Theek aa che? he asks his cast & crew.
It means 'How are you doing?' and the person asking this is Vidhu Vinod Chopra. A Punjabi filmmaker who is more Bengali than most Bongs of his unit. Blame it on the roshogollas he kids.
He more often than not takes on the tide. With Parineeta, Yagna & Munnabhai meets Mahatma, director-producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra is certainly the man of the moment. If Munnabhai was good news to his Profit/Loss statement, Parineeta is the kind of the cinema that the filmmaker is kicked about. Come June 10th, and Parineeta unleashes the golden sixties, soulful melodies, a vitalizing newcomer, a new director and
..25 crores at stake!
You have 3 radically different films on floor right now. It must be a creatively buoyant period for you
For sure, it is very satisfying to know that the films are conceptually so different. As for Parineeta I would like to believe that it is a big leap for Hindi cinema as is for Saif. And the reason I tell you this is that you have never seen Saif like this before or for that matter, the actress of the caliber of Vidya Balan being introduced. It feels nice that we are striving and the fact that we are succeeding feels even better. So, yes, like you said, currently I am on a creative high!
Knowing you Vidhu, you wouldn't remain a dummy producer. How much a part of Parineeta were you?
(Smiles) Well, I was actively involved in the screenplay session which is very vital to a film like Parineeta since we are adapting it. But let me tell you the visuals that Pradeep has managed for the film are truly outstanding! He and cinematographer Natrajan have brought to life sketches that I thought were possible only on paper and canvas.
You have a very interesting mix of stars. But word has it that you weren't for Saif & Vidya, true?
That is true! I honestly didn't think Saif could pull it off. I wasn't keen on him, but it was him who bulldozed his way into the project. And the guy has given a knock-out performance. That's the reason that I have taken him in my Amitabh film, Yagna. The first thing I told him after the trials was, Saif, where have you been for 12 years? He is the best surprise about Parineeta.
What about Vidya
I wasn't against Vidya but yes you must understand that when you mount a 25 crore film, any maker is cautious and he better be, about the people he wants for his film. Especially when you can have any established name do the film for you.
So what is it that made you opt for a newbie instead of an A-lister?
Simply because she is brilliant! We screen tested her for 6 months until we were convinced that there couldn't have been a more perfect Lolita than Vidya.
And the lady is creating quite a stir
Well I am glad if she is, but when I decided to sign her on, who knew she would be the talk of the town? I am proud! And I am thankful that God gave me the courage to take the risk that I have.
What explains the brilliant chemistry between Sanjay & you?
Sanjay is a tremendous actor and he has a huge range in terms of emotions. He played a father in Mission Kashmir, a funny goon in Munnabhai and now he is a mellow romantic in Parineeta. The guy is superb.
Besides, I can only work with good human beings. Small people with big egos aren't for me. When actors see their faces staring from monster billboards, they loose reality and begin to think that they are bigger than others. I can't operate with such people!
How did you rope in Rekha for a cameo?
I spoke to her on the phone and told her that I had something for her. Rekha then heard the song and said she thought it was brilliant and wanted to do it. Then one day she comes to my house in her costume, I was in my gym, My wife told her told that she looked stunning in the beet sari and Rekha tells her, 'Your husband wants me to look like this' Now that is Rekha! I so adore her.
The music of Parineeta is melodious. But ever been tempted to add that 1 hit number?
I don't think in terms of 'saleability'. I am not here to please trade pundits; I am here to please myself. I make music that I want to listen. I don't let market forces govern me, had I done that, a Kasto Mazza or a Raat Hamarai hain wouldn't have reached audio shelves. Countdown charts aren't for me, I don't work that way!
Don't you think that makes you self indulgent as a filmmaker at some level?
I don't believe in exposing myself as an artist to market dynamics. I believe that creativity happens only when art has an innocence about it. And that can happen only when you shelter yourself from what the market corruption that envelopes us.
Do you think Parineeta is esoteric in a way that distances itself from the common man?
Interesting, but my answer would be no. Parineeta is about relationships and that is something that ties every singular person together.
Finally what is the one thing that you have taken from Parineeta?
Love, lots of love
Did we say he was kicked about the film? Hope the audiences are too
Theek aa che? he asks his cast & crew.