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Interview : Hriday Shetty

'I expected to have ego clashes on the sets of CHAALIS CHAURAASI '

When it comes to treading an unusual path, filmmaker Hriday Shetty's name comes first in the list. Be it PLAN, PYAAR MEIN TWIST, GODFATHER - THE LEGEND CONTINUES, Hriday never shied away from trying something new. Now, continuing the same mantra he comes up with yet another unusual film called CHAALIS CHAURAASI (4084). Catch the insightful director in conversation as he candidly speaks about his film, the quirky title, a casting coup of sorts and bizarre performances, which has been making a huge buzz in the industry circles. Here are the excerpts:

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From PLAN to CHAALIS CHAURAASI, each of your directorial ventures have come in a span of 3-4 years. Any specific reason for that?
The gaps are not intentional. It's not planned. The intent is to do different kind of films every time. If a certain story or script excites me and if I think I can take the script to another level and present it to the audience I'll do. There is no time bound for doing good films. The whole idea is to take cinema to another level and challenge yourself.

Do you believe in being a trendsetter by making unusual films. Your upcoming film CHAALIS CHAURAASI also doesn't seem to be an ordinary fare? (Smiles)I am a very humble person. I am not a trendsetter at the same time I am not here to follow a trend or go by any trend. I don't want to get typecast. I don't want to be known for a particular genre. There are so many genres to be explored. Everyone has different choice. Even audiences have varied choice so why not a director?

CHECK OUT: Hassan Jahangir's 'Hawa Hawa' in CHAALIS CHAURAASI

Since CHAALIS CHAURAASI is inspired from a real life incident, how much fictional or factual it is?
Though CHAALIS CHAURAASI is inspired from a news article but we haven't lifted the entire incident. On the contrary we have created our own story. We thought on the same lines but we have created a very fresh and different product. In fact when our actors were reading the script they were really taken aback. Every page they found something unexpected happening. CHAALIS CHAURAASI is not a whodunit but it comes under humour genre and when crime gets added to it becomes edgy.

Humour is Humor how can it be dark or light or grey or black or white? I seriously don't understand this logic. It's the people who have given their own terms. Coming to CHAALIS CHAURAASI, it has a very clean humour. Like DELHI BELLY it doesn't have a toilet humour. It's a family entertainer. The parents won't have to shut the ears of their children. It's all about the treatment how a storyteller wants to portray.

"Heroines are just used as props"

Using cuss words in films is becoming a popular trend now and CHAALIS CHAURAASI being a virile rugged funny film, should we expect expletives in it as well?

No in my film you won't hear any abuses. I don't adhere to that. As a filmmaker I won't do that. CHAALIS CHAURAASI is a clean great film without any gaali galoch.

CHAALIS CHAURAASI is much talked about for its casting and out of the ordinary performances. Naseeruddin Shah, Kay Kay Menon, Ravi Kishan and Atul Kulkarni, who have mostly done intense roles and unconventional cinema, are being seen in a comic avatar?
The idea was to bring the 4 actors in a new avatar, challenge their limitations make them do something which they haven't done before. If they are doing the same thing what's the use? The foursome have done whacked out humour and shown a complete wild side of theirs.

Was casting them in a comic avatar and make them do what a typical Bollywood hero is ought to do difficult thing?
Not really. They all have carved a niche for themselves as great actors and are known to get under the character so whatever challenges were thrown to them they successfully did it. I have brought them into a commercial entertaining space.

Was it easy bringing the acting genius together?
It was not difficult to get them together. Though CHAALIS CHAURAASI is my first film with them, I have known them all on the personal basis. Moreover, they liked my vision and found well- planned. When they got to know that they'll be doing something which they haven't done before they were kicked about it.

Were there any ego clashes ever on the sets?
This was something I always expected to happen but to my surprise it never happened. There was no ego clash, no fighting for space or for close up, no waiting for each other. In fact they have partied working on this film and it has all come on-screen. They would not go to their vans even after completing the shot. They would be like chaar yaar who ganged up. You can make it out from the warmth and body language of theirs. Despite being the eldest and most experienced, it was Naseer who would always be excited to learn from the other three guys. They shared a great rapport.

view The team of CHAALIS CHAURAASI at Radio Mirchi video

Wasn't it a risky proposition to have unconventional heroes doing conventional things?
In fact that's the fun of this film, that's the USP of this film.

A good Bollywood film without heroine/actress is like a good meal without deserts so why the glamour part is missing from CHAALIS CHAURAASI?
In most of the films heroines are just used as props. And I don't follow that philosophy. Unless and until they have some pivotal role to play or they play second fiddle to the hero I don't think they should become a part of the film. My film CHAALIS CHAURAASI didn't have any scope for heroine. I want to be honest and loyal to my audience rather going by the opinion of few people. There is no said formula for a hit film. Any film can work without the so-called reason. As far as the glamour part is concerned I have kept good 3 item numbers including 80s popular track 'Hawa Hawa'.

CHECK OUT: Post TDP & CHAALIS CHAURAASI Naseer the new item boy!

What made you have Pakistani singer Hassan Jahangir's 80s popular song 'Hawa Hawa' in the film?Is the song for promotion purpose
'Hawa Hawa' was a bigger hit than today's sensational song 'KOLAVERI DI' when it came. There was no media, no television yet it was a superhit song and it is still widely loved. I had the privilege to bring 'Hawa Hawa' back with my film. It's like reliving those days again. The song very much forms the part of film's narrative. There comes a situation in the film where we needed an old song. I was dying to do the remix of old R D Burman song. However, ultimately we zeroed in on a non-film song 'Hawa Hawa'.

Why such a quirky title 4084? Is there a hidden significance in the title?
The title 4084 certainly has some significance in the film. The police van and number plate form an important character in the film. It's an integral part of the film. You may not find a connect with the title now but as you watch the film you'll realize there could not have been more apt title.

Share us the experience of shooting CHAALIS CHAURAASI
It was an amazing experience. The shoot of CHAALIS CHAURAASI which had a marathon 45 days shooting schedule got completed in 40 days without any retakes. No film is shot during monsoon period but CHAALIS

"Naseer is god of acting"

CHAURAASI was planned to be shot in monsoon. Moreover the maximum shoot of the film took place on the streets of Mumbai, again a risk during monsoon season. Everyone had this fear that rains might hamper or wrap up the shoot. Thankfully nothing of that sort happened. On the contrary we had to use rain machines. It seems even heaven was in our support (Smiles).

Tell us something about each actor - Naseeruddin Shah, Kay Kay Menon, Ravi Kishan, Atul Kulkarni?
In one word they all are fantastic human beings to work with. Individually, Naseer is god of acting. He doesn't have blood in his veins it's filled with talent which he oozes out. While Atul is a very dedicated actor whatever he takes up he does it wholeheartedly. Ravi is charming, flamboyant and childlike. Naseer calls him a 'Chuppa Rustam' because he will never let you know what and how he's going to perform. He performs spontaneously. Where many actors have the habit of rehearsing, Ravi acts from his heart. Kay Kay is an intense actor. Whether its humour or emotion he does with complete intensity.

- Rachana, Glamsham Editorial

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