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An Interview with Rahul Nath, Director and Star of Khazana

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2020

Rahul Nath on (re)Search my Trash


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Your movie Khazana - in a few words, what is it about?


Khazana means Ďtreasuredí when translated from Hindi to English, and it is about the downward spiral of a newly-wed bride, who has all her expectations and hopes dashed when she realizes that everyone around her do not have her best interests and have taken advantage of her. How she takes her revenge forms the second half of the movie.


What were your inspirations when writing Khazana, and is any of the movie based on personal experiences or true stories?


I have seen and still see many South Asian women in the UK suffer at the hands of abuse, domestic and mental, and it always shocked me how no one ever said anything to help these women. One particular family, who are extremely wealthy, had even misused their power to get what they wanted, let their sons have extra marital affairs and even carried out abortions in their pregnant wives, because they were giving birth to another daughter and not a son. So all these experiences consolidated together, domestic abuse, people in power and adultery, is what brought Khazana about.


Do talk about your co-writer Noah Potter, and what was your collaboration with them like?


Noah Potter was an additional writer on this, and what he did was made the initial script less Bollywood and more realistic. When I had given the script to Noah, he loved it, but felt that it needed a bit more of a connection to a non-Indian audience. So we both collaborated together and added scenes and removed scenes to appeal more to a universal audience.


To what extent could you actually identify with the lead of Khazana, Vaidehi?


I feel South Asians, men and women, have a Vaidehi inside of them. So much is expected of a new South Asian bride, is she educated, does she know how to cook, does she know how to behave in front of other family members? And if she deviates from the mold by even an inch, she is given hell. Likewise for South Asian men, parents set super high expectations, you need to be a doctor or a dentist and you need to earn so much money and support all family members, and if he does not, then he is also given hell. Whenever someone is pushed so much beyond breaking point, they will crack and avenge as a new person. Thatís exactly what happens to Vaidehi - she comes back as a new person and takes a stand.


I hope I'm not giving away too much when I say that in the end Vaidehi gets her revenge on her tormentors in a rather gruesome way - so honestly, how much fun was it to dream up this scene, and did you in any way have to hold yourself back to not make the ending too shocking?


I loved the ending, and in reality if I was Vaidehi, that is exactly what I would have done. The thing with abusers is that they abuse you, convinced that you will never do anything. So when the victim does avenge and does something, I personally would have done this and much more than what Vaidehi did. In terms of the gruesomeness, I wanted it to be shocking and I wanted it to be the message ĎDonít ever F@UK with me again!í I had the ending of the script before anything, and that to me was the selling point of the movie. Everything else was then worked backwards, so that the ending and what Vaidehi did was completely justified.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


I always believe you have to choose the right actors and the right team. If you have the wrong actor, not just in terms of talent, but attitude as well, you are destined to doom. Khazana went through several castings and hiring and firing to get the right actors and the right crew. So once you have the right actors and team, itís literally like a smooth sailing ship.

I like to rehearse before we film so that me and the actors get a feeling of what the scene needs and what is working and what is not. So that when we get to set, I can play around with the camera and pick up some fascinating camera angles coupled with the already very well executed scene.

My actors as well like working with me and return as they like the subjects that I am displaying. For Shruti Tewari (Chand) and Bahram Khosraviani (Rishi), this was their second movie with me. Finding great actors who are also great people is like trying to dig gold.


You also appear in front of the camera in Khazana - so what can you tell us about your character, and have you written Arun with yourself in mind from the get-go?


Arun was supposed to be played by another actor, but that actor wanted more scenes and dialogue. I had to tell him that the movie is NOT about Arun, it is about Vaidehi, and so after a back and forth, I told him that I was not interested.

Arun has a past that comes back to haunt him and that forces him to carry out a favor to Amar, because Amar carried out a favor for him. Arun probably never thought his past would come up again and when it did, he reacted as he would always react, being submissive to whatever is being asked of him.

As it was a small role, it actually helped me to understand the movie much more, because I was seeing the movie from an actor and director standpoint.

I always recommend directors to be an actor in their movie as itís like a piece of the puzzle that completes the whole movie.


What can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?


I had written the parts of Chand, Rishi and Amar for Shruti Tewari, Bahram Khosraviani and Ahmed Lucan respectively. I had worked with Shruti and Bahram before, and ironically their roles in my previous movies, were an extended version in Khazana.

