Took one and a half years to write and research Rafuchakkar: Ritam Srivastav

- July 2, 2023
| By : Santosh Mehta |

Filmmaker Ritam Srivastav, who has closely worked with filmmaker Prakash Jha, speaks about his new web series Rafuchakkar, currently streaming on Jio Cinema

FIRST GLANCE: Rafuchakkar is already streaming on Jio Cinema

Filmmaker Ritam Srivastav draws inspiration from many important names in Hindi cinema, each leaving an indelible mark on his journey. The profound films of Guru Dutt hold a special place in his heart, while the works of Rajkumar Hirani and Amitabh Bachchan shape his creative vision. Among the newer generation of talents, Ritam’s affection for Shah Rukh Khan, Irrfan Khan, and Manoj Bajpayee influenced his path as a director. 

Guidance under noted filmmaker Prakash Jha only added to his love for cinema. Srivastava has worked with Jha as an assistant director on an ensemble of films, which include Gangajal, Satyagraha, Aarakshan, Turning 30, Rajneeti, among others. 

In 2019, Srivastav directed his first short film, Maternity Blues, which kick-started his career as a filmmaker. 

His film Taanashah, loosely based on the life events of notorious bandit Shiv Kumar Patel, featured the young actor Dilip Arya as Shiv and was received well among the audience. 

Arya’s success became evident in web series Beehad Ka Baaghi, which is also directed by Srivastav. Much to his interest in crime thrillers, his web series Raktanchal follows the real-life events of two mafias of Uttar Pradhesh’s Purvanchal in the 1980s. 

His new project Rafuchakkar, a web series streaming on Jio Cinema, is a twisted story of Pawan Kumar aka Prince who is accused of carrying out bizarre scams from diet biscuits to lowcost airlines. 

In a recent interview with Patriot, Srivastav speaks about his web-series. 

Q : Tell us more about Rafuchakkar? What went into its making and how has the journey been since Taanashah

A: Taanashah received good feedback from the audience and it was a great relief that the film did well at the box office. The new project Rafuchakkar may be a fictionalised version of what happens in real life too: it is a story about a con who loots rich people but is also an honest man. In other words, he has many shades.

It took me almost one and a half years to research and work on this story. But my producers helped me a lot. Both Arjun Baren and Kartik Nishander were a great relief when it came to script and research. I could not have done it without their help. 

The shooting of Rafuchakkar has been done in Delhi, Rajasthan, Nainital and Mumbai. 

Q: How did you decide to take Manish Paul as the lead actor? 

A: I think Manish Paul is an amazing actor. He is very talented and has done many different roles. I came to know about him from his film Jug Jug Jeeyo. I loved his performance and decided to meet him in Mumbai. This is what led to the collaboration. To put it precisely, he has many flavours to his acting and he fits the role perfectly. 

Q: What does the promotion of the project look like? Are you directly involved in that? 

A: Social-media plays a big role these days. I have a social media team and they promote my web series and films on various social media platforms. 

Q: Dilip Arya was a remarkable discovery. He is doing well and may perhaps be another big name in the industry. How did you take him? 

A: I collaborated with Dilip because he is very talented and I believed that he needed a chance. But all the mandatory procedures were followed. I usually audition the actors and shortlist them. Once shortlisted, I try to figure out if they fit the role and can deliver the best of their performance in it. Needless to say, this was also the case with Dilip. 

Q: Bollywood seems to be having a rough ride. Many south Indian films are becoming popular among Hindi-speaking audiences. The recent hits such as RRR, Pushpa, and Bahubali suggest this trend. What do you think might be the reason?

A: That’s not true. Zara Hat Ke Zara Bachke is doing well at the box-office. If the content is good, then the audience will love the film. So, it all depends on what we are giving to the audience. Be it south Indian or Bollywood, all these movies are Indian cinema after all. The only difference is the language.

Q: A lot of content on OTT platforms could be deemed vulgar that uses language not preferred by many and may affect children and teenagers. What do you think about it? 

A: That’s true, some web-series show unwanted and vulgar stuff. As a director, I am always careful and follow the guidelines. I never want to intentionally hurt anyone. 

LEARNING FROM THE BEST: Ritam Srivastav started his career as an assistant director under Prakash Jha

Q: Patriot caters largely to Delhiites. Our readers will be interested in knowing what you love about the city. 

A: I believe it is an interesting place and I have many profound memories of it. During my shooting days in Delhi, I had lunch at Nizamuddin and it immediately became my favourite place. I made it a point to go there with my team to have lunch. I miss it now. 

I also loved visiting Pragati Maidan and Appu Ghar. I feel bad that Appu Ghar is now shifted to some other place. I visited it during my shoot and I still have lovely memories. I can say that Appu Ghar was my favourite place to visit in the city. Moreover, I have my uncles and cousins in Delhi. Whenever I get a chance to visit them, I feel good. It is a happening place and I love the atmosphere. 

Q: Does anyone from your family come from a film background? 

A: Nope. Nobody in my family is in Bollywood. It was solely my passion that drove me to this industry. Today, I feel happy to get recognition and I love my audience for it. 

Q: Any message for upcoming artists? 

A: I don’t want to give any message. I just want to advise them that they should be honest and realise their potential. If they get rejected, they should not lose their confidence. Do not lose heart, have confidence and work hard!