While promoting KAHAANI 2 Kolkata, actress Vidya Balan (V) and director Sujoy Ghosh (S) were at their vivacious, candid best, pulling each other's legs talking about the film. Any signs of the supposed cold war between the two once upon a time are absolutely put to rest as the director tries to teach his actor snatches of Bengali nursery rhymes, and she mocks him with them. Here are the excerpts:VIDYA BALAN
Only a few days are left before the release of KAHAANI 2. How does that make you feel?
V- Wow. You just made us realise that (laughs).
S- Bhoy pawachish keno re? (Why are you scaring us?)
V- But I think it's a good feeling, a lot of excitement in the people, and in us of course. Everyone who's seen the trailer is waiting for Dec 2, and the thing is, that they've all liked the trailer, and they're trying to figure it all out.
V- I'm not nervous.
S- I'm a little nervous.
V- That's his second name (laughs)
How are the promotions going? What has been the feedback so far?
V- I'm thoroughly enjoying them. Unlike KAHAANI, this time Sujoy and I are promoting equally, and I realised that he is not as boring as I thought and can be quite fun. Even with Arjun, it's been great fun. I like promotions to be a fun thing you know. And so far, the best feedback has been that people have been trying to come with their own little theories and their own kahaanis of the trailer and they are all trying to figure it out. That is really exciting.
S- You do promotions before a film, but after a film, you never find out how the film did. But now, during the promotions, we are getting to find out what they thought of KAHAANI, which is really nice for me. It is the greatest feeling on earth, when people actually tell you what they thought of the film, as they never got a chance to say it before.
V- (To Sujoy) Kaandbe na, kaandbe na (It's okay, you don't have to cry).
So, are these expectations, this pressure more because of the success that KAHAANI was? Is it because somewhere there is a need to live up to the first film?
V- So, there was pressure, until about the trailer released, people kept wondering or asking “Is it gonna be as good?” But after the trailer, honestly, people have stopped asking questions. They know that it's a completely different story and they are trying to do their own Maths. That's taken a certain pressure off, and somewhere, they've bought into the plot of KAHAANI 2. So that way, it's like the first step has been achieved. But I have to tell you, even before the trailer, I was not nervous. He (Sujoy) was, and I guess he would be, because if it's my baby, he is that much more when it comes to calling it a creation.
S- Even when we started the film, I think one of the most pressurising points was to find the right story. But like we told people, we never set out to make the film that would be better than KAHAANI. We wanted to make a film which we believe in, a story which we really wanted to tell, and that was the basic intention. It was the same intention which we had for KAHAANI. KAHAANI was never made to create history, or some iconic character etc. It was just for making a film.
V- And also, if we didn't rid ourselves of the pressure before we started KAHAANI 2, we would have never been able to tell the story at all. If we had to constantly compare shots and everything, it would have been impossible. Because just as no two days are the same, these two films are definitely not the same.
But having said that, there will be a section of critics who will be comparing the two films, the characters, shots etc. Do you think that's fair or is it just inevitable?
V- It's completely natural. It's human tendency to compare, so that's okay. But we're very sure of what we've put out.
S- It's like a restaurant. Each restaurant has its own group of stalwart followers na, no matter how good or bad the food is.
V- Kya baat hai, what an analogy..waah. Kisi ko vada pao acha lagta hai, toh kisi ko biriyani. (Wow, what an analogy. If someone likes vada pao, someone likes biriyani.)
Why the wait. What took four years?
V- Why the weight? Why have you put on so much weight? (Laughs)
S- You saw how much I ate just now? No seriously, I don't know re. I think just trying to find the right story. And maybe the excitement...I had to find something that would excite us. And that just ended up taking four years.
Was Vidya always your first choice?
S- Yes, she was.
What was the first day of shoot like? Were you comfortable knowing that you were on familiar territory or were you nervous?
V- You know, Sujoy and I knew each other and we have worked before, so there was that comfort, but the rest of the unit was new. And we had shot for KAHAANI quite a few years back, and I was wondering whether we had changed or not, and we hadn't. I think it's good that there were new people because there was nothing that we could take for granted. We were on our toes throughout, and there was a lot of energy and though we missed the people who were on the previous film, nonetheless, I think it worked well. The madness in him and me is still the same.
What was it like, working with Arjun Rampal for the first time?
V- I enjoyed working with Arjun. He's so easy. He laughs a lot, very easily, and he's exactly like that on set. And I'm like that too, I like to get along with people on set, and I laugh a lot too, so finally I found someone who's exactly like me. And as an actor, he's wonderful. He's doing a variety of roles, and this will just add to that. And it was very interesting to see Arjun in this kind of a space. He gelled so beautifully, that it was great fun. He even talks as much as I do.
S- And if I want to put it on record, if Vidya didn't talk or laugh so much on set, we could have finished the movie earlier. (Both laugh). No seriously, Arjun is a tremendous actor, and even when we were looking to cast someone for his role, he was the first one who came to mind. And he has no airs about himself and he is a great person and a great actor.