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Dinesh Vijan's vision: Creating a horror comedy universe in Bollywood

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
Producer-director Dinesh Vijan is a man with a plan.
Vijan, who last year produced Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor-starrer "Stree", hopes to build cinematic universe in the horror-comedy genre.
After "Stree", the producer on Wednesday announced horror-comedy, "Rooh-Afza", which he will follow-up with "Munjha", another project in the same space.
"There are three horror comedies which are being developed and then they will start meeting (at some point). There will be 'Stree 2', after 'Rooh-Afza' and 'Munjha'.
"After that there will be 'Rooh-Afza 2' and 'Munjha 2'. The sequels will kind of meet each other, just cross paths," Vijan told PTI in an interview.
The producer says while shooting for "Stree", which was one of the major hits of 2018, they started developing "Rooh-Afza", about a singing ghost who puts grooms to sleep on their wedding nights to possess their brides.
He said the third film, "Munjha", will revolve around a male ghost looking for his bride. "Stree" was about a female ghost terrorising the male population of a small town.
"It has been in the planning stage from the last two years. There are three different teams who don't know each other and have developed the three films.
"But I have a blueprint in my mind that I'm going to make all the three films meet. So the last shot of 'Munjha' will meet 'Rooh-Afza' and so on."

The idea of creating a franchise crossed Vijan's mind when he met a Hollywood artiste, who has worked on all of Christopher Nolan's films, and they talked about cinematic universes.
For the grand plan to work, both "Rooh-Afza" and "Munjha" have to work and the producer is aware of it.
"I'm betting big on the next two films and we need to up the game. 'Munjha' needs to be a better film than 'Stree'. 'Rooh-Afza' has to be a balancing factor. Then, I will have my universe in the next five years," he says.
If all goes well, the finale of the universe could be a two-part or three-part series where everything comes together.
"So let's assume 2023 is where all the films should meet. This year will be 'Rooh-Afza', 2020 will be 'Munjha' and 2021 will be 'Stree 2'. Sometime later that year, there will be 'Rooh-Afza 2' and then 2022 will be 'Munjha 2'. Then you do that massive film where all these meet."

With Rao recurring in "Rooh-Afza", Vijan hopes other cast members would also return in the future though there is no contract in place.
"Raj is like 'ghar ka' (a family member). Also they all want to return. Why will you leave your franchise?

"I don't do legal binding. I don't believe in it. I feel I have been blessed with actors who all have trust in me. They all want to be part of 'Stree 2'. This is the universe and that's why Raj is also in 'Rooh-Afza'," he says.
The producer is currently promoting rom-com "Luka Chuppi", which features Kriti Sanon and Kartik Aaryan. The film hits the theatres Friday.

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First Published: Feb 27 2019 | 4:41 PM IST

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