comes back as a new person and takes
I hope I'm not giving away too much when I say
that in the end Vaidehi gets her revenge on her tormentors in a rather
gruesome way - so honestly, how much fun was it to dream up this scene,
and did you in any way have to hold yourself back to not make the ending
I loved the ending, and in reality if I was
Vaidehi, that is exactly what I would have done. The thing with abusers
is that they abuse you, convinced that you will never do anything. So when
the victim does avenge and does something, I personally would have done
this and much more than what Vaidehi did. In terms of the gruesomeness, I
wanted it to be shocking and I wanted it to be the message ĎDonít ever
F@UK with me again!í I had the ending of the script before
anything, and that to me was the selling point of the movie. Everything
else was then worked backwards, so that the ending and what Vaidehi did
was completely justified.
What can you tell us about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand?
I always believe you have to choose the
right actors and the right team. If you have the wrong actor, not just in
terms of talent, but attitude as well, you are destined to doom. Khazana
went through several castings and hiring and firing to get the right
actors and the right crew. So once you have the right actors and team,
itís literally like a smooth sailing ship.
I like to rehearse before we film so that me
and the actors get a feeling of what the scene needs and what is working
and what is not. So that when we get to set, I can play around with the
camera and pick up some fascinating camera angles coupled with the already
very well executed scene.
My actors as well like working with me and
return as they like the subjects that I am displaying. For Shruti Tewari
(Chand) and Bahram Khosraviani (Rishi), this was their second movie with
me. Finding great actors who are also great people is like trying to dig
appear in front of the camera in Khazana
- so what can you tell us about your character, and have you written Arun
with yourself in mind from the get-go?
Arun was supposed to be played by another
actor, but that actor wanted more scenes and dialogue. I had to tell him
that the movie is NOT about Arun, it is about Vaidehi, and so after a back
and forth, I told him that I was not interested.
Arun has a past that comes back to haunt him
and that forces him to carry out a favor to Amar, because Amar carried out
a favor for him. Arun probably never thought his past would come up again
and when it did, he reacted as he would always react, being submissive to
whatever is being asked of him.
As it was a small role, it actually helped
me to understand the movie much more, because I was seeing the movie from
an actor and director standpoint.
I always recommend directors to be an actor
in their movie as itís like a piece of the puzzle that completes the
What can you tell
us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
I had written the parts of Chand, Rishi and
Amar for Shruti Tewari, Bahram Khosraviani and Ahmed Lucan respectively. I
had worked with Shruti and Bahram before, and ironically their roles in my
previous movies, were an extended version in Khazana.
Ahmed I always wanted to work with as I
like his look and energy a lot, and he fitted Amar in every shape and form.
For Vaidehi, it was a very uphill struggle.
I had worked with Ulka Simone Mohanty on a dance choreography earlier and I liked her
look and her innocence, and when she read I knew it was her. She could
effortlessly turn from angelic to devilish in a split second and that is
what I wanted.
The real surprise and joy was Laikh Tewari,
who played Dhaman. I literally had to say nothing to him throughout the
movie, and he seemed to know exactly who Dhaman was. And as he is
Shrutiís son in real life, it was like asking a family member to act in
Reem Kadem had a sassy look and charm in her
audition that fitted Neelima, and Sonam Dhage had the childlike behavior
that I wanted for Sapna.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
The shoot was very enjoyable and for me was
a huge leap as a filmmaker. I learnt so much before, during and after the
movie and I am still learning. Itís great to have a good network of
people that you can rely on and itís very important to have the right
team and right cast who share your vision and passion.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Khazana?
Some people have loved it, some people have
not. That goes with any movie that you do. The fact that people have
watched it and they are commenting, good or bad, means the subject is
getting out there and causing a stir. Because VOD has become a big way to
watch movies, more eyeballs are getting on the movie. I hope people like
it as much as I liked making it.
future projects you'd like to share?
I have THREE features in development right
now, with one scheduled to film in Las Vegas at the end of the year. And
in addition, I have TWO USA TV pilots that I am pitching and TWO Indian
webseries that are being pitched for the South Asian market. So itís
going to be a very busy few years.
From what I know,
you've originally started out as a dancer, and are also an accomplished
choreographer - so what can you tell us about that aspect of your career?
I love dancing and I love being able to put
dance sequences together. That is something that comes very natural to me,
and ever since moving to Los Angeles, the opportunities just keep
happening. I was in talks to choreograph a series for Disney, but
couldnít do it due to a TV project I am on. But I have been able to be
part of some fantastic choreography sequences that has even led me to
winning Best Bollywood Dancer in Los Angeles.
did you get into acting then, and did you receive any formal training on
I was picked up by an agent from a dance
show and then really went from there. I had taken training at the
prestigious Stella Adler Academy and also trained at several schools
around the USA. Now I am currently enjoying working as an actor and
director here in Los Angeles, with the occasional few choreography
projects every year.
How would you describe yourself as an
actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
I like to imagine myself as the actor, so
really I donít try to act. I always think what would I do if I was that
person and I try to understand what that person is going through. Then I
try to amalgamate with what I Ė Rahul Ė would think and feel, and then
find a middle ground from there.
made you branch out into writing and directing eventually?
I have a lot to say, and this I feel is a
good expression for me and my work. The ideas I have, I donít think
anyone else has those ideas, so because I am unique and I want my thoughts
to be expressed Ė this seems the best way. Plus the enjoyment I get out
of seeing actors getting to levels that make them fulfilled as actors is
can you tell us about your past filmwork, in whatever position?
I have worked as an assistant to the main
choreographer on a lot of South Asian projects in India, so that kind of
throws you in at the deep end, as you start to learn about camera angles,
where the camera needs to come from and all camera tricks and terminology.
worked in quite that many jobs in front of and behind the camera, what do
you enjoy the most, what could you do without?
I enjoy it all, this for me is all work.
Trying to choose one is like asking who is your favorite child. And the
fact that I enjoy more work so much, is evident by the amount of work that
I have done.
actors, dancers, whoever else who inspire you?
I am in awe of Bollywood director, Madhur
Bhandarkar. He is brave, fearless ,and he makes movies that no one dares to
make. Showcasing very extreme harsh reality and real life subjects such as
male rape, abuse of women, the goings-on in the fashion and corporate
world. He inspires me to go above and beyond in my directing career.
And with actors, I really do like actors
that go the full mile to get their characters, Charlize Theron, the now
deceased Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Christian Bale. Itís like these
actors are in a league of their own.
They are all Bollywood movies (lol): Chandani Bar (so powerful and hard hitting),
Page 3, Khamoshi The Musical, Dil Se.
... and of course, films you really
None I can think ofÖ I always appreciate
the camerawork, even if the movie is BAD!
Your/your movie's website, social media,
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Personal website: http://ww.rahul-nath.com
Anything else you're dying to mention and
I have merely forgotten to ask?
I love acting, directing + writing and
dancing. Message me if we can work together Ė
serious people ONLY Ė not someone wanting to be FAMOUSÖ lol.
Thanks for the