BOI: From your Nirma and Ariel example, we know what to expect from the film…
AD: This is a very simple way to explain, else there is a rocket science way to explain it. We remember our childhood stories and explain those to the next generation. We forget complicated film stories in two days. But simple stories stay with us longer. And Guest Iin London is also very simple, which people will remember. Because this is har ghar ki kahani; har ghar me aise vyakti aate hai, aur har ghar mein aise log aate hai, so this film has a very strong reliability.
Kumarji is a very simple man and his understanding is also very simple. Some people are very complicated and it’s difficult to understand them. If that happens, our cinema will be at the same place – it won’t go anywhere.
This film has many moments with Pareshji or Tanviji; there is one scene where Tanviji is giving a massage to a child – you know how in small towns women massage their children to improve blood circulation. But here a woman sees Tanviji doing this and labels her ‘baby killer’ and calls the cops; she has to explain that she was giving the child a massage.
BOI: Kartik, what was it like working with Paresh Rawal?
KA: I had a different rapport with him. In fact, Ashwni sir would tease me, ‘Teri kuch zyada aachi dosti nahi hui hai?’ We would chill together after pack up.
AD: Basically, he was Pareshji’s internet advisor. If he wanted to know anything, he would catch hold of Kartik, from Twitter to uploading pictures. Then suddenly Kartik would feel that he had become a teacher. He would leave his own work and teach Pareshji how to go about social networking. He taught him everything about social media.
KA: (Laughs) It is not my fault that whenever we meet there is something wrong with his phone. Actually, the first time I met him I mentioned that I had done engineering, so he thinks that I would know how to repair a phone.
AD: On the first day, when he was to shoot with Pareshji, he was self-conscious…
KA: I was scared on the first day.
AD: This is my third film with him, so I told Kartik that he is a cool guy, don’t worry. Pareshji is the kind of a person who is absolutely secure with what he does and what he is. The problem arises when an actor is insecure, and for an actor like him, he has achieved so much in his life, so that question of insecurity doesn’t even arise. What all he has achieved, from being an MP to the awards and accolades! There are people in our industry who even keep tabs on how many dialogues they have compared to their co-actors, but Pareshji is completely oblivious of all that. He just focuses on his work. Kartik asked me, ‘How will I work with him…’
KA: (Cuts in) Yes, I said I haven’t met Pareshji ever, we don’t know each other, so how will I act in front of him?
AD: I told him not to act. And to be natural like he is, as Pareshji doesn’t act either, but goes with the flow. One thing about Pareshji is that he uses his phone a lot. But the switch he is instantly able to make on and off camera is remarkable. One moment he would be busy with his phone and the other…just in a split second…he would be ready for the shot and deliver an incredible performance.
BOI: Kumarji, you have seen Abhishek produce his first film, and his transition to becoming a hands-on producer over the years. How proud are you of his progress?
KM: It feels great to see him grow. He has taken away a lot of my responsibilities and he handles it well. Whether I am in Mumbai or not, I know I can rely on him to make the right decisions. I am stress-free now. In fact, most of the shoots he handles without my inputs. For Guest Iin London, the entire London schedule was handled by him and I didn’t need to worry, as I believed in his capabilities. Be it Pyaar Ka Punchnama, Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 or Drishyam, where he handled Ajay (Devgn), everything he has done on his own.
AP: In fact, if I may add, my first film as an AD (assistant director) was with Ashwni sir. I was actually working with him in films like One Two Three and Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? And even Pareshji – in both these films, I worked with him. So that rapport was already built. He has seen me grow too.
BOI: Ashwni, from being an AD on your sets to being a producer, has your equation changed with Abhishek?
AD: Not at all! When he was an assistant, he would put his point across, and as a producer as well. I believe just like as an assistant he could come and talk to me about anything, as he would, as a director I could go and talk to Kumarji about anything. When it comes to creativity, and our work is creative… I feel creative jobs don’t have any protocol. Protocols are in corporate companies and there, work isn’t done; there is lack of creativity in that kind of set up and there the targets are matched. Creative things cannot be made into a graph. So in a creative set up you don’t take the arguments back home. And we have that kind of openness and I believe that it should be this way.
BOI: Abhishek has assisted you before and you have known him as a producer as well, but do you think he should become a feature film director?
AD: He has actually made a brilliant short film in 2009 titled Boond; it won a National Award. I am sure he will make a brilliant director. He is waiting for the right opportunity to take the plunge. I am eager to watch his film.
AP: Soon…hopefully soon.
BOI: What was it like working with Kriti Kharbanda? How was she cast?
KA: It was amazing working with her. Ek toh humari industry mein actresses nahi hai...
AD: (Cuts in) How will you know when you work with the same heroine (Nushrat Bharucha) in all your films! You both have some sort of a package deal. You will learn if you work with others…. (Laughs)
KM: Three films with the same heroine. And his upcoming film is again with her.
AD: Bus bolna hai ke bahar hawa nahi chal rahi but khidki kholke dekhna nahi hai ke hawa hai ya nahi. Give a proper answer now. (Laughs)
KA: (Laughs) The point being, when I got onboard, we were looking for an actress. During that time every day we would meet a new actress and I would have to audition and read lines with her. So every day I would have a screen test with different women. Some days I would sing with a girl and the next day have a scene with another. Then Kriti came in…
AD: (Cuts in) The reason why I finalised Kriti was that the first time I met her… Kumarji told me that there is a girl he wanted me to meet, so when I met her the first thing I asked her was, ‘Kya chal raha hai?’ And to that she promptly replied, ‘Fogg chal raha hai.’ For a minute I was zapped by her reply, and she got embarrassed and started apologising. I liked her bindaas attitude. She presented what she really is and didn’t put on a fake show. Having said that, she has done brilliant work in the film. I hadn’t seen any of her South films or Raaz Reboot, but she indeed is a very good actress.
BOI: From the rough draft to the final cut of the film – Kumarji, how happy are you as a producer?
KM: I am very happy.
AP: As he said, jo likha tha, wohi bana hai. We were happy then and now we are happy with the final cut. And we are sure that the audience will enjoy the film as much as we enjoyed making it.