I am not an accidental filmmaker, says Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior's director, Om Raut

Lokmanya in Marathi, followed by Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior and now, Adipurush in Hindi…Filmmaker Om Raut has a special spot for films that stem from history and written material that has been passed down for generations together. In a recent chat with BT, the writer-director opened up on why he believes in choosing subjects that have a cultural relevance for the common man. He feels instantly drawn to them, and the written material available often forms the base of his scripts and character sketches. Talking about it, Om said, “I love drawing character sketches. And I do it intently by reading up everything available on the subject that I am pursuing. Fortunately, the films I have associated myself with have been based on a lot of material which one had to read and understand. As a part of preparation, I also tell my actors to read on the side about the characters they are playing. Saif Ali Khan, for instance, did a lot of reading about his character in Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior and the time the film was set in. However, I want my actors to rely on the script written for the film. For prep, all the actors – Ajay Devgn, Saif, Prabhas – have attended the workshops and reading sessions but it is virtually impossible for them with their work commitments to dedicate excess time to any one character. Hence, it is my duty to handhold them to the cliff from where I want to see them gliding. I prepare myself thoroughly, so I have answers to all the possible questions they will ask about their character at any given time. It’s worked twice in the past for me.”

Om Raut didn’t become a filmmaker by chance. He had been planning to pursue this career from the time he was in school, which is the reason he approaches the craft meticulously and delves deep into every aspect of his film’s subjects. “I was not an ad filmmaker. I used to work for MTV in the US, in New York. Advertising was a part of the job. Once a story-teller, always a story-teller. In every form of story-telling, you are only trying to paint a picture the way it is in your mind. I feel a film like Tanhaji… needed that canvas and scale, and so does Adipurush. The spectacle is created keeping the narrative in mind. For me, making films was always something that I wanted to do. I have been to a film school and formally trained in filmmaking. Even during the time when I worked at the music network, the conversation was always about cinema. I am not an accidental filmmaker. I decided to become one when I was in class 4. I had attended the premiere of Jurassic Park when I was in class 10. It was executed so beautifully. I did a lot of reading to understand that all of that was created using computers and technology. I did a Masters Course in films and I am an engineer. I have planned and carved my journey. I have had this dream since the time I was a child to be the guy standing next to the camera and telling what is to be canned. I am lucky to have lived my dream,” Om signed off.