Sunil Sanjan makes Flat No 211, an indie Bollywood horror film that’s brings its horror to a particular apartment. That concept is a fresh take on the age-old Bollywood concept of a haunted mansion or an old dilapidated structure that’s home to ghosts. We caught up with Sunil and spoke to him about the film.
What inspired you to make the film?
I am from Dubai and I have been in the IT profession for all my life. In Dubai, I used to stay with a friend in a flat. We used to discuss films and scripts and finally came up with this one. What if the house one stayed in was haunted? That’s what inspired this film. This is not an out and out horror film. It has its mystery elements. Yes, some viewers may find the film to be directed as a horror flick, but it is actually a mystery flick.
How was the shooting experience for Flat No 211?
It was great. Most of my cast has a theater background. Some of them have worked in advertisements and other short films. They knew their task and that made making this film all the easier. I have worked with some great talent in this film. The audio has a Mika Singh track, it also has Ash King and Harshdeep Kaur, Tarannum Mallik and others. So, it was a great experience all in all.
There’s this thought in the Industry that a mystery flick seldom works. What made you decide on a mystery flick then?
As I told you earlier, I made this film on a shoe-string budget. So, I had to make a film that matched the resources that I had. I didn’t have a big backer for this film. And why I decided to make a mystery film, I thought, at least the audience will watch the film once, if it is made in a nice manner.
Speaking of Mystery films, we don’t have any sleuths like they have in the West. Do you think the audience rejects sleuths?
It is true that in India, we don’t have the sleuthing yet. Apart from Byomkesh Bakshy!, we don’t. That was a well-made film, it is another matter that it didn’t work. But our audience is maturing. It has access to Hollywood content today, so it is just a matter of time.
How was your post production experience?
I always thought that making a film was the most difficult part. It’s not. The real difficulty starts after the film is made. I faced a unique problem with the Censors. They said that this was a clean film, there’s no sex, no gore, but yet, we can’t give you a U certificate. It is a ridiculous concept in 2017. People can see what they want on the streaming screens. What achievement is it to moderate and judge what people will see in the theaters? It was a difficult process to sell this film too. I faced a lot of issues, because this wasn’t a typical rom-com that’d sell itself.
Flat 211 is now in theaters. You can watch the trailer of the Flat No 211 here: