Nikhil, Both your feature films Apurva and Kill are acutely violent. Why so much aggression in you?

Sir, both these stories are love stories at heart. It’s only for the love that one goes out of their way to fight his/her battles! But, yes, I love Love Stories! I hope I get to make a Love story soon!

Kill’s smash-and-kill format may put off family audiences?Are you prepared for this?

Yes sir. Though I would want that everybody should like it as it’s not just an action film. It’s a massive emotional ride as well. It’s also about relationships and how the journey tests all the relationships. I am aware that as filmmakers we may not be able to make everyone happy. And if there is any criticism, I would take it in my stride. Would want to learn and improve the next time. I believe in nindak niyare rakhiye…

You shot the film in a train. Please explain the practicality of this impossibility?

The story was such that it had to be shot in the train. So there was no option to do without that. But to tell you honestly, my first draft of the script was one which didn’t end in the train. The entire climax was ending elsewhere. When I read it before presenting, I thought that I was cheating myself. I then reworked it to what it is now. But when I decided to shoot it it felt like a mammoth task. But my production designer, Mayur Sharma came in and created this marvel of a set which made this impossible thing look so doable and achievable. Hats off to Mayur and his team!

How rigorous was the physical training for Lakshya and Raghav Juyal before they started shooting for Kill?

It was a very long training. Almost eight months of training for Lakshya and around 4 months of training for Raghav. I had asked Lakshya to bulk up a bit as he was very lean when I had met him. I wanted Raghav to be ‘ek lever’ and he is naturally like that. But they had a very rigorous training. Almost for 4-5 hours every day.

I believe even the leading lady Tanya Maniktala had to undergo physical training for the train ride in Kill?

Even Tanya went through some training, but for 7-10 days. There were various levels of training.

What did the training entail?

In the beginning, Mr. Oh and Parvez Sheikh, the action choreographer, trained them in an open area, then they trained with MMA artists and later in a mock set of three coupes to get an idea of how fighting in train would be.

I am told your quest for the correct moves in the action scenes continued till the last moment ?

Yes, even during the shooting, before every action sequence, Lakshya and Raghav rehearsed the whole scene as I was taking long takes so they had to be perfect and not miss any step in their action.

Isn’t it incredible how much today’s actors work on their physicality?

Yes sir… but since this was an action film so Lakshya and Raghav had to follow the regimen. They needed to be physically fit as I shot almost 55-57 days of action continuously in one go and everyday.

Apart from the three leads the vast supporting cast is very interesting?

The casting directors, Casting Bay, did this amazing job. These 36-38 people who play the bandits had a lot of performances as I wanted the audience to feel for them and I wanted to humanise the villains. I wanted the audience to feel for their loss and pain as well. So I cdnt have cast only stunt people. I had to cast actors. It took almost six months to get the cast them right as we needed actors who could train for 2-3 months of action and be amazing actors as well. Moreover, the characters like Ravi and Siddhi needed really good actors and I was so fortunate enough to get Devaang and Parth for that role. Devaang faced the camera for the first time but he is so good. Parth is so emotionally motivated that many a times he used to forget that he was not fighting but acting. But I am so so fortunate to have these actors play the characters as the film becomes believable and also makes the audience feel that they are too part of the passengers.

How did you shoot with so many actors in such a cramped space?

It was all thanks to my DOP Rafey Mahmood and my production designer Mayur. Mayur created a set which could dismantle and come back in the same shot giving ample space for the actors to perform. And Rafey created equipment for the shoot which didn’t obstruct the actors movements. In fact, there are no additional lights inside the train. He used the service lights to light up the entire train. Moreover, I wanted a lot of people in most of my frames so that it looks believable and the journey should look authentic. There were times that standing in the train would actually become claustrophobic despite fans but kudos to the cast and the crew to pull this off. It’s their belief in the story which propelled their desire.

No doubt Lakshya will be a star after Hit . Would you work with him again?

Why not! He is an amazing actor and a good human being as well. Plus if the film keeps getting love then we may have another KILL!Yes, a sequel.

Are you working on your next?

Yes sir. I am writing the script. It is a revenge story.Again very very emotional and righteous story.