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I should have fought harder with Varma: director
By Subhash K Jha, IANS
Rajat Mukherjee apparently didn't get a free hand while directing two films for Ram Gopal Varma's production house.
His first film, "Pyar Tune Kya Kiya", didn't raise a storm at the box office. But it did create a media stir when the producer, Varma, was rumoured to have ghost-directed the film.
The second film, "Road", was taken over by Varma and re-shot extensively. But Mukherjee says he still has the highest regards for Varma.
"I fought with him all the time during both films. I stood my ground during 'Pyar Tune...' and I convinced him. In 'Road', I just gave up. 'Road' lost its way."
Going against the director's vision, Manoj Bajpai was turned into a positive character in "Road", thereby ruining the film's moral equilibrium.
Sighs Mukherjee: "We shot it quite differently... then we went back to shoot it again to accommodate Manoj's song. Finally 'Road' became something else. I should've fought harder. Instead of being nice on the sets, I should've been kind to my film instead."
But he brightens up at the mention of "Love In Nepal" that will be released this week.
"I went with my lead pair to Nepal with a bound script. The difference is bound to show. It isn't just a boy meets girl story. The pair is constantly bickering.
"Both Sonu Nigam and Flora Saini have an attitude. And that I think gives the film a simmering spin."
Mukherjee doesn't see the lack of star appeal as a problem.
"Sonu is a star in his own field (singing). True he hasn't had a hit as a leading man. But I feel 'Love In Nepal' will change that. He's completely transformed. My other USP is the Nepal locations. Almost 80 percent of the film is shot in a beautiful place in Pokhara."
Mukherjee shudders while recalling the averted disaster on location. "Sonu decided to do some stunts and slipped in a waterfall. Fortunately the Nepalese crew came to our rescue. Otherwise anything could've happened."
Mukherjee also goes into raptures about his leading lady.
"Flora Saini had done a film earlier, 'Bharat Bhagya Vidhata'. If nothing else people will credit me for transforming the heroine."
He talks about the invaluable lessons learnt from Varma.
"You know Ramu (Varma) taught me to move on to my next script while finishing a film. That's exactly what I've done. I started writing 'Love in Nepal' while I was directing 'Road'. And then I was writing three scripts while directing 'Love In Nepal'. Of these I'll choose one as my next directorial venture.
"As a filmmaker it's very important for me to be on the move constantly. This time the producer didn't try to tell me what to do. He gave me a free hand. For that I'm thankful."