Abhishek Chaubey, Honey Trehan and Konkona Sen Sharma are embarking on a new journey together with their film, A Death In The Gunj. The film not only marks the transition of Konkona Sen Sharma from actor to director, but also that of director Chaubey from a director to producer and of Honey Trehan, who was Creative Producer on Talvar, to producer. Chaubey and Trehan are stepping into a new zone with their recently launched production house, MacGuffin Pictures. The trio talk about their new venture, the film’s script and how they came together as a team.
Box Office India (BOI): It’s a new beginning for all of you – for Honey Trehan, from casting director to producer; for Abhishek, from director to producer; and for you, Konkona, from actress to a director. Tell us about your journey and what made you decide to start this new venture.
Honey Trehan (HT): Abhishek and I have been working together for 12 to 13 years and most of the films we worked on were under Vishalji. Then Abhishek started making his own films and I was a part of them too. I started as associate director for Vishal Bhardwaj and with Abhishek I started off as a second unit director for his films -Dedh Ishqiya and Udta Punjab. I worked with him as a casting director on his films too. So we were always working together. Even with the scripts that I write or plan to write, Abhishek is actively involved in them. So, we were, like, what is that one thing we can do together? And we both wanted to turn producers. I thought we were adequately equipped to set up our own production house but we thought that we need to launch it with a very good film. Things progressed when I was travelling from the Udta Punjab shoot to Talvar’s set. I met Konkona on the sets of Talvar I pitched another film to her, she asked me who was producing the film and I told her that I am.
Konkona Sen Sharma (KSS): I was, like, why don’t you produce my film? I was also looking for producer.
HT: I had heard about her script from Vishal sir and that she had written a beautiful script. Later, I read the script and I asked her what was the status of the film and she told me no one was onboard as yet and no one is producing the film.
So I told her that I would produce the film. Abhishek also loved the script. It is a beautiful script and she had written it like a film and not just a story. It was not just a project that you shoot. But it was written with such detailing and precision in terms of editing too. Abhishek was also very impressed and we were, like, okay, this is a good film to launch our production house with.
KSS: (Cuts in) I don’t think they are debutants because they have much more experience than I have and I am very grateful. I mean, it was just a story in my head then and I simply wrote it down as a script. I didn’t think of it like I was writing a script. I just had a big idea in my head and initially thought that I would give an hour long narration to people. I thought I would get someone to write it but I would have had to explain it to someone else. Finally, I decided to get an assistant who would help me with the final draft as I am very bad with technology.
So we wrote the whole script and then I went to the NFDC Lab, where the script went through several changes, 6-7 drafts, and I had a great mentor there who helped me. Initially when I spoke to people about the story everyone liked it. But it was when I spoke to Honey that everything came together. I was so relieved that somebody else could see the film in a same way that I saw it. I feel very grateful to get this opportunity where I am making what I had in mind, and with people I know so well. I have known Honey and Abhishek since Omkara days and also through the years. So it is a set-up that I have faith in and can trust creatively and otherwise as well.