Director Avinash Arun is best known for his hit web series, Paatal Lok. Before he returns with the second season next year, Avinash is back with another web show, School of Lies. And the National Film Award-winning filmmaker promises that the show will be as thrilling as Paatal Lok. It revolves around a 12-year-old boy who goes missing from a boarding school with a lot unfolding before and after his disappearance. Avinash says he was happy to work with kids all over again, after his debut, the Marathi film Killa. Also read: Search for missing boy brings up deception in every angle. Check out School Of Lies trailer
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Avinash Arun says School of Lies is an engaging, dramatic thriller and an original concept but inspired from real incidents. “I have always been curious about the world of boarding school. I had read 1-2 articles about some incidents in boarding schools and what all I had seen in my school days, we have tried to build a story around it,” he says.
He adds, “We open this world of boarding school which not many have tried exploring here in India. We have seen shows or films on this earlier but I wanted to do something about this adolescent, curious, not exactly mature sort of an age. Children are extremely vulnerable, they are exploring things. They are free but have to adhere to certain discipline. Every kid coming from various places, families and consciousness, has to adapt to many situations here – how they cope up with it, how they adjust and what effect such an environment has on their psychology.”
School of Lies has been shot in the picturesque St Lawrence school in Ooty. The story is however based in a fictional place named Dalton town in order to not invite any controversies. “I have not studied in a boarding school but I wanted to explore the life, atmosphere, and energy there through a complex narrative. I like to dwell into the complexities of human minds at different age groups. In my first film Killa, I dealt with kids, their emotions, childhood depression, coming of age, adolescents.”
Big screen vs OTT
Avinash says after Killa, he wanted to explore all these aspects because of the larger narrative of shows. He says, “The interesting thing about show making is – you can delve into many perspectives because you get that much screen time to explore the characters, the sub plots, new plots and the nexus opens up and it’s that much fun in creating so many complexities.”
He says watching something in the comfort of one’s house is different from a theatrical experience. “When you watch a film in a theatre, whatever is on the screen becomes a part of collective consciousness. You might laugh over something silly because others are laughing… OTT viewing becomes an inter-personal experience. When you are sitting in your own house alone with your own intelligence, it’s very difficult to deceive your mind. It’s very important to respect the intelligence of the audience. You are also very honest, you are not projecting anything, not wearing beautiful clothes. And then you invite the other world into your own world, you expect that honesty from the material. More honesty, the more it will connect with you.”
On shooting with kids
Avinash doesn’t have just one memorable moment from the making of the show. “For me every moment is bliss when I shoot. Its dealing with all age groups from 10-19. They are acting for the first time. I like when you are a clean slate with just honesty, no ego and curiosity. I like connecting with them. Their world is so interesting. I get so impressed by their maturity and I feel is umar mein to mujhe kujh pata hi nahi tha (I knew nothing at that age). It’s a new updated, upgraded sort of chip with a new processor.”
“We were shooting in the cold for 5-6 hours, they always used to be excited. There is something which is very unadulterated about them, the innocence comes in their performances because they are playing what they are, they don’t become someone else,” he adds.
On Paatal Lok 2
Avinash is in no mood to divulge much about Paatal Lok 2. On being enquired a few times about the new season, he finally says, “It’s very relative. It’s the same genre. You can expect a similar kind of thrill, excitement and experience out of it.”