When Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney + Hotstar are all vying for you to be a part of their projects, you know you have struck filmmaking gold. Former journalist-turned-writer-director Suparn Verma, who directed five episodes of The Family Man 2, besides doing the screenplay and dialogues, is enjoying the enviable position right now. For the filmmaker, who had previously helmed movies such as Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena (2005) and Acid Factory (2009), the Manoj Bajpayee-starrer has opened the floodgates of film offers.
Verma had been roped in for the second season of The Family Man even before the release of Season 1, which is why he says there wasn’t any additional pressure on him to live up to any expectations. “I wrote without any sword hanging on my head. My only worry was that the producers and the actor had been my friends for the last decade and I had to do the best job in the world because I didn’t want anything to affect our friendship. I’m happy that it shaped up well and the audiences loved it,” he says.
One could say ‘serendipity’ is Verma’s middle name. As a journalist working with Rediff.com, Verma would often conduct chat sessions with people from the film industry for the upcoming web platform in the late 1990s. During one such session—where he was hosting Ram Gopal Varma—the duo got talking and before he knew it, the filmmaker asked Verma to write a film for him. Ultimately things did not work out, but by then Verma had invested six months into film writing and it had taught him something about how film stories should be told. The next episode of serendipity came with Hansal Mehta and Manoj Bajpayee, during another chat session. To cut a long story short, this time Verma went on to pen Chhal for Mehta, and later directed Bajpayee in Acid Factory (2009). And a filmmaker was born.
This ComicCon fan has a quirky side to him too, clearly evident in the Instagram post of him mock-biting the head of a Shrek-themed birthday cake. A self-confessed horror film fan—he wrote and directed Aatma (2013) starring Bipasha Basu and Nawazudin Siddiqui—it is no coincidence that he considers Ram Gopal Varma, who has given Bollywood some of its genuinely scary horror masterpieces, one of his gurus. Also, his Twitter timeline is full of his love for the horror genre, and especially writer Stephen King, who he pays a tribute to with a tattoo. Says he in a tweet: “B-cinema has fuelled the imagination of a generation of writers and directors over the decades. Art doesn’t need to always be the ‘best’ to inspire. It just needs to exist to find its audience.” Like King who inspired a young Verma, he in turn is inspiring the next generation, like his young son who writes seven-page fantasy stories involving polar bears and dragons.
Given his love for all things dark, one really hopes that at least one of his upcoming OTT ventures deal with the supernatural. A guilty pleasure would certainly be a desi monster because we’ve had enough of spirit dolls and possessed scream queens with a penchant for twisting their bodies. It’s time we had our own version of Alfred Hitchcock.