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Aanand L Rai: Sonam is underutilized

IndiaGlitz [Thursday, June 20, 2013]

'Tanu weds Manu' famed director Aanand L Rai is back with his most awaited small town love story starring Sonam Kapoor and south superstar Dhanush. IndiaGlitz got candid with the director and had chat over the movie 'Raanjhanaa'...

After Tanu Weds Manu we are sure that you would have got lot of offers?

Yes. I always take time. I also wanted to take time and decide what I want to do next. Then I come across Raanjhanaa and decide to make it and started working.

Why did not you go for Tanu Weds Manu sequel your next? Was the script not ready at that time?

No. But there should be urging to tell the story and I was keen on telling Raanjhanaa at that point of time. It is a brilliant story.  I never wanted to make a sequel for the sake of sequel. I wanted to make a story. I should have hunger to tell the story so I went for Raanjhanaa. After this I will make Tanu Weds Manu sequel.

Was Sonakshi and Shahid approached for the film?

Well while writing script you keep certain people in the mind. By the time I finished my script I knew I need somebody as simple as ordinary as he can think about him. It was nothing to do how it will look. It was they themselves ready to take as ordinary people. I want that small town feel inside them not on their faces. By the time I finished the film, Dhanush won the national award and I said I want somebody like him.  I never thought I will get him. If I compromise on the cast it won't be right thing. I met this guys asked him and language wasn't the hindrance. Language was the hindrance, I won't deny it and, that is where a director should stand up and say okay I will take the challenge and do.

Do you have small town fascination?

I think somewhere all my stories they ask for some certain innocence which can be in Mumbai, Delhi but somehow the flavour is not gelling with it. So all my stories have nostalgic touch to it. So when I go there, it is not like for Tanu And Manu I went to Kanpur and Lucknow is the only place. For Raanjhanaa Banaras. I don't go to small town for structure; I go there for heartbeat. In this story also small town will take my story into real stage.

Do you think small town is more cinematic then metro cities?

It all depends on the kind of story you are telling. Mumbai can look amazing. When people make film on it. Delhi looks amazing. In my stories when it ask for old like charm then the place like Banaras is perfect.

What was there in Raanjhanaa that you went for it?

No body will stop me in making the sequel of Tanu Weds Manu. I have done it before and I will do it again. I just converted my success into the challenge. Nobody asked me why I am making Raanjhanaa. As a director I wanted to take a challenge. There was a urge to tell a love story which is more thicker than Tanu Weds Manu. It got more depth. I knew I was challenging myself as a director also. It wasn't easier for me. That the challenge the hunger to do it.

Is this film got anything to do with your personal life or your own childhood romance?

I will say today's generation need to see a love story where they see certain patience. I respect today's generation for their honesty and state forwardness. What is there in their heart they will just speak it out. They have small problems, they've relationship, then heartbreak, then they says 2 cappuccino, 4 Sundays and 3 Monday and they say life moves on. I have no issue with it. But my question is - are you scared of pain? Are you scared of being called weak guy or girl? I don't want to get hurt is it stopping them from falling in love. That's not healthy. From the word go they are calculating it. And it is not their fault. It is not just man and woman relationship. We have lost trust. We are not trusting people.

There are so many love stories are made in Indian cinema; so did you ever got worried that it being repeated in any film?

No I haven't thought about it. You are making it honestly. You are not picking DVD's and telling it. When you are making a story from you roots and picking up a character and making a real story from there. You don't have to worry about it. You have to be honest with your script. You have to be honest with the characters and then develop it and tell the story from the roots of India.

Do you think the definition of love has changed?

The more we stop trusting people the more we will not believe in love story.

Do you think the next gen will understand the romance or love you try to portray?

They are very honest. They will accept it if they like it. They will reject you if they don't like. They hug you if they love you. I am ready for it. I am telling them a story which I believe in with my conviction. And it is understood. I am not making a period film. I am making today's love story.

Is it similar to any other love story?

I don't find it similar to other love story. I have a reason to tell a story. I have reason that I have seen such characters. If you have seen the trailer it is nostalgic but the story is today's. The hero is stalker. This is the perception.

Dhanush is a stalker in the film?

That was not the idea. It is about lovers and you will see the pure form of love.

Sonam is titled as a style icon and you character is very simple any particular reason to cast her?

Exactly after meeting her and talking to her and her family I realise she is exactly a middle class girl. Her fasionista image took more hard work than the ordinary one which is she already.

The actress whose acting is in question and an actor whose Hindi is in question. Don't you think it is a gamble?

I will not call it gamble. It is a challenge. Language was the barrier but I wanted to break it. It is high time you break it; just because of language you will not work with a good actor. He is an actor he will perform. He might not sit with you and talk to you in Hindi.

What you will say about Sonam?

She is underutilized if she has not done such work. You have to watch the film. The way she is involved with it is tremendous.

Have you done any prep with actors?

We have spent more time together before the actual shoot. Diction is actors call. I have taken Sonam to Delhi University, and Dhanush to Banaras. We have seen some street plays so actors understand the feel.

How did you rope up AR Rahman for the film?

It was a challenge. I needed somebody who is more fearless than me from an end to hold me.  A composer like Rahman sir as a backbone and you know your story will flow. I wanted somebody who wants to make song but not chartbuster. Who is there to tell you story in a song. I needed a gutsy composer.

Abhay and Sonam they had fallout after Aisha... So did you see any cold vibes between them during the shoot?

Even I heard this but I casted Sonam first and then I met Abhay and told this role and he was okay with it and then we shot it very comfortably. There were no issues at all. In the entire shooting time I never felt that there is any wrong vibes between them.

Did you considered Kangna for the role?

She is a very dear and very close friend. From day 1 she knew I am working on it; till now she is involved what is happening. She is very excited about it. She knew that I am not looking for her in the character. It is pure casting and nothing to do with anything else.

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