Hisss is on the brink of release and as time comes close to the date it hits cinemas, we are seeing more and more from the Hisss camp. More recently, you probably have caught the latest music videos promoting the snake film starring the likes of Mallika Sherawat, Irrfan Khan and Divya Dutta. These impressive videos, one featuring Mallika and the other Shruti Hassan, have been directed by the very talented choreographer and director, Yogesh Dixit. In the past, Dixit has been a part of many famous music videos. It was because of his innate talent and unique style that he was called upon to take on the task of compiling and directing the music videos that would work as promotion for Hisss. BollySpice talks to the director of the videos as he explains his techniques, the ladies and of course, Hisss.
Tell us about your experience in choreography and directing music videos?
Music and films was always my passion. Directing music videos is great fun. Being in Bollywood, you get to learn both the aspects of film making, direction and choreography. Music, being an integral part of Indian cinema makes it very important to tell a story in the song which connects or takes the story further. Directing a music video is an art in itself, it’s an art of creating a story in 3 minutes, the minimum length of a song. I have directed 5 music videos as of now: two for DJ Aqeel’s album, Forever and three for the Hisss movie starring Mallika Sherawat and Irrfan Khan. Every song is unique in its story telling, crafting, shot taking makes all the fives tracks different.
In the past, what other music videos have you been directed?
My debut as a director was for DJ Aqeel’s video ‘Liya Liya’. DJ Aqeel is finest DJ India has ever produced. It’s a remix album, DJ Aqeel Forever with 7 songs in total. After looking at the output of Liya Liya, DJ Aqeel offered me to direct a tribute video for the Late Mr. Feroz Khan. It was an honor to direct a tribute for India’s style icon.
Your most popular video is the recently directed Sway for the film Hisss which features Mallika Sherawat. What was your brief for the song?
Hisss is very unique genre film directed by Jennifer Lynch, daughter of David Lynch and produced by Nuclear Mango/Split Image Pictures and Venus Records and Tapes for the Indian audience. The story is very earthy and Bollywood. I was associated to the film from the beginning. I knew everything about the film and it was very close to my soul.
Before I explain the brief, I want to take you through very brief back story of how I got the opportunity to direct ‘Sway’. One of the producers of the film William Sees Keenan (WSK) emailed me regarding making the video, and I thought he must be asking me to make a behind the scene of the video. I said yes without realizing what would be showered one then everything went very well.
Association with Lynch’s and Lennon’s, the two “L’s” of entertainment business and their off springs what else you could ask for? It’s an honor and delight to be associated with composer Julian Lennon who composed the track. Mallika [Sherawat] is singing for the first time. When I first heard the track, I found the track very hypnotic and erotic. The brief from WSK was to, ‘make it simple and quick but artistically innovative’. The most difficult part of film making or directing is simplicity. The simpler things are the most difficult things to showcase.
I had one most difficult hurdle; the visuals of the music video should be in par with the film. The visuals by Jennifer Lynch should connect to the story. The best way to connect the visuals and lyrics of the video was to make Mallika play with the mirage visuals of her own character. That’s where I thought why don’t I project the surreal visuals from the film on the wall and make Mallika play with the visuals. The lyrics are “Tan dole mera man dole…”
The video is very unique and abstract in its visual treatment. This was an opportunity for me to showcase my creativity for a music video that has been lingering in me for long. I am a big fan of Pink Floyd and Bjork music videos. They are abstract and visually stunning. The visual inspiration comes from their music.
How was it directing Mallika Sherawat? Did you find her to be a good dancer?
Directing Mallika was a delight. There was no dance moves in the song ‘Sway’ because the concept didn’t require the dance steps. It’s more on the emotions and facial expression. But when she dances, she is electric.
Were you happy with the outcome of the final video?
As a filmmaker creating something that I totally believe, the real outcome is when people who I make videos for feel entertained. But yes I am happy with the outcome. It’s overwhelming.
What kind of feedback are you receiving from the video?
Feedback is stupendously superb and I feel delighted by the response. People like the concept of the video as they have not seen something like this before in Bollywood.
