Lead actors of the upcoming Moh Maya Money – Ranvir Shorey and Neha Dhupia along with director Munish Bhardwaj – in conversation with Team Box Office India
Box Office India (BOI): Munish, can you tell us how you came up with the concept for this film.
Munish Bhardwaj (MB): I started writing the script in early 2014. The germ of the idea was, what if you find out that your loved one was doing something immoral, unethical or even illegal? It’s very easy to say ‘woh chor hai; usko jail mein daalo.’ But how do you react when your brother, wife or husband is the person committing that unethical act? I started weaving a story around this couple, played by Ranveer Shorey and Neha Dhupia. Both have secrets they haven’t shared with each other and they find this out as the story unfolds.
Neha Dhupia (ND): Ranvir is choosy, but to be honest I don’t get that many offers. People are choosy about asking me. Still, I feel that being just a pair of legs on a poster is not an option for me. I want my job to be satisfying. When you get a script like Moh Maya Money, the scale of the film doesn’t matter. It’s something that excited me when he first narrated the story to me. It was a film I wanted to do.
As an actor, it can be just the one-line summary that appeals to you, and that’s what happened here. When he (Munish Bhardwaj) narrated that one line to me, I knew I would be doing this film and the reason is it’s a fantastic story.
Ranvir Shorey (RS): I was very excited as I have known Munish for a very long time and I have acted in films where he was an executive producer. Still, when he told me he had written his first script, as happy I was… when your friend gives you a script to read you are always a little afraid. What if it’s not good; how do you tell him? I was pleasantly surprised to find a tight and suspenseful thriller, a genre we don’t see enough of. It’s a taut screenplay that I thought very impressive. And more than that, he was giving me the lead role. As happy as I was playing supporting roles in films that I loved, lead roles frankly were unfortunately not coming my way.
BOI: Mention something specific about your characters which appealed to you?
RS: The character I play is a dream for any actor because it has a fabulous arc to it. Imagine a regular middle-class guy from Delhi who slowly has his personal values start deteriorating and those lines of ethics and morals keep deteriorating. It’s a fabulous character.
ND: For me, what was really interesting was that my character plays a news producer and suddenly it’s her husband who is involved in a crime. There are so many interesting shades to Divya that I had to play it safe and be unsafe in the same space. You don’t get to play those kinds of parts all the time. Even the way the screenplay has been written demands so much from you. It promises to be a film you pick up and watch again and again.
BOI: Munish, did you have both of them in mind when you started writing the script?
MB: Yes, I had always imagined Neha Dhupia as Divya and Ranvir as Aman. When I start writing a script, I always need to give my characters a face. And when I began writing this script all I could see were their faces on my characters. There was even a time when I referred to the characters
using their names, so they were always in my mind, even before I sent the script to them.
BOI: Given the subject of the film, did you draw on any real-life inspiration for the story?
MB: The great Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini once said, ‘Every form of art is autobiographical.’ What he meant was that you draw inspiration from your own stories, from the people around you and from what you have experienced. So Aman is probably a combination of five or six people I have known, as is Divya. No script is possible without research. All the incidents in the film are probably also put together from things I have read, witnessed or heard. So it’s a combination of a lot of things.
RS: Absolutely! The script was a surprise, to begin with. I wasn’t expecting something very complex. He is not very aggressive as a director, but when you watch the film, you go ‘wow!’ He is technically very sound, in the way the film has been stitched together, the way it has been edited. It was quite impressive. And by no means can you tell that this is somebody’s first film.