BOI: What was it like working with Naseer sir?
AW: I have struck a chord with Naseer. We are like friends and buddies and we are frank and open with each other. He is Naseeruddin Shah for everybody, but I can say he is a friend of mine. I love working with him. There is something common between the two of us.
I don’t like giving too many retakes as I believe the shot will lose its natural feel. With Naseer, that’s the beauty. It does not go beyond five or six takes. Work happens quickly. Everything looks very natural. So, yeah, that’s why he enjoys working with me and I enjoy working with him.
When we were shooting for Ishqiya, we had scenes that used to take two to two and half days to shoot but we would finish them by evening. I have had some great experiences with him, both on and off the sets. I have seen a side of Naseer that no one else has seen.
DD: I have met him many times but, in this film, I have very little work with him. Most of my work is with Sharad Kelkar and Arshad Warsi. I just love looking at his eyes as they speak volumes. He could be quiet, he could be talking, he could be acting. You just wait for him to speak through them. I just love his sense of humour as well. He has a very subtle sense of humour. I haven’t had an opportunity to get to know him, like Arshad has, but whenever I have met him, he’s been very warm.
SG: I too don’t have much screen space with him. But at the screening, he said we had done a good job and that was very heart-felt. He added that, in the next film we do together, he hopes we have some screen space. For an actor like me, it is a great high for someone like him to say that. It was enough for me to simply be in the same film as he is and just watch him. Even that was good enough for me.
SK: For me, it was a nightmare. For me it was The Naseer Sir. And when he sits in a corner, reading a novel, it is the most dangerous sight. It takes a lot of courage to approach him and say ‘hi’. He looked at me and I didn’t know what to do. Rajesh Sharma and I were together, so I felt I should go and say ‘hi’.
It took us half an hour to pick up the courage to approach him. When we did, I introduced myself and said we were going to shoot. Silence is very dangerous and after pack-up, he is quite open and he talks a lot. On the first day, it was really scary. He looks straight at you and you miss
AW: One thing I know about Naseer is that he is not very fond of bad actors. But he was very happy with this gang.
BOI: What is the main USP of the film?
AS: One is obviously the subject. The story is told in a very quirky, thrilling, engaging manner. So there is not a dull moment. Second, this glorious cast. You will see Arshad sir and Naseer sir in a very different light. In Ishqiya, they had a completely different canvas. But here they are in a different light and there are so many quirks between the two. They share an inherent chemistry which is effortless. Even if they just stand in front of the camera, they manage to bring in some level of magic.
Divyaji’s character is outstanding. The way she’s performed it, she has taken it to another level. She took what I wrote and raised it a zillion notches. The same goes for Sagarika, she’s done a fabulous job. She’s a feisty, courageous, contemporary woman. And Sharad is this greedy tycoon. So each character is very intense. And Rajesh ji also, because he’s so wonderful. Even if he comes for a little while, he manages to give his character impact. I think, overall, it’s going to be a fun ride.
AW: Our industry doesn’t have enough intelligent films, like this one. We don’t make intelligent cinema. We either make fun films, romantic films, action films or comedy films. We never make a smart film. It’s like an Ocean’s 11. I would not compare the two films but I do feel that with Irada, you need to sit and listen and watch. If you go out for a break and come back, you will not know what is happening.
The conversations have been written so beautifully by Aparnaa, who has the ability to reduce a two-page dialogue to two lines. But the lines are deep and tell you what the whole scene is all about. So, it is a very intelligent film. It is high time we made cinema like this. We should make smarter movies.
PS: I am very happy and confident about my film, which is my first as a producer. Also, working with Naseeruddin Shah was on my bucket list, also because he is my teacher. All of us bonded like family and that’s how we made the film. It was a wonderful experience.
BOI: What’s next for each of you?
AW: I am going to start shooting for the next instalment of Golmaal by the end of this month and then I’m doing a thriller at the end of this year as Golmaal will go on all year round. There’s this thing happening with Sony. News on Munna Bhai 3 is out now, but I knew about it a long time ago because Raju has the habit of letting the crew members know well in advance.
AS: I have a couple of scripts in the pipeline and will again approach each one of them. They attribute it to my writing, but the contribution of Naseer sir, Arshad sir, Divya ma’am, Sagarika and Sharad has been immense. So I will go back to them with my scripts.
DD: My next will be Babumoshai Bandookbaaz with Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Then there’s this film, Ram Singh Charlie, with Nitin Kakkar who made Filmistaan. I am also doing a film with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.
SG: I have finished shooting for another thriller, which is with Gulshan Devaiyyah. Hopefully, that should release this year.
PS: We have a couple of projects in the pipeline, which we will announce soon.
SK: My next one is Bhoomi, then there is Badshaho, then a film called Darbaan.
AW: My God, we all have jobs. (Laughs)