If you think you know a director with a newfound interesting way of thinking and planning things out, you will be surprised when you learn about Mukesh Asopa. I’ve met several directors with all their own styles (and am currently working with one of them), but never in my 6-7 years of experience have I ever heard of somebody like this. Meet Mukesh, a director with his own thought-up creative methods of directing and planning. We’ll get more into those a little later, but first let me tell you a little bit about some of his work. Recently, he has made two films just before the COVID pandemic and then released them recently. The first one is Depth of Pyaar, about a young boy named Ansh who has an interesting medical condition where the light outside makes him nervous. When a killer is loose in the town, murdering those who don’t pay his ransom, Ansh stays at home where he bonds with a woman who watches over him. Mukesh’s other film Bloody Romeo is also about an Introvert who keeps to himself until he comes across a woman. Mukesh not only directed this one, but starred in it as well. He’s practically a man of many abilities. But just how does he tell his stories? It’s time for him to tell us all in this interview right now!
HNMAG: I hear you have a unique filmmaking style. How would you explain it?
Mukesh: When it comes to storytelling, I prefer to pick the stories which are being told in the way that I want to present. It could be a thriller, it could be a drama, it could be a horror, or it could be a suspense. Now my soul focus is to create something that I want to say as it’s not being presented on the big screen. My writing as well as my art direction team, and my entire crew, we organize a few meetings once the script is locked, and from there we plan everything accordingly.
HNMAG: Sounds like you cover a lot of ground, how do you choose what genre to work with when telling the story?
Mukesh: It all depends on the story. Thriller, Drama, Horror, is what I prefer but a lot of the time I do blending as well.
HNMAG: That’s interesting. Why do you blend genres together, and what kind of blends do you come up with?
Mukesh: I think that in a story, even a thriller or drama, there has to be some component of romance. There have to be some characters who are romantically or comically involved with other characters. Comedy and Romance can blend together, depending on how deep you are into that character, and the development of the character as well.
HNMAG: Were you inspired by something that made you think of blending dramas together?
Mukesh: I keep watching a lot of movies, specifically from Quentin Tarantino, he’s one of my favourite directors. I’m highly inspired by his movies.
HNMAG: What got you into directing?
Mukesh: Initially when it started, I started as an actor. I started in India, and while I was acting a lot of things happened, like theatre direction, and helping the directing team, which inspired me down the line to being interested in directing feature films. Once I moved to Canada I started working towards it and while I started as an actor, I was also developing my own stories and then I started making movies.
HNMAG: I understand you received training from Barry John. Was there anything he taught you that you have implemented into your work?
Mukesh: Yes, a lot. 80% of my work is inspired by my training from him. He’s one of the most reputable teachers in India for acting. Some of the well known names like Mira Nair and Pamela Rooks, some Bollywood Stars too.
HNMAG: How do you go about blocking and preparation with shots?
Mukesh: That is the most important part. We plan a couple of years ahead, for blocking, we don’t go around the set. A lot of directors do that because they’ve been doing it for years and years. But for me, it’s like doing research and doing things differently to try and see how the blocking looks, how the chemistry of actors works between them. We do prefer a lot more space on that especially with the locations we are getting, what time we are doing it. Based on a lot of factors, we do a lot of research and blocking, we do rehearsals for about 3-6 months.
HNMAG: Now tell me about your latest movie, Depth of Pyaar. What is it about?
Mukesh: Depth of Pyaar is a Hindi/English movie, it is being shot in Toronto. The movie is a thriller drama/romance.
HNMAG: When was it filmed?
Mukesh: It was filmed in 2017-2018 and by the time it was ready for film festivals and going out, it was 2019 and it’s really getting out there.
HNMAG: It’s already managed to win 50 awards. Are they all from festivals?
Mukesh: They are from various awards ceremonies, and festivals. The first premiere happened in Vancouver, November 2019. It was in VISAFF. From there we got lots of recognition and awards. It’s even been distributed in some Asian countries like Taiwan and China.
HNMAG: Will there be a sequel for it or are you moving on to another kind of film?
Mukesh: Depth of Pyaar was my last movie in Hindi and English, but my latest movie is Bloody Romeo.
HNMAG: When will that be released?
Mukesh: It’s all set for this year. The first theatrical premiere is for October 31st, it is happening in Kitchener, Ontario at one of the theatres where the film is going to be sold. The film has been submitted to some big festivals, but we haven’t heard any great news from any, like TIFF or Cannes. But we are still waiting for Sundance, and Slamdance. We’ve heard back from some people from the Asian Film Festival in Hollywood and Skiptown Playhouse in East Hollywood.
HNMAG: Did you come across any challenges especially during COVID times?
Mukesh: We were lucky to finish the film in 2019. But it took like almost 2 years for post-production.
HNMAG: What words of wisdom would you give to aspiring directors?
Mukesh: Keep making movies. It’s a creative world, we can’t just stop no matter what happens.
Truer words have never been spoken. I have a feeling Mukesh came up with lots more ideas while we were chatting, and he could be planning out blocking or writing a script at this very moment. Keep an eye out for his work and be sure to check out some of these films if you can.