Ahmed I always wanted to work with as I like his look and energy a lot, and he fitted Amar in every shape and form.

For Vaidehi, it was a very uphill struggle. I had worked with Ulka Simone Mohanty on a dance choreography earlier and I liked her look and her innocence, and when she read I knew it was her. She could effortlessly turn from angelic to devilish in a split second and that is what I wanted.

The real surprise and joy was Laikh Tewari, who played Dhaman. I literally had to say nothing to him throughout the movie, and he seemed to know exactly who Dhaman was. And as he is Shrutiís son in real life, it was like asking a family member to act in my movie.

Reem Kadem had a sassy look and charm in her audition that fitted Neelima, and Sonam Dhage had the childlike behavior that I wanted for Sapna.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


The shoot was very enjoyable and for me was a huge leap as a filmmaker. I learnt so much before, during and after the movie and I am still learning. Itís great to have a good network of people that you can rely on and itís very important to have the right team and right cast who share your vision and passion.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Khazana?


Some people have loved it, some people have not. That goes with any movie that you do. The fact that people have watched it and they are commenting, good or bad, means the subject is getting out there and causing a stir. Because VOD has become a big way to watch movies, more eyeballs are getting on the movie. I hope people like it as much as I liked making it.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I have THREE features in development right now, with one scheduled to film in Las Vegas at the end of the year. And in addition, I have TWO USA TV pilots that I am pitching and TWO Indian webseries that are being pitched for the South Asian market. So itís going to be a very busy few years.


From what I know, you've originally started out as a dancer, and are also an accomplished choreographer - so what can you tell us about that aspect of your career?


I love dancing and I love being able to put dance sequences together. That is something that comes very natural to me, and ever since moving to Los Angeles, the opportunities just keep happening. I was in talks to choreograph a series for Disney, but couldnít do it due to a TV project I am on. But I have been able to be part of some fantastic choreography sequences that has even led me to winning Best Bollywood Dancer in Los Angeles.


How did you get into acting then, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I was picked up by an agent from a dance show and then really went from there. I had taken training at the prestigious Stella Adler Academy and also trained at several schools around the USA. Now I am currently enjoying working as an actor and director here in Los Angeles, with the occasional few choreography projects every year.


How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?


I like to imagine myself as the actor, so really I donít try to act. I always think what would I do if I was that person and I try to understand what that person is going through. Then I try to amalgamate with what I Ė Rahul Ė would think and feel, and then find a middle ground from there.


What made you branch out into writing and directing eventually?


I have a lot to say, and this I feel is a good expression for me and my work. The ideas I have, I donít think anyone else has those ideas, so because I am unique and I want my thoughts to be expressed Ė this seems the best way. Plus the enjoyment I get out of seeing actors getting to levels that make them fulfilled as actors is literally priceless.


What can you tell us about your past filmwork, in whatever position?


I have worked as an assistant to the main choreographer on a lot of South Asian projects in India, so that kind of throws you in at the deep end, as you start to learn about camera angles, where the camera needs to come from and all camera tricks and terminology.


Having worked in quite that many jobs in front of and behind the camera, what do you enjoy the most, what could you do without?


I enjoy it all, this for me is all work. Trying to choose one is like asking who is your favorite child. And the fact that I enjoy more work so much, is evident by the amount of work that I have done.


Filmmakers, actors, dancers, whoever else who inspire you?


I am in awe of Bollywood director, Madhur Bhandarkar. He is brave, fearless ,and he makes movies that no one dares to make. Showcasing very extreme harsh reality and real life subjects such as male rape, abuse of women, the goings-on in the fashion and corporate world. He inspires me to go above and beyond in my directing career.

And with actors, I really do like actors that go the full mile to get their characters, Charlize Theron, the now deceased Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Christian Bale. Itís like these actors are in a league of their own.


Your favourite movies?


They are all Bollywood movies (lol): Chandani Bar (so powerful and hard hitting), Page 3, Khamoshi The Musical, Dil Se.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


None I can think ofÖ I always appreciate the camerawork, even if the movie is BAD!


Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?


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Your shop for all things Thai

Personal website:





YouTube channel:

Wikipedia page:

Khazana website:


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


I love acting, directing + writing and dancing. Message me if we can work together Ė serious people ONLY Ė not someone wanting to be FAMOUSÖ lol.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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On the same day
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produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD