Mohit Chadda on 'Flight' and how an idea transformed into a film

ANI
·15-min read
Mohit Chadda debuts into action-thriller genre with 'Flight'
Mohit Chadda debuts into action-thriller genre with 'Flight'

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 31 (ANI): Actor and film producer Mohit Chadda recently got up close and personal about his upcoming project 'Flight', an edge-of-the-seat thriller.

Helmed by debutant director Suraj Joshi, the film bankrolled by K. Chadda, Babita Ashiwal, Mohit Chadda, and Suraj Joshi, chronicles the story of a multi-millionaire Ranveer Malhotra (Chadda) who gets on board a private jet, only to find out that he has been kidnapped.

Ranveer faces deadly obstacles and his fight to survive on the plane forms the intriguing plot of the film. Chadda engaged in a conversation to explain how the plot of the film evolved from an idea to transform into a bigger picture on the '77 mm screen'.

Where did the idea of a film like 'Flight' come from?

Sharing how organically the idea of the gripping film came into existence, Chadda said, "Well, this subject came quite organically in fact. Initially, this movie was not about a guy stuck in a flight. One day I was going to drop my wife at her Kathak classes and all of a sudden, an idea came to my mind that what will happen if somebody locks someone in a lift."

So, I called (producer) Suraj and narrated this idea to him. He thought it was an interesting idea and we should develop it. But during the first three-four months, we were not able to convince ourselves that why should somebody come to the theatre to watch a movie like this.

Suraj and I are very big fans of big-screen entertainment films. In one of those discussions, we were having tea and Suraj suddenly said, brother, let's put this character inside a plane rather than a lift.

Talking about the financial restraint they had after getting the idea on a map, the actor said, "The first thing that struck was how will we arrange the funds. As we knew that we are making this film ourselves. We knew that nobody would back us without a viable project. But within five minutes, we decided and we knew that if they put the character on a plane, then we'll get the exact film we are looking for. The edge-of-the-seat-thriller kind of film with elements of exciting action."

What inspired you to serve as the producer along with being an actor on 'Flight'?

As it is said, need is the mother of invention. Nobody was giving us work, so we thought of developing the film ourselves. This is the reason behind me serving as the producer.

Dishing on the plot of the movie, Chadda also spoke about the inspiration behind the film and said that they "read a few articles" and used them in the script.

Is 'Flight' inspired by true events?

See, it is a fictional subject. This is an imaginary film but we have also taken care of the logical aspect of the film. But yes, there are some hook points that we took an idea from. We read some articles and then used them in the script.

While it was easy to get the idea on a map, it was equally strenuous to channel it into reality. Chadda spoke about the obstacles they had faced during shooting the film.

Did you face any challenges while shooting inside a plane?

Not one, there were many. We have shown a private jet in this movie. Usually, private jets are not huge. In that too, we chose the largest model of a private jet that people own. But as you know, there are many people on the sets like cameramen and light men. So, we did scale up the plane a little bit but not in a way that it looked unbelievable. We also used hydraulics to lift it a little bit in the air. Our production designers used their techniques in a very intelligent manner so that it can be lifted a little bit because we wanted to give real turbulence feel to our audiences so that it does not look fake. There were many other obstacles to be listed. But, overall, the experience was very good.

What do you have to say about the director of the film?

Suraj was a contestant along with me in a show called 'Zee Cine Stars Ki Khoj'. It's a talent hunt for actors and I met him for the first time during that show. I remember it was his birthday when we interacted for the first time. Most of the people didn't know about it. So, I along with few teammates prepared a makeshift cake for him and we had a lot of fun that night.

Suraj was also a choreographer, so I often used to go to him for my rehearsals before my final performance. And then the bond grew. We worked together on 'Dulha Mil Gya' and one day I asked him let's do this together to which he agreed and since then we haven't looked back.

We have heard that there a few 'friends and family' appearances in the film.

I usually say that I don't know if I have earned something else in my career in the film industry or not. But I can definitely say that I have earned relationships. And this film is a product of all friends and family members coming together with each other, working with each other. Actually, they didn't have any choice as both Suraj and I were very adamant that we have to make films.

