Akshay Khanna is known to be temperamental. Was it difficult working with him?
I didn’t encounter any temperament with him. And sometimes when an actor throws a temperament I don’t mind if it is a positive temperament because I understand that creative work over so many days in such odd climates and with remembering your lines, these things are natural. I didn’t have any crossing of bad temperament from Akshay Khanna or any other actor. It was a pleasure working with him.
You gave a different look to Karishma Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty and even Kareena….What different have you done with Priyanka Chopra?
Whenever I gave a look earlier it was not planned. I was one of the first directors who started it with ‘Raja Hindustani’. Today I feel this ‘look thing’ has become ad-nauseum. Everyone is with straight hair, chiffon sarees. So, deliberately I’ve changed it with ‘Aap Ki Khatir’. Glamour plays an important role. Priyanka is more casual. In a good pair of jeans, a good pair of glares with a good bag. It’s a more natural look.
You’ve worked with Nadeem-Shravan in several films…Now Himesh Reshammiya….How’s the transition been like?
Working with Nadeem-Shravan was a pleasure. And I hope to work with them again. Himesh was also a sheer pleasure. He is very talented. He is a classic example of someone who has worked very hard, deserves his success and the way he worked on ‘Aap Ki Khatir’, he knew my previous music record. It was relaxing for me because the man knew his responsibilities. I also wanted a new kind of music in ‘Aap Ki Khatir’. In ‘Raja Hindustani’ I had folk, while ‘Dhadkan’ and ‘Bewafa’ was more drawing room music. Here I wanted more hep music, something more contemporary. And still….’Tu Hai Kamaal’, ‘I Love You For What You Are’. At the same time I wanted the sweetness of an ‘Aap Ki Khatir’ or a Punjabi theka of ‘Meethi Meethi Batan Karke’…So, Himesh gave me everything. I am thankful to him. And not only him, I was ably supported by Sameer Ji.
Himesh is getting repetitive…But in ‘Aap Ki Khatir’ his melody sounds different….
O’ I am very engrossed in the music without taking away the credit from Himesh Ji who deserves the entire credit for ‘Aap Ki Khatir’. But I am not an absentee director at least in music. I take full participation in music. But this time I gave Himesh a lot of responsibility because he is very much into it, proving himself further. I told him I want your popular music but I also want music with shelf life.
Anupam Kher seems to be doing his thing in the film
I had done my debut film ‘Lootere’ with him. After that for a long period we didn’t work together. It was a sheer pleasure working with him. He plays the Punjabi Papa in the film as he himself says, his character talks 99% nonsense and 1% sense. He and Lilette Dubey are an asset for the film.
You have shot the film in London Winter….
When we shot ‘Aap Ki Khatir’ it was the coldest winter in London. It was snowing in March. It was minus 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Just imagine what it must be at night. But we went on….
Do you think Overseas Market makes a difference?
Yes I think it makes a difference. I am not a director who undermines the market requirements. If we have an NRI diaspora, an NRI market today, then respect it. Audience is supreme. I am the kind of director who if my audience is on planet Mars then I shall go to Mars. So, if they are in England and US, then I shall go to England and US without losing the Indian element. I am not the director who says audience doesn’t matter. I am not making a home video.
Raja Hindustani is one of the biggest hits of Indian Cinema…
It was traumatic. I would say because I made ‘Dhadkan’ after that and proved that I am not a fluky. But I just have to live with ‘Raja Hindustani’. What is the choice….Should I have not made ‘Raja Hindustani’. No, I am happy that I made ‘Raja Hindustani. When I made ‘Raja Hindustani’ I didn’t have any idea that it will write history at the Box Office. One can only try….
What after ‘Aap Ki Khatir’?
I am not a director who makes too many films but by God’s grace I’ve always had a choice of films. I like to wait…Where I have gone right….Where I have gone wrong…And use that experience for my next film.