Art & Entertainment

Dibakar Banerjee Reveals Why He Cast Fresh Faces For 'LSD 2', Shares Singers Refusing To Sing Due To 'Provocative' Content

Dibakar Banerjee revealed the reason behind casting fresh talents in 'Love Sex Aur Dhokha 2', his Netflix film, 'Tees' getting shelved, how it affected him and a lot more.

Instagram
Dibakar Banerjee Photo: Instagram
info_icon

Filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee dons several hats. He is a writer, director, and producer, known for the diversity he brings to his work. After 14 years of release of 'Love Sex Aur Dhokha', Dibakar reunited with Ektaa R Kapoor for 'Love Sex Aur Dhokha 2' aka 'LSD 2'. Like the previous one, he aims to create a pathbreaking film with this one too. 'LSD 2' hit the screens today, April 19. Ahead of the film's release, Outlook Indian had a freewheeling conversation with the maverick filmmaker where he spoke at length about the dark and juicy content of 'LSD 2', the reason behind casting fresh talents, his Netflix film getting shelved, how it affected him and a lot more.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

Dibakar, thanks for the comeback. From the trailer, we can make it out that like 'LSD', the sequel will also be pathbreaking. How did you develop the concept and how did the the genesis start?

Genesis of the idea started from Ekta. It wasn't mine. It was around 2019 when she called and told me 'I feel like doing LSD. Do you feel like it?' I said 'Look now that you're telling me and now that after 10-11 years have gone by, I feel that the world has changed enough and I think a new world has come about and a new generation has come about and new sets of madness insanity and craziness has come. It's all pretty fucked up and dark and juicy. So, we can do something with LSD too, but I don't have the stories'.

I was making my Netflix original at that time and then COVID happened and then after COVID we started again and here we are. The genesis of the stories is connected to two very talented writers who were co-writers with me on the project- Shubham and Prateek Vats, the team that made 'Eeb Allay Ooo' which is on Netflix. You can see what a brilliant independent film it is. So, they came on board and we worked for about a year to come up with the stories and screenplay.

Do you feel it will ruffle many feathers when it is released? Ektaa also said in one of the interviews she would go hiding after the film's release.

I don't know about the feathers and the ruffling bit but the thing is that definitely, if you know one of the characters is a transgender actress who is looking to upgrade her vagina while fighting with her mom who is seeing her for the first time in life as a woman. There's another protagonist, a transgender janitor in a huge multinational corporate office who is actually defending her right to sell her body to survive. The third story is about an 18-year-old gamer, a foul-mouthed, absolutely misogynistic influencer who's a huge hit amongst teenagers and kids his age. His struggle with his sexuality is on display on the internet where he's getting trolled day in and day out. In fact, he's getting a taste of his music and how he's trying to get out of that.

So, these three stories and the premise itself will provoke and shock and probably put off a part of the audience who do not want to see the reality around themselves but want to see what they want to see in their heads. So, when you take the reality around yourself and then kind of compress it into a kind of explosive bomb or something like that, then it's slightly difficult to take. I think the young audiences will find themselves in the film and my films have always provoked more than pandered. In our focus groups, a lot of people came out a little scared but not because it's provocative but scared existentially.

Dibakar, was it a conscious decision to take fresh faces because in LSD also there were fresh faces? Was there any strategy behind not casting known faces?

The strategy is simple. I mean if you take a transgender actress who's trying for a vaginal upgrade tell me which Indian actress will do it?

We've had singers refusing to sing our songs because they don't want to associate with a brand as provocative as LSD 2. So, if singers are not willing to sing our songs because it's too provocative and dangerous in terms of their choice of topic, then which actor will do? And then getting an actress and then putting her up as a cis woman and dressing her up as a trans woman. I mean the thing is that I'm okay with a little bit of hypocrisy. I mean all of us in Bollywood survive on that but too much hypocrisy will make the film slightly lame. So, I couldn't have cast anybody known because there was nobody fit.

Where will I get an 18-year-old gamer foul-mouthed gamer from known actors? Where will I get a genuine transgender actress who can act as this janitor that I'm talking about? I'm not just casting for gender. They also should know how to act. I am casting for gender and casting ability. I needed all three genders- a man, a woman who in this case is a man who's acting as a woman who was a man and I need a transgender actress and a woman who can act as a transgender woman.

In one of the interviews, you said the writers wanted you to stay away from the Bollywoodgiri. Why so?

Advertisement

They are very committed to some extent to their ideology and the kind of films that they make. Their world is much bigger than Bollywood. They are rightfully scared about somebody from Bollywood, even somebody marginal like me coming and shitting all over it because that's what we do. We shit all over it right. In the end, they were okay with it.

Earlier, in one of the interviews, you also said you don't cast A-listers because they might take 3 months to do a workshop with you. Is this the reason you don't prefer to work with A-listers?  

Advertisement

I don't think the choice is with me at all. The kind of subjects, treatment and the kind of films that I do, I don't think A-listers can do it. I think my films are too small for A-listers to fit in because my films are mainly centred around characters and not around stars. That character has to behave and come into the zone of the story and submit him or herself to the story and the character whereas the star system is something where the star is above the story. That's why. I am not saying that I don't want to take A-listers.

Does it hurt when your dream project doesn't release? I am talking about Tees which was supposed to release on Netflix. How do you deal with such setbacks?

Advertisement

As of now, Netflix told us that they weren't sure if this was the right time to release the film and that's it. Since they own the IP and I was paid completely and the film completely belonged to them, there is nothing that I can do about it. In terms of what happened to me and what I went through, my therapist's bills went up, and my family had to contend with an anger and rage-filled family member. So, you see that's the whole point. Some decision taken somewhere actually goes domino by domino and reaches a 10-year-old child who sees a very angry father and that's what LSD 2 is all about. I mean, how decisions taken in closed rooms actually affect lives.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement