Ravi Adhikari is the son of noted media icon Gautam Adhikari. He recently directed the series Karm Yuddh which was the talk of the town and one of the most viewed series of 2022. He’s aware of his legacy and is all set to proudly carry it forward to a new eon, even as he sets up his own benchmark. In an exclusive interview with Filmfare, he charts out his vision and also shares insights into his past. Excerpts from a heartwarming interview:
You are carrying forward your father’s illustrious heritage. You must be carrying a heavy burden as a result.
It goes without saying that future generations will be scrutinised because their father has accomplished so much and put so much effort into his life. However, I see it as more of a responsibility than a burden. We count ourselves fortunate and are grateful to my late father, Gautam Adhikari, and my uncle, Markand Adhikari, for their contributions to the world of entertainment. Therefore, it is our duty to advance it and, with God’s help, raise it significantly for our next generation.
Tell us about the memories you have of your late father, Gautam Adhikari.
It would take several pages if I began to tell you the tales of my father. But his 3Ps theory of work is something I’ll always remember. Patience, Passion, and Paisa. If you don’t do it with passion, don’t do it at all. Observe Paisa. Every penny saved is a penny earned, but don’t be penny wise and dumb because you’ll lose all you’ve worked so hard to save. Have Patience; it is very important in our area of business. The creative process is very similar to cooking. A certain length of time is needed. Varna khana pheeka banega (The food would be tasteless otherwise). What he meant to say is that the creative process cannot be hurried. Growing up, I saw him more often on the set than at home. I used to accompany him to the shooting sets to spend time with him after school or on breaks. He once put in nonstop work. There was a period when he was simultaneously directing a Marati film and a Gujarati show while also directing his debut Hindi feature. His timetable consisted of a 7 a.m.–7 p.m. shift followed by a 7 p.m.–7 a.m. shift for the following shoot. After that, edit the footage before returning home to be ready for another shot. His dedication to his task was ingrained in my mind.
What made you decide to pursue direction?
Like most Indians, I spent a significant amount of my life wanting to pursue cricket before realising that there is a difference between a hobby and a passion. I was willing to sacrifice a lot for filmmaking, but not as much for cricket. Storytelling is ingrained in my genetic makeup. My grandfather was a cameraman, and my father was a director. I would therefore say, “Mujhe yeh virasat mein mili hai” in order to satisfy my drive to tell stories in a visual way. But I do recall that after watching a movie in a theatre, I used to go home and mentally recreate the magical experience. The experience of watching movies became addictive. Movies are my source of dopamine. And every time I saw a good movie, something inside of me would be jealous (in a healthy way) . Why wasn’t I who made this? And this feeling made me feel the need to tell my stories and not just watch others tell theirs.
You’ve directed a series for OTT (Karm Yuddh), a Marathi feature (Lochya Jhala Re), and a Hindi movie (Dheet Patangey), all very distinct things.
Yes, the three pieces I’ve directed have all been in very distinct genres from one another. The platform and storytelling are also varied, in addition to the genre. The direct-to-digital film Dheet Patangey is available for streaming. The movie is a slice-of-life story about friendship. The story takes place around the time of the Cricket World Cup in 1983 and 2011. It was a fantastic experience to relive those eras. The characters in it called for a different story than the ones in Lochya Zala Re, a hugely popular Marathi film. When it came to Karm Yuddh, I had to deal with strong, cold-hearted characters who insisted their story be portrayed dramatically. After dealing with lighthearted and endearing characters in my two previous works, I also got the opportunity to delve deeply into twisted characters and gradually reveal their layers in Karm Yuddh. However, as a human being who goes through a variety of emotions, I want to communicate those emotions through my work with the audience. Therefore, I want to continue experimenting with new genres and themes.
Lochya… is a comedy, while the series belongs to the drama genre. Which of these do you prefer?
Sri Adhikari Brothers and comedy are synonyms. Right from the time of Doordarshan to the present, we have created path breaking comedies. We went on to create India’s biggest comedy brand, Sab TV. Humour has been a big part of my upbringing. So my inclination toward comedy was always there. Who doesn’t want to make people laugh? But when it comes to telling a story, my preference is always the characters, regardless of the genre. I always feel that the characters transcend the narrative. The story ends, not the characters, but the characters definitely end up with the story. I make sure that I get along with the characters because a director needs to be emotionally committed to them throughout the entire production. For me, characters always take precedence over genre. The genre is established by the story’s characters.
What are you currently working on?
I’m in the process of developing a movie and two online shows. What develops more quickly will determine what I do next. I’m just hanging out with the characters at the moment. I’m checking to see who remains. And whose tales I find exciting enough to share. I’m hoping that both the star-crossed lovers and I won’t be let down. Fingers crossed!