Was 'Dil Jo Bhi Kahey' the first script that you had in mind as a launch pad for Karan or were there multiple ideas before closing on DJBK?
We had already worked on the same script for a French TV serial earlier and were planning to make it into a full fledged Hindi movie. We wanted to cast actors who had never worked earlier, were amateurs and could act spontaneously. By this time Karan had expressed his desire to be an actor and since he was 23 and the role demanded a 23 year old lead, he fitted in perfectly. This is how DJBK became a launch pad for Karan. Moreover even I am re-launching myself as it has been quite a while since I made 'Hum' [Smiles].
Then how did you zero in on Annabelle?
We wanted a foreigner girl for this role and spoke to casting agents in London. There the work is quite systematic as far as casting is concerned. Our cinematographer Binod Pradhan was in London during that time and out of the 80-90 girls that were auditioned, we finally chose Annabelle.
How has the movie shaped up?
It is quite subtle, has an underplayed flow throughout with lot of moments!
Did Mr. Bachchan tell you any more cockroach stories this time around?
[Smiles] No, that was not the case. It was a pleasure working with him again and the personal relationship worked as well. It is admirable to see that even at this age and after receiving so much of acclaim, he would still behaves as if it was his first day on the sets. He would never be late and come to the sets on time. Itís just remarkable. He has a full fledged role in the film and is in the middle of conflict between his son and his wife. DJBK is a kind of a triangle where an entire family is involved.
And how about Revathy?
Oh she is in her own right an accomplished actor. Earlier I had Jayaji [Jaya Bachchan] in mind for the role but then she had gone to Parliament during that time and it wasn't possible for her to take out time. This is where Amitabh himself stepped in, called up Revathy and requested her if she could be a part of the movie. On hearing the script she immediately said yes as she was required to enact a personality which she is not in the real life. She had to play a conservative, traditional mother while she is just the opposite. She is just amazing as she would act on the sets and roam around as if she is a non-entity! It was great to have both Amitabh and Revathy share a single frame. Such powerful is their acting that they managed to create scenes out of silence!
Tell us something about Bhumika's role in the movie.
Bhumika's character brings in certain positiveness to the proceedings. She plays a doctor who visits Mauritius on an exchange program. Her role is pivotal as it is she who resolves the film. Her role is particularly difficult as she was required to portray various shades in her character. She has done a commendable job.
What do you have to say on the music of the film?
Shankar Ehsaan Loy have come with a new sound altogether for DJBK that brings a certain freshness and youthful feel to the film - especially the title song and 'Kaun Jaane'. I have personally liked the lyrics of the number [written by Javed Akhtar] a lot. They are simply beautiful.
Hasn't the movie took some time to be finally hitting the marquee?
Actual shooting of the film which was done in Mauritius and Sweden was for 60 days while there was a 'Holi' song that was pending. Once we wrapped it up, the movie was ready. Now positioning a movie in the market today is a rocket-science by itself. Making a movie is one ball game while communicating it is entirely different. So you need to speak to the PR agencies, overseas distributors, chain of theatres, different territories etc. before finally closing on a release day. Earlier it used to be simple because as soon as the movie was complete, you could place it in the market, but not anymore.
It appears that the final release day [23rd September] should work in the favor of DJBK as there are 5-6 open weeks ahead.
Well it's the first Friday and not the subsequent 6 weeks that matter today. You HAVE to have people coming to the theatres on the first Friday and excite them enough to check out the film. After Friday, no amount of publicity or promotion helps. It's just the movie's content that helps. If the movie has been seen by people on Friday and they have liked the movie, the battle is won!
Are you hopeful that presence of Amitabh Bachchan should be able to pull in the crowds for DJBK?
Whatever he does, people from nowhere reach there, even if its an award function. That's his pulling power. This is the reason I am sure that he should be able to pull in the audience.