Filmmaker Ram Madhvani made a successful directorial debut in 2016 with Sonam Kapoor starrer Neerja. Four years after making the brave biographical drama, the director has made a web-series starring Sushmita Sen titled Aarya. It’s currently been streamed on Disney+Hotstar and has already garnered good reviews from both the critics and the audience. In an exclusive interaction with india.com, Ram now opened up on how Neerja changed his life, how much of Aarya does he see in Sushmita, and if he believes the web-space gives more creative liberty to artistes as compared to the mainstream cinema space. Excerpts: Also Read - Aarya's Chandrachur Singh Reflects Back on The Horrible Accident That Turned His Life And Career Upside Down
What drives you towards stories about female angst? Whether it’s Neerja or Aarya, you have created a world where your protagonists are highly motivated with a do-or-die sort of courage.
Aarya was something we have been wanting to make for around nine years. So it was before Neerja. I am drawn to strong characters. It just happened that in both Neerja and Aarya they were women. Also Read - Sushmita Sen Opens up About Aarya, Says 'It Represents Strength, Betrayal, Vulnerability in Crime World'
Does having Sushmita Sen on-board make things easier for a director? Do you see a bit of Aarya in her?
Sushmita defines Aarya. She is graceful, has strength and vulnerability. Because she is a really great actress it helped all three of us directors Sandeep Rawat, Vinod Rawat, and I. And both Sandeep Modi and me as co-creators. She comes also with great experience and a positive attitude and aura.
Do you believe women have this inherent quality of fixing up things for men or coming to their rescue whenever they have messed up brutally in life? Lik how Aarya does.
I am surrounded by strong women (including my co-producer and wife Amita Madhvani) and they have certainly protected and helped me.
What took you so long to come up with another project after Neerja’s success and why a web-series, not a feature film?
I was just waiting for the universe to make this happen. Aarya needs this length to develop the characters and story. It’s a story about relationships and relationships take time to build.
Do you see digital space as a sort of escape ground for those who haven’t been able to exhaust their creative potential in the mainstream cinema space?
I feel that there is space for all experiences. I believe there are experiences for OTT and for theatrical. And we should enjoy all of them.
Do you see a difference in writing for female characters in both the mainstream and the digital space? Do you see more characters being written for women in the lead and more screen space reserved for female characters in the webspace?
What’s great in the digital space is that a lot of talent that may not have got to shine in the mainstream world is now getting their due. Whether its writers or directors or actors. We are discovering more and more talent. And that’s refreshing.
To what extent did Neerja help you to establish your creative self in the industry? Do you think the success it gave is satisfying or enough?
There are different kinds of successes… personal, commercial, critical, etc, and it’s very rare to get all of them together. Neerja was a blessing where all of the different successes happened. It helped people to know my name and allowed us to launch Ram Madhvani Films with Amita Madhvani and me as co-producers. Aarya is our first venture and we are very happy and grateful for the responses and love Aarya is getting.