Leading lady Vidya Balan and director Sujoy Ghosh in conversation with Team Box Office India as Kahaani 2 gears up for release
Box Office India (BOI): What took Kahaani 2 so long?
Sujoy Ghosh (SG): Actually, it didn’t take all that long; we just had to choose the right story, one that would mainly appeal to her, next me and then my co-producer. We needed one that would make us go, yes, this is the story we want to make as a sequel! We had many stories but none of them was Kahaani 2 material.
Considering how much the audience loved Kahaani… there were lots of expectations from Kahaani, a lot of love, a lot of respect attached to Kahaani. So we were very careful while selecting a movie that would take the Kahaani franchise forward. I think wahi dhundne mein chaar saal lag gaye.
Vidya Balan (VB): My initial response, before I even listened to the script, was do we really need to make a Kahaani 2, because we had explored a lot of eyes for Kahaani 2 but it was just not working out. And then I heard this and felt it actually could be Kahaani 2. You will understand why I am saying this only after you watch the film. So there are lots of stories within the story. For me, Kahaani is … is a story within a story.
BOI: Sujoy, was it easy to convince her?
SG: What is easy to do is taking the Vidya Bagchhi franchise forward. We had the Kahaani name, but it was important to be convinced that this story could be told. And I think the Kahaani brand helped us otherwise people might not want to listen what we want to say. I had somebody called Vidya Bagchhi, who is extremely popular, which is why people want to see her. That would be the wrong reason to make a film. Thankfully, she agreed to be a part of this film. And, yes, it was not easy to convince her at all.
BOI: Was Kahaani 2 more difficult to make?
SG: Much more because more than anything, we both wanted to have our head wrapped in something we wanted to say.
VB: And we had to tell ourselves that this was a completely different film, we had to divest ourselves of that positive baggage because when you make a film, you have to make it without any baggage. So I think it was more difficult, especially initially, when people would ask what happened to Vidya Bagchhi? What about the other characters? But Sujoy was very clear that it was different story. We are taking the franchise forward, it is not a sequel.
SG: We took a shapath (promise) that we were not here to improve Kahaani or not create the same characters. We are telling you a new story.
VB: (Cuts in) Ho bhi sakta hain…
SG: Inshallah ho gaya toh bahut achcha hain. But that was not the intent with which we decided to make the sequel. The intention was to tell a story that we wanted to say.
SG: The name is very close to me. When you write something, it always looks very exciting and sounds like the best script ever. Then, after a year, that same script sounds like a potty script. So that script had its moment and then it took a step down.
VB: Even today I don’t think it’s a potty script.
SG: No, I don’t mean potty script, that’s a little too harsh. You know the excitement when we first wrote it. That excitement has dipped.
VB: But he loves the name, so he decided to keep the name Durga Rani Singh.
BOI: When did you start writing this script?
SG: I think the first time we discussed the concept was the day she moved into her new house. When was that?
SG: She gave me two hours to narrate the script but I narrated just two lines. She was, like, nikal yaha se. The germ of the story was there since then but I didn’t know how to stitch it together. When you make a film, the story has to be engaging, the script has to be entertaining. We just can’t tell the story the way we want to, we need to tell it in a manner that will entertain the audience. You have to package it as an entertainer or else you might as well make a documentary or a Power Point presentation. So it took us a while to make it entertaining.