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Last Updated 23.06.2024 | 7:20 PM IST
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EXCLUSIVE: Do Aur Do Pyaar producer Swati Iyer Chawla shares hilarious anecdotes from the sets of Vidya Balan-Pratik Gandhi starrer; opens up on the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge connection: “‘What would happen to Raj and Simran 20 years later’ was one of the director’s advertising briefs”

en Bollywood News EXCLUSIVE: Do Aur Do Pyaar producer Swati Iyer Chawla shares hilarious anecdotes from the sets of Vidya Balan-Pratik Gandhi starrer; opens up on the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge connection: “‘What would happen to Raj and Simran 20 years later’ was one of the director’s advertising briefs”

The romcom Do Aur Do Pyaar, starring Vidya Balan, Pratik Gandhi, Ileana Dcruz and Sendhil Ramamurthy, which was released last week, has got a lot of acclaim. Bollywood Hungama exclusively spoke with producer Swati Iyer Chawla about the film and a lot more. She was a partner at Ellipsis Entertainment, when she worked on the film and currently, she is the CEO and partner at celebrity management agency Matrix IEC Pvt Ltd.

EXCLUSIVE: Do Aur Do Pyaar producer Swati Iyer Chawla shares hilarious anecdotes from the sets of Vidya Balan-Pratik Gandhi starrer; opens up on the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge connection: “‘What would happen to Raj and Simran 20 years later’ was one of the director’s advertising briefs”

EXCLUSIVE: Do Aur Do Pyaar producer Swati Iyer Chawla shares hilarious anecdotes from the sets of Vidya Balan-Pratik Gandhi starrer; opens up on the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge connection: “‘What would happen to Raj and Simran 20 years later’ was one of the director’s advertising briefs”

How did you all get the idea for Do Aur Do Pyaar? Director Shirsha Guha Thakurta said that one of the key hooks for the film was, ‘What would happen to Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’s Raj and Simran 20 years later?’. Was that a part of the initial discussion as well?
(Smiles) That was one of Shirsha's advertising briefs actually. And that’s how the DDLJ reference came actually because Shirsha is also an advertising director. We were lucky to have her. It took us three months to meet her and offer her the film. After seeing her work, I knew that she is the right person to helm the script.

As for how we got the idea, I was on my way to Prague on a cheap flight with my husband. I was looking at the in-flight entertainment section in the flight. And I watched the A24 film called The Lovers (2017). I was absolutely blown away by its core story of a couple cheating on their lovers to be with each other after they find the spark once again. It’s rare to see a husband and wife, who have fallen out of life, fall in love again. In a way, the film is hopeful as it depicts that love is very weird. It’s cyclical. You never know.

I spoke to my partner Tanuj Garg about it and he loved it immediately. We also felt that we’d have to make the characters younger for an Indian audience. I could only think of Vidya Balan as the lead as we wanted someone who is a woman of today who is in control of her life and decisions. But she also needs love. We wanted someone who could balance the two worlds beautifully. And there’s no actor who could bring sadness, love, energy etc the way Vidya can. I called her and told her the two-line idea since we didn’t have the script. She said that she loved it

Then, I spoke to the A24 team in the US and it took us 1 ½ years to bag the rights. Though we were only borrowing the core idea, we were very clear that we are in a business of IP and creative protection. We have to respect somebody else’s IP. Hence, you can’t be ‘inspired’. You have to buy the rights.

How did the rest of the actors get finalized?
The film’s writers are Suprotim Sengupta, Amrita Bagchi and Eisha Chopra. We started creating a world and a universe in which we wanted these characters to reside. So, it was not like we could cast anybody and then fit him in the role. Like, we were clear that Ani Banerjee (Pratik Gandhi) has to be a non-alpha male. He doesn’t have to be a toxic, masculine man. He has to be a guy who believes in equal opportunity for him and his wife. We were looking for an actor who is genuinely a sweet, charming guy and we felt that Pratik fit the bill. He’s a fantastic actor. Ani is also dependable and it required a great actor to bring that to life. He can say anything and you won’t get offended! For instance, he asks Nora (Ileana Dcruz), ‘Is it that time of the month’! Aisa bolne ke liye bhi there needs to be some innocence about him. Moreover, the way he has used his body language, eyes, his glasses etc was phenomenal.

Similarly, Ileana was apt for the part of Nora. She is vulnerable and is childlike but she’s also a woman. Hence, you feel protective about her. It’s always easy to depict that the third person is the villain in a love story. However, we didn’t want that. We wanted Nora to come across as someone who’s also looking for her love story. Her idea was not to break their marriage. And I felt Ileana was fab. She had long hair but we had a certain look for Nora. She understood and agreed to cut her hair short.

Vikram (Sendhil Ramamurthy), meanwhile, is a guy who travels the world. In our head, we had the picture of a person, who is very relaxed, cool, well-travelled and hence evolved, educated etc. He’s also very progressive and very good-looking. Somehow, Sendhil just popped in my head (smiles). I told Tanuj and Shirsha about it and they loved the idea. Tanuj had worked with Sendhil before. He called Sendhil, who loved the idea. We got him on board.

EXCLUSIVE: Do Aur Do Pyaar producer Swati Iyer Chawla shares hilarious anecdotes from the sets of Vidya Balan-Pratik Gandhi starrer; opens up on the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge connection: “‘What would happen to Raj and Simran 20 years later’ was one of the director’s advertising briefs”

Our readings with Sendhil happened online as he came two days before the shoot to India. He and Vidya had already created a rapport on Zoom.

