BOI: When Kahaani released, it was a time when very few content-driven films were being made amid the usual masala cinema. It was kind of a path-breaking film. Today, the audience is actively seeking content-rich cinema. Does that make it more difficult for content-centric films to stand out now?
SG: Content-driven films are always difficult to make. But to get the right content, I think we can do only what we believe in. There is nothing more to it. So you need the right idea and believe in it and put in your best. Sometimes, it turns into a Home Delivery and sometimes it becomes a Kahaani.
BOI: Vidya, what was your reaction when you watched the trailer? Were you involved in the process of cutting the trailer?
VB: No, I was not involved. He showed me the trailer once without sound. I never watch my films until they are absolutely ready because I don’t get a sense of it without sound. So I didn’t react to it as I couldn’t hear the lines. He showed me the trailer when I was dubbing for Kahaani 2, and I clapped when I watched the trailer. I said, ‘It is flying, we will fly with this.’
SG: Yes, and I said, ‘Tera hi picture hai. I knew you would say this, now as long as the audience also says this, we are okay,’ (Laughs)
BOI: The first trailer was very critical but was it a long process?
SG: A little, because it was based purely on one’s gut; you see something and you like it or you don’t like it. We have this amazing person called Binny Padda, who is a magician. All my life, I have entrusted all my films to Binny. I give it to Binny, and he takes his time, and he creates magic for us, and we just bask in the glory. But it is actually he who does all the work. I wish I knew how to do this but…
VB: But I think cutting a trailer also needs an objective perspective. You can’t be too close to the film because then you either give away too much or not enough. He is an objective person and that really helps. I have seen this with him multiple times, he gets the essence of the film and what needs to be told bang on.
SG: Whenever I write a script, I first give Binny a copy. With this film too, I first gave her the script and then I gave Binny a copy.
BOI: What did he say when you gave him this script?
SG: Binny is like a brother to me, so he says only good things to me. Even if I were to make a horrible film, he would say it was a Nobel Prize winner. But, yes, we are very happy and we have put in a lot.
VB: I don’t know if the film is working or not or whether the story is or is not but I think it takes a couple of days to get a sense of the character for me and to get entrenched in that world. That usually happens seamlessly, and you know when that has happened.
But Sujoy and I talk a lot about the film. People ask me what kind of preparations I do but we don’t really sit and… It is also very difficult with him because half the time, he talks rubbish. He is constantly distracting. (Laughs)
When something strikes me when I read the script or when he writes something and calls me, there is constant thought where there is a major preparation that happens. We are pretty much in sync. I know when he is not happy with a take even if I am happy with it.
SG: That is the worst part.
VB: And I know when he is saying, ‘it was okay, let’s go ahead’. And then I say ‘no’ because I can sense that it is not okay as I feel that he wants that something extra which he is not able to articulate and neither am I. So you are in sync after a while, especially now that we have known each other all this while.
SG: Do you know what she does? She memorises the script. Not just her lines but everybody else’s lines as well. And I have to sit and listen to it. How boring is that? Then she goes and discusses it with the other actor also. In a way, that’s good as I can give her all my responsibilities.
VB: Absolutely, and I don’t know what it is with Sujoy and me. I think we started on a very comfortable note, which also gets very uncomfortable at times. Genuinely, we can’t stand each other at times. I have come to accept that now, unlike earlier when I used to wonder why I was feeling like this. But now I feel it is okay as long as we work well together. We are temperamentally very different… I am temper and he is mental. (Laughs)
SG: Edit out this part yaar, it is such a bad joke. But I feel I know her a little better than I know most people. It is easier for me to cue her if she asks me about a scene and asks how to go about it. For instance, I can remind her of the way she screamed at me previously, is the kind of command that is required for the scene. Unfortunately, I cannot cue anyone else like that.
BOI: As an actor, which character did you enjoy playing more, Vidya or Durga?
VB: I think Durga is far more layered. And I don’t think I could have done Durga four and a half years ago. For some reason, Vidya Bagchi was like someone I knew as I was involved in every step of the process, so I knew that character too well. But while he was writing Durga, we were not talking to each other so I didn’t have a clue to what was happening. But, of course, I think Durga is far more layered. They were fun in different ways. Vidya was comfortable and Durga was more challenging.