Pawan, I have known since my first film and his first Telugu film. Babita and I have also worked together. The editor of the film is also my school friend and so the list keeps going on whether it's Pritam or it's Vivek Vaswani or it's anybody in fact.

So, we often joke that this is a film made by friends and family, for friends and family and please come and watch this film with your friends and family.

You have worn many hats in the film, tell us more about it.

What happens that independent films are made with so many limitations especially when you are low on budget. So both Suraj and I juggled a lot of roles in this film to save money. Also, as a team, we were very clear about what we want and it's far easier like that. We were also fortunate enough for like-minded people to join us whether it was Babita or Pawan Sir. Everyone was very supportive.

Was it difficult being a producer along with being an actor on the same film?

Babita was always there. We were very conscious that when I went on the set as an actor I will focus on that part. It was very important as the whole film is based on only one character and that character needs to work. And if it won't work, then this film might not work.

But one incident took place in which one of our vendors visited the sets of the film and Babita was handling him. It just blew a little out of proportion so we had to put the shooting on hold for a little while and sorted out that issue.

Apart from these, there are many funny incidents also. Suraj and I have been running this company since 2012. Because the idea was always to save that money and make a film. And that film is called 'Flight'.

A line from the film?

There is a story behind this line. Mr Mayur Puri who is a very well-known writer suggested us this line. We had gone to him when we wrote the first draft of the film. He was very sweet to us and even brainstormed with us to work on some loopholes. He got an interesting and emotional quotient to the film.

While we were interacting, he suddenly said this line and at that very moment, I asked him can we use this line in the film? He was so sweet and he agreed to it. I actually want to thank him for giving us this line.

Chadda further talked about his inspiration in the Hindi film industry who is none other than megastar Amitabh Bachchan. The actor also spoke about how he burst into tears as his 'God' had shared the trailer of the film.

What do you have to say about Mr Amitabh Bachchan's tweet about 'Flight'?

I think that's why he is a legend. I have never met him. I don't know him but he is my God. I have always maintained that he is my God and I am extremely grateful to him for having done this. I would want to give the credit for this to my wife. She is the one who messaged him, telling him how big a fan I am and she sent him the trailer of the film.

And it is so magnanimous of him to have done that. In fact, I couldn't stop crying and my wife knows that. We were just shocked.

Sharing a testimony of the things he has been through in the industry, Chadda asserted that he has not known any of the big names in the industry and still they have supported him, this fact says enough about nepotism.

Your thoughts on the ongoing nepotism debate?

Everybody else has been so sweet and I think the biggest notion going around of late, is about the 'big bad world of the Hindi film industry' that is popularly known as Bollywood and I just feel that here is the answer.

I don't know anyone of them and everyone has been sweet enough, we just requested them to support our film and everyone just came up and supported the film. So, I don't understand that entire conversation happening about the 'big, bad and dark world of Hindi cinema' and I think it is so stupid.

Yes, there is a problem that everybody faces when they are trying to venture into something new. I say most of the times, and with all due respect, when the son of a sweet maker carries the legacy of his father, no one has an issue with that, but, as soon as some actor's kid intends to become an actor or even step into the film industry, everybody has an issue.

I just want to ask, if you are running a shop, would you actually write that legacy of yours to the best worker you have, or are you doing it for your children? You are doing it for your children and to the extent of the debate between outsiders vs industry kids- I think it's the audience that has to decide.

The audience accepts the people whom they like, and it isn't important, or else, Shah Rukh Khan would have never ventured into the industry.

Giving another example, Chadda said, "The place at which Akshay Kumar stands today he wouldn't be there, and I don't think he has any legacy. But if Akshay Kumar's son wants to step into the industry, he has all the right. His father struggled really hard. And I also heard of a very intriguing tale, that I would really like to share if the key to your house is lost somehow, will you leave your home? I think that this industry is my home and I will find the keys to it somehow, or the way to enter into it. So, according to me, there are two kinds of people, the first kind is the one who abuse or the ones who can relate to the childhood fable of sour grapes, I am sure a lot of people will relate to that, and the second way is to try."

