I Didn’t Want Known Faces: Sujoy Ghosh on Netflix’s ‘Typewriter’

What’s ‘Typewriter’ all about?

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Fresh off the success of Badla, director Sujoy Ghosh is now making his foray into the digital world with the series Typewriter, that will drop in Netflix on 19 July. He spoke to The Quint about the challenges of writing a series, crafting a thriller and living under the shadow of Kahaani.

When I was watching Typewriter, it took me back to the days when I used to read Famous Five or Secret Seven. These bunch of kids who are trying to investigate something, and you also wanted to be that kid who could actually find that haunted house. So, what were your influences and how did you think of this?

Actually, exactly what you said. I mean, you answered your own question. When we were growing up, we didn’t have TV or internet so we predominantly had books and our books were Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and The Three Investigators and Biggles and all kinds of things which we were supposed to read and not supposed to read. But we read them all. I think I was an avid fan of Enid Blyton, so I think that stayed with me. And you know what you said that you felt like you were going on an adventure yourself, that’s how we used to feel when we used to read. We just wanted to do something like that, to do something which a younger audience will enjoy, where they would feel that they are the protagonists and they are actually solving the mystery rather than the adults solving it. Also, you expect an adult to solve a mystery, you don’t expect kids to do these things. And then when I met Netflix, they were equally enthusiastic about the whole thing and said let’s do this.

Most filmmakers say that it’s really hard to work with children and dogs, how did you manage that?

Kids, dogs, water, you avoid all. At the end of the day these are nine-year-old kids. You should be out there playing, they should also be out there playing. But instead they are working, so their attention span is a little less than a goldfish. I think the reason they say you should not work with a kid is because as a filmmaker you only have a limited number of hours in a day, and out of those eight hours I would like at least six to be productive. But when you are working with a kid and a dog, your productive hours are like two or two-and-a-half. With some luck maybe 2 hours and 35 minutes. But you know it is a learning experience. I used to think after I did my ICSE Geography that I was invincible but then after working with kids and a dog I am like super invincible now.

From all the stuff you’ve made, the most amount of success you have had is with your thrillers. So what do you think you are able to bring to that genre that works for people?

What you are complimenting me on, according to me, is a precondition for any filmmaker. You need whoever is seeing it to be invested in it because every time you fail to do that the film doesn’t work.

Watch the video for the full conversation!

Camera: Sanjoy Deb
Camera Assistant: Gautam Sharma
Video Editor: Ashish MacCune

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