"I look at films only from a director's point of view"
Best known for the commercially successful HUM TUM, FANAA and THODA PYAAR THODA MAGIC, filmmaker Kunal Kohli is back with his latest venture BREAK KE BAAD. The film sees Kohli taking on the role of producer for the first time, as former assistant Danish Aslam steps up to the director's chair. Steven Baker caught up with Kohli to find out more about this week's big Bollywood release, a romantic drama starring Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone.
Does it feel different to be promoting a film as a producer rather than a director?
I don't know, because honestly I don't know what it is like to be a producer. I am a filmmaker and I only look at films from a director's point of view. I feel like I'm pulling a con by being a producer. I think filmmaking for me is all about making a good film. It is not about the production part of it, that's just an operational thing; so I look at films only from a director's point of view.
As a producer, how hands-on were you during the shoot?
I was in Delhi and Mauritius, but not checking if people there were doing their job. I was there to be part of the project, to have fun, to make sure everyone is happy and everything is going well. So I was a very hands-on producer, like going on recces with the director, because Danish is a first time director, and I wanted to help him wherever I felt there were a few rough edges.
CHECK OUT: BREAK KE BAAD Movie Preview
Although this is the first production from Danish Aslam, you have previously worked together...
Yes. He was the first AD of mine in two films so I thought he was ready to be a director and that's how I got him involved. It is something that Yash Raj started, Karan [Johar] has even done it, and it is something I am trying to do. I think it is a natural progression, you want to create more and more films, you want to be part of more films, and that is what I am doing, because we are very greedy as filmmakers and want to do a lot.
A new Kunal Kohli release always seems very different from the last?
I love that you can't say 'What is a Kunal Kohli film?' I want to be different in every film, and have been. MUJHSE DOSTI KAROGE, HUM TUM, FANAA and THODA PYAAR THODA MAGIC are all completely different films. Every film's shooting style is also different, every film's locations, costumes, props. I think that is what is exciting. I never want there to be a typical Kunal Kohli film as that means I am repeating myself. I want to keep experimenting with different styles.
Would you say that your films are targeted towards the youth?
I just make a film from the heart and whoever connects with it connects with it. Fortunately for me I think all age groups have connected with my films, I have had parents connect with my films, I have had young children, people from six to eighty six have connected with my films and I am glad that is the case.
How is the music of BREAK KE BAAD?
We have 'Adhoore' which is a really nice track, 'Dhoop Ke Makaan' which is really good, as is 'Ajab Leher'. There's a new thought in 'Dooriyan Zaroori Hai' where we talk about distances being necessary. There are some nice tracks in BREAK KE BAAD so it is really hard for me to choose, but I think these four are the tracks I really like. But of course, I would do my music differently. This music is more what Danish would like, and my music would be completely different.
Your work always attracts big name stars; was it easy getting Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone on board?
I think they were convinced about the script, convinced about Danish and convinced about me as a producer, because you have to have a good script, director and producer to make a good film. I have been pretty fortunate that I have always had big names associated with my films, and I hope that continues. They ensure a wider audience and I would always want that for all my films.
We have seen young directors like Karan Johar, Tarun Mansukhani and Nikhil Advani doing cameos. Is this something that tempts you?
No, I am quite happy. The only time I will go in front of a camera is to do a reality show, or to host a show or judge an event. I wouldn't go in front of a camera for acting. In fact I have had a couple of offers from the UK to host a reality show, and that would be interesting to pursue, because I think after Shilpa Shetty there has been no other Indian that has come on a show in the UK and I think it is time for that.
- Steven Baker, Bollywood Trade Editorial