Speaking about 'Flight' he added, "Whatever happens to this film, the one thing that both Suraj and I can say is that we will always be proud of the film that we made. Today we have come this far that our film is finally releasing and it is coming to a good amount of screens in the cinema. Yes, we understand that there is COVID and we request everybody to follow the protocols, keep social distancing, wear their masks, but then this new day and age, and in this new normal, I think we have loved cinema so much that we are still coming to the theatres and we are really proud of that."

Why not a direct to OTT release instead of a theatrical?

Somewhere or the other, a theatre is a theatre, a cinema hall is a cinema hall, and the other screens, I am not taking away from anything. I think many big celebrities have said this thing, and I won't want to quote because sometimes it feels if you are quoting someone, you are taking away the publicity of their name.

I just want to say that many people have said that now the cinema experience for which we have multiple avenues, and which is a good thing, in fact, with the arrival of OTT, people are getting the chance to tell the different kinds of stories. The stories which normally could not be showcased on television, or somewhere or the other, there is a restrain in cinema.

When you enter a cinema hall, by spending 200 or 250 bucks, which is very hard-earned money. And usually, what happens is you don't go alone and take at least three to four people along, so 1000 rupees is a very big amount even in today's day and age. Plus, you also have food and drinks, which makes it kind of an outing, it is like a festivity. So, either your film should be a big event film or your film should be worthy of that big-screen experience -- that we had as a thought in our back of the minds--that the film has to be worthy of a big-screen experience. That is why we changed that entire subject to make it into a large canvas film.

Chadda also spoke about his journey to become an actor and the tale behind it.

Why did you want to become an actor?

During my childhood days, my father was very fond of watching films, and he used to take us to watch movies every weekend, post which when I was studying in school, then my friends randomly said that there is a theatre performance, which was organised in school every year, and friends urged me to do theatre so that we can leave two-three classes.

At that place, I met my acting guru Mr Yuvraj Sharma, and he was a pass out from NSD. I had fun doing acting and nevertheless, I always knew that my mom had a lot of issues with the cinema world.

Initially, I did try to do a lot many things, but after all, I asked my mom for three months. I requested her to give me three months in Mumbai after completing my education, because I completely agreed with her that education is very important and to anybody and everybody, listening to this today because of the education that I had to complete to try my luck in the world of cinema. But education is so important that because of the education I had and that I learned, we were able to set up a company, we were able to set up a VFX studio, however small it is, and create this kind of film.

The actor also did not shy away from answering the question of being stereotyped as an action hero.

You are starting off with an action flick. Do you aspire to be the next action hero?

See, if I say it in short, I want to become a hero. But when you enter films, movies are a commercial business. Films are about narrating stories, about making the audience forget for those two hours, two and a half hours, about every problem that they have, and the heroism in doing that. This is true and I won't agree that any of the actors who aspire to venture into films would disagree, and if he disagrees then he is being a little dishonest that --- everybody wants to become a hero-- and if we say in a politically correct language, they want to become the protagonist of the story.

And as far as an action film is concerned, well I am lucky, I have been into sports as a child and I am a huge martial arts fan, but this film is a story that is worth telling in a cinema hall. This film is a story that is worth watching and getting entertained in a cinema hall, and at least we believe it. I think that is the first step towards making or narrating any story. So, it has got nothing to do with a genre, because if I am a decent enough actor then I should be able to do action, comedy, romance or anything.

What is next for Mohit Chadda?

Please do watch this film, and when you are done watching it, then you will get the answer, he said with a wide smile on his face.

Let's talk more about nepotism?

I don't believe in that. Honestly, in our film, we have a lot of nepotism, because it is a huge emotion in terms of this entire film. My father left us with an unfulfilled dream, and this is a tribute to him. That is why his name is plastered all over the film.

How difficult is it to make an independent film?

See people should watch this film because they want to watch this film and they should have fun watching it, and whether the film is independent or is being made by a big banner, that does not matter to anyone. The audience is going to the theatres to get entertained and we promise that we will surely entertain you. We will make sure that for those two hours, you forget all the problems that you have. Please wear masks but we promise that we will make you forget even about COVID-19.

'Flight' is set to release in theatres on April 2. (ANI)