We also worked hard on the rest of the casting and cast people who looked genuine. For example, for the role of the father, we needed someone who looked like he and Kavya could fight anytime. Even the cousin, the Ooty driver or the mother were cast after a lot of thought. We feel that the movie is also made by the ensemble cast.

The writers have Indianized the story beautifully. It is also different from the plot point in The Lovers. How did that happen?
Firstly, I have to tell you how interesting the writing process was. We wrote in 2020 during Covid times. Four times a week, at 9:30 pm, Shirsha, Suprotim, Eisha and I used to do a Zoom call. We’d talk about the film until 12:30-1:00 am. We debated the characters a lot like what the professions of the characters are. At one point, Vikram was a Parsi and was not even called Vikram. Then, we considered showing him as a pilot. The process was very cool and a big shout out to our writers. They worked hard to make the universe of the film believable.

The original version was set in a different world, consisting of older characters. Their son comes home and he serves as the catalyst. We tweaked it a bit as we wanted characters who were not away from reality. And in Mumbai, you do find couples in their late 30s who don’t have a kid. So, if they don’t have a kid, what is the factor that makes them fall in love again? It was Eisha who came up with the funeral idea. Usually, we see weddings where things take a turn for the characters. We wanted to do ulta. We are like ‘Let’s show how death can give birth to love for the characters’ (laughs).

Suprotim, meanwhile, came up with the ‘Uncle Appa’ dialogue. It was my favourite dialogue.

How was it to shoot the Elephanta Bar scene featuring Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi? Was there any choreography? Any other memorable moment from the set?
Often, certain songs are a part of your memory. It’s like ‘This was the song I used to hear when I bought my first car’. Hence, we looked for a song which was big when Kavya and Ani were dating before marriage, in the early 2000s. We finalized ‘Bin Tere Sanam’ as the song that they always danced to. We did choreograph a bit. Choreographer Rajeev Surti made it look natural, like how people would dance without steps. He wanted Vidya and Pratik to have fun while performing.

The way the two actors went all out made us laugh so much! It’s unbelievable how they took the scene to another level. They also got along very well. Hence, their energies matched beautifully on set. One of the best feedbacks I got was that Vidya and Prateik looked like a couple who have been married for a very long time (smiles).

There’s another funny incident. In Ooty, we couldn’t find an actor who could play a dead body! We wanted an actor of a certain age and look. However, we just couldn’t find an actor. We also didn’t cast any actors from Mumbai. For authenticity purposes, we were clear about casting locals.

Then, our team had to go from village to village to convince villagers that ‘aap yeh role kar sakte ho kya’! Finally, we found a person who agreed to play the dead body (laughs).

An interesting trivia, meanwhile, is that Vidya’s character Kavya is a Palakkad Iyer. I am a Palakkad Iyer and so is Vidya! Even the DOP Kartik Vijay is a Palakkad Iyer. All the lines in Tamil were written by me and my cousins. We also used a lot of personal names in the film. The name of Vidya’s father in the film is the same as the name of Vidya’s father in real life! The cousin’s name is inspired by my father’s name.

EXCLUSIVE: Do Aur Do Pyaar producer Swati Iyer Chawla shares hilarious anecdotes from the sets of Vidya Balan-Pratik Gandhi starrer; opens up on the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge connection: “‘What would happen to Raj and Simran 20 years later’ was one of the director’s advertising briefs”

The scene of Ani and Nora breaking up is not shown in the film. Was it shot and then deleted or was it not shot at all?
We never shot it. The kind of person that Ani was, he wouldn’t abandon anybody. Woh sirf sambhalna jaanta hai. He knows that Nora is waiting for him. He couldn’t have let her down at that time. Hence, he will go to Nora first because he feels that he owes it to her. But, at the same time, we were clear that as time went by, they broke up and we were not going to show it. But it’ll come up in conversation ki break up ho gaya.

Also, I’d like to add that we shot two endings for Kavya and Vikram. Kavya doesn’t believe in confrontation. She is an escapist in many ways. When she decides that she cannot be with Vikram, there are two thoughts in our minds. One is that she simply hands over the key back to Vikram. I was not convinced by this ending. Hence, we shot one more scene where Kavya writes a letter to him and leaves the key. Later, we realized that the first version was better. This is because there are no words in that crucial scene as she can’t put it in words; it’s too heartbreaking.

The technical team’s work was also exemplary.
I’d also like to mention our DOP Kartik. The way he focused on the faces and captured the moods was exemplary. The music was also very special and it’s good to see that the songs have caught on.

What kind of feedback have you got from the industry and aam junta?
It has been overwhelming. We can’t believe it. Critics have unanimously hailed it. Everybody said that they were looking for a fresh story told from the perspective of regular people who are. We got a lot of love for the fact how relatable it was. Shabana Azmi ji called Sendhil. She said that it’s one of the best films that she has seen. Not only industry people but even the regular audience has loved it too.

What’s the update on your upcoming film, Sharmajee Ki Beti, directed by Tahira Kashyap Khurrana?
It’s a fabulous film, full of great actors, and you’ll hear about it very soon!

Any progress on Navy Day?
Yes. It’s a beautiful story. Fingers crossed; we’ll make the film soon!

What else is in the pipeline?
Now that I am the partner and CEO at Matrix, I am looking forward to making great content. So, you’ll be hearing something about it in the near future. After all, at heart, I am a creative person and I am always looking for stories.

Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: “It was a party to have Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi on set of Do Aur Do Pyaar,” says Shirsha Guha Thakurta

More Pages: Do Aur Do Pyaar Box Office Collection , Do Aur Do Pyaar Movie Review


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