Parmanu – The Story Of Pokhran had put its producers Arjun N Kapoor and Prernaa of KriArj Entertainment in a bit of a quandary when they announced the film. The film, directed by Abhishek Sharma, stars John Abraham (who is also co-producing and acting in the film) and Diana Penty, and revolves around the nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by India at the Indian Army's Pokhran Test Range in 1998. What Arjun and Prernaa were not aware was the fact that three makers – Ashutosh Gowariker, Shoojit Sircar and Ritesh Sidhwani - were already in the running before they started the film. While Ashutosh called them up after they announced the film and gracefully bowed out of the running, Ritesh refused to give up the title Pokhran to John and KriArj when they asked him for it and that’s why they had to use the title of Parmanu for their film.
Ashutosh Gowariker says, “I have a very warm relationship with Prernaa and Arjun as I adore their passion towards filmmaking and good storytelling. As soon I came to know that KriArj was working on this film, we spoke, and then thereafter I spoke with John too. Parmanu is a lovely story and script and I am really looking forward to it.”
Prernaa Arora adds that when John and KriArj formed a company where they would co-produce films and work on scripts together, Abhishek Sharma met them and narrated a story on Pokhran. “When we heard it, we thought that John would be perfect in it. KriArj is very particular about content as you have seen in the kind of films we do, and we loved the story of Pokhran. It had a strong, patriotic story and an untold one. It was a very important subject for us. We told John who met with the director and loved the story and we decided to make the film on the spot. At that time, Arjun and I didn’t know about the career history of the film’s content or that others were making a film on the same subject as nobody had shared it with us before we came on board. It was only while developing the script that we found out through John that there were a few makers who were trying to make films on the same subject.”
Prernaa says that KriArj has always had great relationship love and respect for Gowariker and his work. “Arjun and I love his films and when Ashu sir came to know after John announced Parmanu that we were making a film on the same he was very humble and kind and said he would support us completely. That’s how we found out that Ashu sir was making the film. He is one of the finest directors of the country and we have a huge respect for him and his body of work. He not only congratulated us, but assured us of his co-operation in the film for any inputs as well. We are truly indebted to him.”
Arjun N Kapoor says, “When the story was proposed to us we weren’t aware that there were other filmmakers looking at doing a film on the same subject. Of course, this information and story available on public domain so nobody really has any copyright on this, but that being said we weren’t aware that there are such filmmakers, and such reputed ones, were planning to make a film on it. Ashu sir spoke to me first because he is close to us and then after that he called John. He was very kind and generous in his praise for us and he was very happy that we are doing it. Not just Ashu sir, Shoojit sir and Ritesh but we heard that other big studios were also making a film on that.”
Arjun says that they and KriArj’s creative team loved the story. “That's why we went ahead with it. It’s something that we are very proud of, that the country did so we started developing the script. If we knew that our esteemed colleagues are looking at making films on the same subject, we probably would have thought twice about it. Eventually we started finding out about the other filmmakers. When we wanted the title Pokhran, we found out that it is with Ritesh Sidhwani and his production company Excel. That’s how we came to realize that they are looking at doing a film too around Pokhran. Prernaa and I have very good relations with and regard for Excel and John’s company was officially interacting with Ritesh for the title. Where Shoojit’s film was concerned we came to hear about it from trade sources. We have great respect for all the three filmmakers who are not only senior to us but also have an excellent body of work. It was a story which we started developing because we weren’t aware that other people were looking at... Eventually we found out but that happens...”
Arjun says KriArj is extremely proud to produce a film like Parmanu and that they are telling the story. "It was a very proud moment for the country. It happened in 1998 and something that secured us as a country in the eyes of the world and it’s a very proud moment for us. In fact, we coined the term Jai Jawan Jai Vigyan as our marketing strategy for this film as we are saluting our soldiers and our scientists as these two sets of people got together to create the nuclear tests we conducted, which is keeping us secure as a nation.”