Team Mirza Juuliet – actors Darshan Kumaar, Chandan Roy Sanyal and
Pia Bajpai, along with director Rajesh Ram Singh – in conversation with Team Box Office India
Box Office India (BOI): The first question is for the captain of the ship. Rajesh, how did the project come about?
Rajesh Ram Singh (RS): I was directing another script for some producer but there I had an argument regarding the treatment of the film, so decided not to do that. Also after spending one year on the project, the moment I came out of that producer’s office, I thought what next then I realised I have an idea which can really turn into an interesting script. So I called one writer friend of mine but he was busy to take up another project.So I called Shanti Bhushan who was writing good show on Tv to write Mirza juuliet.We started working on the script and it took us two years to complete. Shanti was busy with TV and that slowed the process.
Eventually, I started narrating the script to producers and I got a positive response. Then, Neeraj Kumar Burman, Shanti Bhushan, Amit Singh and Chokkas Bhardwaj and I discussed the script together. And the question uppermost in each of our minds was, actor kaun hai?
I had watched Darshan Kumaar in NH10 and someone had been talking about Darshan. So I was, like, ‘Who Darshan? He said ‘the one from Mary Kom’, and I said, ‘Yeah, he is a good actor.’ Three to four days later, NH10 released. After I watched it, I decided he was the guy I wanted for Mirza Juuliet. I did not want a conventional hero, a hero who could fight all the odds and come out a winner. I didn’t want someone like that. So I sent the script to Darshan and I waited for two to three days. The next step was ladki kaun hai?
Now, we did not want a modern kind of girl. We wanted a typical North Indian, girl-next-door. We wanted someone who was desirable and good looking, and someone one could relate to. That’s how Pia came on board. Casting director Jogi showed us some of her music videos, and we liked them. Then and there, we felt that Rajan Pandey’s character should be given to Chandan and that’s how we met Chandan. He didn’t express his feeling about the film initially but got into it slowly.
RS: No, it’s not that. It takes time.
PB: It always happens by chance.
RS: It wasn’t by chance. They gave really good auditions and the moment I saw the auditions, I was. like, okay. I had a good set of actors… like Chandan, Pia, Darshan and Priyanshu Chatterjee. Priyanshu was a surprise and he is doing a negative role in the film. Everything fell in place perfectly.
BOI: This question is for each one of you. When were you approached and what was it about the character that appealed to you?
PB: My shoot for Laal Rang was on. When Jogi sir approached me with this film, he gave me a full narration. I loved that it was a role of a small-town girl and woh apne aap me ek dhaamal role tha. There are very few roles like these today.
RS: Everyone who had heard the script asked me which girl would be playing this role. She is fab and the girl had to be someone who could carry off the language. The dialogue could not sound obscene.
PB: Yes, there was a very thin line between sounding right and sounding vulgar or under-acting or over-acting. I found the set-up very interesting. Jogi sir told me that Darshan had been finalised for the film. I had also seen his film NH10 and I was, like, ‘Waah, it would be great fun to work with a good actor like him.’
I gave an audition and I think they failed to understand me. I had no script and the character sketch they gave me was different. In the first audition, they told me I had to use abusive language and that was a first for me. So there was a little gadbad in the beginning. Then I did another audition with these guys, but this time I had a proper script. I still tell people that they didn’t like me in the first go.
Darshan Kumaar (DK): When I met him for the first time, he started narrating the story to me almost immediately. I barely had time to pick up my coffee cup!. At the interval point, I said, ‘So many things have already happened, what could possibly happen next?’ And he said, ‘Just see…’
I loved this film; I loved Mirza’s character. His life is very complicated and how he overcomes each issue and also falls in love with Julie… that’s the crux of the film. It’s a different type of movie yet a modern love story. That’s what I loved most about it.
Chandan Roy Sanyal (CRS): Shantiji messaged me saying that they had written a film and asked me to listen to it. I was reconnecting with him after a very long time. He said he would come along with his friend Rajesh and narrate it to me, and I said okay. Shanti and Rajesh walked in like school students with a bag and a laptop. Then they started narrating the film and I kept thinking, when will my character make an appearance? Then the character of Rajan Pandey appeared and they started telling me about him.
As soon as I heard the character, I was like ‘Acha, yeh toh Banarsi hai.’ He does not get a girl but he is in his own zone.
RS: Shanti had given him a nice description of his character. He said ‘ki aapa character aisa hai ki jo kahi pe bhi uga sakte hai’
CRS: Weed, which grows anywhere.
DK: When I was in college in Delhi, there were many guys who used to look at a girl and say, ‘Yeh meri hai’ and then if another guy walked in, they would beat him up.
RS: Teri bhabhi hai woh.
DK: Yes, teri bhabhi hai kaise ja raha hai tu uske aas pass. The beauty of this film is everybody can relate to it because people must have fallen in love or must have been in a situation like this. That’s the beauty of the film.
BOI: You just mentioned that a character had the following reference… ghaas kahi pe bhi ugti hai. What reference did you get for your characters?
PB: I was told that my character was a tad crazy. She is bold or rather pagal and mufat. She is innocent and has grown up with her brothers. For me, Pia, it was abusive, but for the character, abusing was like saying ‘hello’ and ‘hi’.
PB: Yes, she had no idea whether or not she had to say something; she is a mufat character but in a good way.
DK: The best thing about Mirza is that before he makes an appearance in the film, there are many incidences that have taken place in his life. This had to be reflected in his expression and that was tough. I wondered how someone who had faced so much in life could be sincere and fall in love. I had to work on this and I asked a friend who is a psychologist for some help. I asked her whether someone who could have endured so many hardships could still have a conservative mindset and believe in marriage and having kids. She said there is always a corner of one’s mind, where you are still sensitive about a few things.
So I worked hard on this character but was excited about the work that went in to playing a character like ‘yeh aisa karega, iske life me yeh beet chukka hai phir bhi yeh aisa kar raha hai.’ I think I had to work on that.