How do you feel the song will help the outcome of Hisss as a film?
The music of Hisss is very different and its not regular Bollywood music. It has songs composed by Julian Lennon, David Kushner, Anu Malik, Salim-Sulaiman, Sweta Pandit and Punjabi MC. There is little for everyone who loves different genre of music and that’s how it will help Hisss.
When I made Aqeel hear this track his only sentence that came out of his mouth was, “When do you want the remix version of this track?” Now, that the remix of the track is done and will be released soon.
What can you tell us about the next video Beyond the Snake which has been sung by Shruti Hassan. What were your directions when directing the second video?
‘Beyond the Snake’ is written, sung and features Shruti Hassan. She has teamed up with rock icon David Kushner of Velvet Revolver. It is a rock track alongside David, who has composed it. This number will be aired globally this weekend. It’s dream come true for me.
After hearing the Shruti’s track I was blown away by its poetic and mystical lyrics added with heavy music by David. So when I heard that Shruti will be featuring in the song, we thought to take full leverage of her glamour and beauty. Imagine two beautiful women of Bollywood, Shruti Hassan and Mallika Sherawat, in one track is stupendous. ‘Beyond the Snake’ has Shruti’s glamour and hard hitting visuals from Hisss.
Do you feel people will inevitably compare both videos? How have you ensured that both videos will be different in their direction?
Absolutely no. There is no comparison as it was composed by two amazing composers from two different genres, Julian Lennon and David Kushner. It was very clear from the day on when we heard the tracks, the Mallika and Julian song will be abstract and Shruti and David track will be visually glamorous. Even the film shots that been used in both the tracks are entirely different. Mallika’s song has beautiful shots of the Mallika’s longing, emotion, quest for her love and on the other hand Shruti’s track has the action, blood, mud and grunge shots from the film.
In your opinion, how can music videos help the promotion of a film like Hisss?
Bollywood music is omnipresent in India. It caters to beyond all the strata and all the age groups. It’s the companion of loneliness, expression of love, celebrations of happiness, and so on. It’s like Hisss is a Bollywood film with Hollywood crew. So, when we talk about Bollywood or for the matter of fact any Indian cinema, music is always an integral part and will always remain.
These music videos are the platform to showcase more content form the film for the audience to come to theatres and enjoy the film; each video has no repetitive visuals from the film. I learnt this from my producer and friend WSK to show more content that’s how these’s music videos will help the film Hisss with its contents.
What would you say is your unique sense of style when it comes to music direction and how have you incorporated it into both videos?
I don’t follow any particular style as such, it depends on the brief and track and script. I like to keep myself fluid. Music of both the tracks are absolutely different. Julian Lennon’s track is soft and hypnotic where as David Kushner track is heavy and rebellious. The visual treatments was absolutely different.
Visuals for the Mallika Sherawat and Julian Lennon song is longing, pain, love, emotions, where as Shruti Hassan and David Kushner song is revenge, killing, action, full throttle energy. If you see both the videos they are absolutely unique in styling, composition, visuals and treatment.
What will we see coming from you in the near future?
[I am] working on Aqeel’;s third video it’s a remix of famous Bollywood track ‘Dum Maro Dum’. I am also writing script and looking forward to direct feature by early next year. Go with the flow that’s my motto.
Who are some actors or musicians you would like to work with?
Aamir Khan, Ranbir Kapoor matter of fact would love to work with all the top actors of Bollywood. As for musicians, Pink Floyd, Bjork, Black Eyed Peas and Radiohead.
What message do you have for the fans and viewers of Hisss?
Go and watch the movie Hisss and come fall in love with the nagin, Mallika Sherawat.
Before I sign off I want to thank Jennifer Lynch, Mallika Sherawat, Shruti Hassan, Julian Lennon, David Kushner, William Sees Keenan, Vikram Singh and Govind Menon and everyone who has helped me achieve this music videos success.
Hisss opens in theaters on Friday, October 22nd.
Check out the ‘Sway’ video!