BOI: Chandan, was there ever a question mark about your character?
CRS: No. I always approach my roles in a way that… I like to imagine. I like to imagine myself. I create my own world. First, I follow the script, then I wonder what the character would do if he were doing this for the first time. How would he do it? The character has to be unique. Rajeshji and Amitji are from Banaras, so they told me about the characteristics of a Banarasi… how they speak. Rajeshji, Amitji and Shantiji told me how to deliver my lines and advised me on the body language I had to use.
RS: He is a flamboyant character. His clothes are also colourful.
CRS: During the costume trials, Rajeshji was saying ‘no’ to everything. Costumes are supposed to make you look smart, right? Instead, my clothes had a sunflower on them, my shoes were shinny and the tips had a snake on them. I was, like, what are they doing to me? After I wore my costume, I stepped into my character very tentatively; the second level came about when I went on the sets; the third level when the lights came on; and the fourth level came automatically.
BOI: Rajesh, were you ever disheartened because it took two years to get the film ready?
RS: No, I was very busy with my television work and I took my own sweet time to complete my story. And I was okay with that. The whole idea was to make a good film.
BOI: Was it difficult to get producers for your film?
RS: I am always lucky that way. I have always got producers for films whenever I have needed them.
DK: He is very talented and everyone knows that.
RS: I guess I have someone’s blessing.
BOI: Is it easy to get into a character or out of it?
DK: I am the kind who goes into details. So if you want me to stand for a single shot, I do a lot of research work for even that.
RS: Pia and Chandan are both very spontaneous and Darshan tries to get into his character. He tries to feel the location too. On the first day of the shoot, I remember shooting and the lighting was done, and he was out. So I asked him to take some rest but he said, ‘I’m trying to feel the location.’ I said ‘Kaisa actor hai.’
We have an actor, Sumanji, who hails from Banaras and she wasn’t getting the slap right. She slapped Darshan very hard and I had to instruct her how to get it right but she still couldn’t. Darshan looked at me accusingly, as if I had asked her to slap him! But Darshan was into his character and the rest was spontaneous. (Laughs)
RS: One moment they are laughing and the very next, they are serious.
PB: That’s talent. (Laughs)
DK: I can’t do it.
BOI: Is it easy to snap out of your character after being into it so deeply?
DK: It’s not easy to suddenly slip into your character and suddenly snap out of it. But that’s what I like because that’s what I have learnt. I belong to Naseer sir’s (Naseeruddin Shah) theatre group. I want to be real, not fake, on screen. If I think my performance is bordering on the fake, I immediately stop and change. Every actor has their own style and this is mine.
CRS: When I started my career, I used to act with the local people of Chhattisgarh. And our director Habib sahib had a different style of working; he would suddenly switch from being a local-ite, to a director who was directing a Shakespearean drama. That was my first exposure and it was magical for me to watch that. I am very different off screen and that’s what our preparation is all about.
PB: Yes, even my preparation is kind of like that. People think it’s just switching on and switching off. But it takes a long time to learn how to do that. After doing a particular scene, we may seem to have switched off our character but that doesn’t mean we don’t think about our performance. I keep thinking about it and analysing it. For the emotional scene, I had to prepare and use the memory method to act and take time to leave the scene.
BOI: Name one surprising element your actors possess.
RS: Whatever we had planned reflected on the monitor. That was really surprising. I never forced my actors to work in a particular way. Still, they were so bang on that it took me by surprise.
CRS: We also got a great director who gave the actors a lot of freedom. I mean he use to stop us when we strayed outside our characters but he gave us plenty of space within the boundaries of our roles. Some people don’t use the space they are given.
RS: I believe that when you sign good actors, you have to do that much less as a director. Hand over responsibility to the actors and tell them they will not look good on screen if they don’t perform well.
DK: When I was not part of a scene, I would sit out and watch Pia’s performance or Priyanshu’s performance. So I was constantly surrounded by people and I could see their reactions and listen to their comments, like ‘Yaar ye toh isi role keliye banna hai’ or ‘Isse better koi nahi kar sakta’. So to know that you have chosen actors who are perfectly suited to their respective roles…
BOI: For each one of you, what was Rajesh like as captain of the ship?
PB: When I met him for the first time, I told Darshan that our director does not talk much. How are we going to shoot this film? I was coming from the Laal Rang sets, where the director talks a lot. Here, the director seemed like an introvert.
RS: No, I’m not. If the scene has been discussed and the actors are doing well, why do you have to tell them what you have do?
BOI: It is said that films don’t fail, budgets do. What precautions did you take to rein in the budget?
RS: The basic thing was to complete the film on time and we managed to achieve that.
BOI: The reason for advancing the release of the film?
DK: Seven is a lucky number for me, so I forced him to release it on that day. (Laughs)
RS: We decided to do that because Fast & Furious 8 (The Fate Of The Furious) is releasing on March, 14 as well as Begum Jaan. I think they have cornered a lot of screens. So we were advised by distributors to advance our release date. They were very excited after watching the trailer of our film and felt it was perfectly fine if we released along with Sarkar 3 but not as third choice along with the other two movies. Now I guess Sakar 3 is also not coming in.
RS: We haven’t thought of that yet. The production team and the distributors are working on a plan.
BOI: What is the USP of the film?
PB: The film is actually based on love, and the strong emotions in the film are something everyone can relate to.
DK: It’s a today love story. I think the youth are confused… they are in love and they are also practical. They don’t know where to go. The youth will be able to relate to this very easily.
CRS: There is so much happening in our lives that we tend to forget the small things. This film has small-town bonding, which people don’t otherwise get to see.
RS: For me, I think it’s entertainment.
DK: Entertainment! Entertainment! Entertainment!!