The promo of your debut film ‘Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.' has just been aired. How has the reaction been so far?
To be honest, there have been lots of calls after the first promo came out, but then I would want the entire film to do the talking too. See, people are getting sick and tired of watching the same old films and are looking for something fresh and appealing. There have been reactions that the film looks different from the rest and it is heartening to hear that.
Has it been a tough task to make a film like this?
Not really. In the end there are ingredients like songs and so on, but then the film is about real people and real issues. It doesn’t embark on a path where characters are glorified. Moreover, despite eight different love stories running parallel, each of them is based on real stories that you may have heard of or read somewhere, be it a newspaper or a news channel!
When you have such a huge cast with you, aren’t you tempted to make them do something from their set image?
In fact this is something that I have consciously done and you would relate to it once you watch the film. Take for example KK. He has always been seen as a sombre and serious person who is not associated with comedy but in my film you would see him doing exactly that.
Look at Amisha. The kind of films she has done have projected her in a different light altogether but here she is truly different. Abhay and Minisha – they do come across as a sweet and lovable couple as per their screen image so far but the twist in the tale brings a different facet to their personalities.
And who can forget Boman? He is a man who has been associated with pure comedy in most of his films so far but look at the way he carries each of the performances in a different way! In ‘Honeymoon..’ his character is interesting since he is shown having fun but is actually someone who has been courageous enough in his life to keep his head above water. He is a multidimensional person with a lot of pathos and depth to this character.
Who are the other people in the film?
Naseeruddin Shah was supposed to play the role of a driver but then there was a genuine clash of dates due to which Naseer had to drop out of the project and Darshan Jariwala had to be roped in. He has done a phenomenal job in the film. Also there is a man called Nawed Aslam who plays tour guide while Chandan Bisht plays an innocent and romantic handyman/cleaner of the bus. Together they all make for one rocking ride!
Some other passengers in the ride are your composer duo of Vishal Shekhar, isn’t that so? So do you again have a bunch of rhythmic songs?
That’s right, Vishal and Shekhar are so much fun to work with. But in this movie we were not really set out to make something intentionally funky or contemporary. We set out to make tracks as per the situation where each song was a different kind of a love song. I wanted to have songs which I would personally enjoy listening to. The response from those who have heard the songs has been quite favorable so far though I won’t really get carried away by it. Let the album come out and let the audience be the judge!
Can you give us a brief idea about these songs?
Sure! There is one number which is a remix of a folksy number while there is also a Latino dance track. Then there is a very chilled out house track while another is a typical Bollywood love song treated quite beautifully. The opening track is quite notable too as it belongs to the R&B genre with Shankar Mahadevan at the helm and Vishal (Dadlani) chipping in with bits. In addition there is also a mellow acoustic number. So as you can see, it’s quite a range out there.
Today, how do you look back at the entire shooting experience?
Undoubtedly it was great fun but when I look back at it, I feel so skeptical if I could have wanted to handle a huge project like this. When I went to the shoot on the first day all alone with no support around, reality sunk in making me think “Whoa…this is BIG." I went through the motions and enjoyed every bit of it since I also have a good production background. But in retrospect I feel that being a first time director meant ignorance turned into bliss.
‘Don’ was shot simultaneously while filming ‘Honeymoon…’ and hence Farhan never once visited the sets, while Riteish came in just once. But both of them were so sweet and offered to be available on phone whenever required. Last but not the least, Zoya Akhtar [Farhan’s sister] was the Executive Producer of the film and ensured that the minutest of details were taken care of. She is simply the best in the world and I have found my best friend today. She is the best friend a girl can get!