Through the lens, humouredly by 'Guns & Gulaabs' creators Raj and DK
Directors Raj and DK rely on nostalgia as they create a brand new world for their latest show, Guns & Gulaabs
Quirky, offbeat and genre-bending are words often associated with filmmakers, writers and producers Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK. Raj and DK, as they are collectively called, see the world through a unique lens, the tint of which changes with every project. For their latest offering, Guns & Gulaabs, they have trained their focus on the world of opium trade in 90s’ India.
“Like many of our viewers, there is an element of nostalgia for us as well. The 90s are when we were growing up and it seems like a much innocent and simpler time,” says DK. Raj agrees, “All the characters in the show, (notwithstanding their murky backgrounds) are simple-minded and straight-forward. As people, they are not complicated.”
Starring Rajkummar Rao, Dulquer Salmaan, Gulshan Devaiah and Adarsh Gourav among others, the comedy-crime thriller series, which released on Netflix earlier this month, is the third such show by the duo. They have previously made Manoj Bajpayee-starrer The Family Man and Shahid Kapoor’s Farzi to much acclaim. With Guns & Gulaabs, the idea was to create a pulp series. “We just wanted to have fun while creating the cinematic world of Gulaabgunj. We even changed the way we shoot, and used a wide screen with low angles, so it looks distinctively different from our previous shows. This is unabashed and fun storytelling,” says Raj.
College buddies since their days at SVU College of Engineering in Andhra Pradesh, the two have some of the most novel films, including 99, Shor in the City, Go Goa Gone, and Stree (which they wrote and produced) to their credit. They attribute their success to the unique worlds they create onscreen. “We have always kept it a little light-hearted. Most of our ideas come from observation,” Raj says, adding that even before he became a filmmaker, he used to have a set of diaries where he would note anything interesting that caught his eye. “I realised later that most of them were just a funnier way of looking at serious things,” he adds. There is, in fact, a humorous undertone that pervades through all their stories. DK believes it comes naturally to them. “But, we don’t go for gags.
I think the audience laughs louder at a subtle quip in a drama than a joke in a comedy,” he observes.
It is perhaps this comic touch, combined with the unique premises that made both The Family Man and Farzi big hits. Talking about how they have managed to crack the streaming space, Raj says, “I think it comes from feeling a bit liberated as filmmakers. A series does away with the restrictions of a film, allowing room to add more scenes, develop a character better, add more characters and subplots.” The challenges? “You have to write content worth eight hours,” he laughs.
But if they had to pick between the two, they admit they can’t. “Change is a good thing for creative people. Now that we have made three series, we cannot wait to get back and make a film,” says DK, adding that their next yet-to-be-titled movie is based on a “brand-new idea”. Also in the pipeline is the third season of The Family Man, which they are currently writing, and the Varun Dhawan-Samantha Ruth Prabhu starrer-Citadel.
The duo also started a subsidiary of their production company D2R Indie to produce indie films in 2021. Although their maiden venture, Telugu film Cinema Bandi, received a lot of appreciation, they are yet to back another project under the banner. “As a production house, one is expected to keep bankrolling a couple of films every year, but we’d rather go with the right feeling about a script than run after the business of cinema,” Raj says.