Kangana Ranaut, Imran Khan and Amrita Pandey, Vice-President and Head of Marketing and Distribution, Studios, Disney India, in conversation with the Team Box Office India about their film Katti-Batti
Box Office India (BOI): The title of the film reminds you of kids and how they used to play katti batti.
Amrita Pandey (AP): We want the film to cater to youngsters. (Laughs)
BOI: Is that the only reason the film is called Katti Batti? Even the trailer suggests that the couple keeps doing katti, then batti followed by another katti and batti.
Imran Khan (IK): Yes, they have an on-off kind of relationship, at least in the beginning of their relationship. But when the film starts, they are properly in katti mode.
BOI: So the film starts with a katti?
IK: Yes, full katti. Actually, it starts at the end of a seven-year-relationship. So, in fact, most of what you have seen in the promos – the college, the romance, all that has happened before, from where the film begins. The film starts at a point where they have already parted ways.
Kangana Ranaut (KR): (Cuts in) They have not really parted ways. This woman (Payal) has just disappeared mysteriously, citing some strange reasons. But then Maddy (Imran’s character) realises that there is something wrong and that she is not going to come back and that she was only making excuses. So they have not broken up but she has just vanished. That is why it unfolds like a thriller.
BOI: When all of you heard the script for the first time, what was it that actually intrigued you so much?
IK: For me, it was the relationship and more specifically it was the maturity of the relationship. My issue with romantic films, not specifically Hindi films but films in general or when we talk about romance and when we show romance, we prefer to treat it with a light touch. We show this fairytale romantic comedy aspect, which is not how real relationships are, at least not a real adult relationship. We show that Mr Charming meets Miss Perfect and fall in love, and then they live happily ever after. This film shows you what happens once the honeymoon has ended.
Here, you see the actual trials and tribulations of an adult relationship. How a couple starts to fight, how difficulties set in and then, how do you deal with them. And I had a very strong gut reaction because Avantika (Imran Khan’s wife) and I have been together for 13 years and I know that we have had ups and downs and there are difficulties in a marriage or a relationship. But nobody talks about that, what is it like when someone drives you crazy, infuriates you and irritates you but yet you love her? In spite of that, you cannot leave them. Just like that, in the film, Payal drives me crazy, she drives me nuts, she makes me angry and she makes my blood boil. But I still love her and I can’t live without her. That is real love. That is a real relationship. And that is what we are showing in Katti Batti.
BOI: Kangana, why does your character do this to him in the film?
IK: Bohot tang karti hai yaar! Payal is really very mean to Maddy in the film.
KR: I think this is a no-genre film and it is tough to promote a film like this. It is tough to categorise a film like this. Is it a slice-of-life film or something else? For instance, for Tanu Weds Manu, ‘rom-com’ was an apt word but Aanandji (L Rai, director) said that in the ‘70s, there were films which could be defined as ‘dramedy’, which was comedy mixed with drama. But there is no word to describe this film.
IK: ‘Dramedy’, I like this word.
KR: Yes, and that was apt for Tanu Weds Manu but not for Katti Batti. I think Katti Batti is a rom-com-meets-thriller-meets-slice of life. You will find all three genres in this film. The promos and the way we are promoting it suggests that the film is about this young couple who are constantly fighting and making up.
KR: Yes, exactly. Promoting a genre like this is complicated. In the film, the girl has disappeared and the guy is looking for her. He is trying to get all the pieces of his life together. Kahin jaata hai toh kuch baat pata chalti hai phir baaton se baat nikalti hai, koi usko kuchh kehta hai aur koi kehta hai uss din aisa hua tha. He is revisiting his past from his perspective. Slowly, you start to assemble the film but half an hour into the film, it gets deconstructed. Meanwhile, something else unravels on the screen, giving you a clue to what must have happened. Halfway through the story, you find the girl and then you realise that she has something going on in her life. Then you start questioning where the story is going. During the climax, the film unfolds like a thriller. So this woman is a mystery, which is why we cannot talk about her.
BOI: Was it an instant ‘yes’ for you after reading the script?
KR: Yes. The protagonist in the film is Imran. Usually, I play the protagonist in my films but in this film, he is driving all the plots. But it is such an endearing film. Anshul Singhal, who has written the film, is actually a lecturer at IIT. He has written it from a new perspective, making it a refreshing story. That’s what was most attractive about the script.