Zoya Akhtar, Surekha Sikri on Working Together in ‘Ghost Stories’
Ghost Stories released on Netflix, with four directors’ stories and a great variety of cast. The Quint caught up with director Zoya Akhtar and actor Surekha Sikri who stars in her short-film which is part of Netflix’s horror anthology. While Surekha Sikri talked about her love for acting and working, Zoya Akhtar shared her thoughts on working with her and entering the horror genre.
Zoya, Ma’am, thank you for doing this and thank you for being on The Quint. You know, I want to ask you this first, that when you’re making a film designed to scare people, are there influences that you’ve seen, that you used when you were writing?
Zoya: Firstly, because it is not a genre that I’ve dabbled with before, I wanted to know what kind of story I wanted to tell and then your influences definitely come into play because what are the stories you’re attracted to and why are you attracted to them? And what resonates with me are stories that run deeper than just the jump scare. You know, that stay with you, that are a little more human, and so I was looking for a story like that. And then you also see stuff to look at those films that you’ve liked, you see how sound was designed, and how they’ve told the story. So yes, you have to refresh it because it is a different genre and you don’t want to fall into the tropes. You want to be able to do it yourself and do something unique but, yes, you tell your story and do a refresher course and you look at things for sure, yeah.
Because otherwise you’re probably writing things that come naturally to you like a genre has not been given to you and you’re been asked to create things otherwise.
Zoya: Well I’ve worked with a writer on this, I’ve worked with a writer who is a horror movie geek she’s a 26 year old girl called Ensia Mirza she’s an encyclopedia of horror cinema.
You know there’s so much conversation about how there aren’t many great characters for older female actors and you’ve just had an amazing performance in Badhaai Ho and then there’s this, do you think that there is still some scope for great writing for older female parts?
Surekha Sikri: Definitely there is.
And for you why was it essential that you wanted her in the film?
Zoya: I’ve been wanting to work with her for a while actually. And we almost collaborated on Gully Boy but her dates for Badhaai Ho didn’t allow her to do it. And when we were writing this film she was going to be number one.