How did the movie happen?
That's a really interesting question! I think Uday and Jugal met me at some point and gave me the script to read. But I think it took about 4 months to happen, because I usually take a little time to know whether it is something I need to do or not for sure. The one thing I knew about PI was that it was just magic as a script. I started reading it thinking I might fall asleep because I was shooting for KAMINEY at that time, but when I started reading, I just could not put it down, and I was reading it till about 4am! That's when I knew there was something about it. And I was finally on! It's actually that simple!
Did Jugal read the script to you? If yes, how did he read it?
Jugal's known for his animation movies. I did not know that. I think the most animated thing that he actually does is saying 'acha'. And Jugal wasn't the one who narrated the film to me, it was Uday. And it was probably best, since he had written the film. During the narration Jugal was sitting right there. I thought, 'this Director doesn't talk at all. How is he going to ever tell me what to do?!' But once I got to know him, it went way beyond just 'acha'.
Would you like to share the story with us?
The story is about this guy called Abhay Sharma, and starts off in college. He absolutely loves this girl called Alisha Merchant. He is a little bit of geek. He loves his computer and academics whereas this girl is fun, spunky, spontaneous and the most popular girl in the college. They never speak; she doesn't even know he exists. And how one day after she gets out of school, he is heartbroken and then how about 6 – 7 years later, they meet again. She doesn't still know who he is, but this time they come back in each other's life all over again and get to know each other. It's a beautiful love story – so sensitively written yet so funny.
How is it working with Uday as a co star?
Uday brings out the madness in me. He is always feeding me. He calls for the best food, and I have a little bit of a weakness for food. He will call for all kinds of cuisines and then I overeat and keep becoming fatter. And he meanwhile will go to the gym and work out. But oh God!! We have had so many fun times on this film. Crazy things – like we never used to sleep. After pack up Jugal, Uday, Ahmed and me used to go to like 24 hour coffee shops, and stay awake till 6 in the morning and talk just about nothing and everything. We used to look at each other and just start laughing. Uday is the best Producer I have worked with. He spoils me silly. I told him, 'I don't think I will be able to work with anybody else'. He is lovely – as a Producer, as an actor and as a writer.
Tell us something about your character Alisha Merchant.
She is a girl who gets married when she was really young. She is a little bit of a mess in herself. When Abhay sees her, he sees her as a princess who is totally unachievable. She is always trying to please everyone – her friends, her boss, but with Abhay she doesn't have to, she can be just be herself. That's the most beautiful thing about their relationship.
Did you prepare for the role?
I just didn't. I just went in there and I had to be me and that just kind of worked.
Did you have a lot of look tests pre-shoot?
Yes we did a lot of readings and look tests , because I had to have short hair and I have never had short hair. I just wanted to do something dramatic with Alisha, as she is very stylish so we thought we go short. We had this look test for clothes but most with the hair. Also, for the clothes, Manish (Malhotra) wanted to make sure we got it right. She had to be all colors, and casual cheek.
Tell us something about your college look.
You know, you have this convention that while you are in college you have short hair and by the time you grow older you have long hair. But we just didn't want to go with that convention. So, while I was in college I kept long hair and by the time Alisha gets older she just chops her hair. That's how I thought she would do. The college look was a lot of fun but more spunkier. She is the kind of person who does what she wants. She loves water sports, roller-blading. She is a sporty, fun chick, but is girly at the same time.
How is Jugal Hansraj as a Director?
I think this 'overacting meter' is fitted somewhere inside of him. He is very particular about 'I think yeh thoda sa jyada ho gaya' (I think that was a bit too much). He is very clear about 'how much or how less'. He does it with so much grace and he is so chilled out! You never feel you are working and there is no pressure of 'let's hurry up and all.' I never felt like I was working on a film.
The Director of Photography (DoP), Santosh Thundiyil, has worked in PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE. It looks like a light-hearted film, what do you want to say about it?
Well, I enjoy working with Santosh Sir. We have a great working relationship with each other. I have worked with him before on a few earlier films. He just shows his diversity as a DoP in PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE. This film looks completely different from the ones we did together. It's got freshness to it. The colors are enhanced. Everyone looks great. I think he could do it because is he always in a good mood. We were always making fun of him because of his accent and he was always making fun of ours. It was just done in great spirit.
What about your choreographer, Ahmed Khan?
Well I have known Ahmed for a long time now. He has outdone himself in this film. He is very intelligent. He never lets go of the story. He never lets go of the emotional crux of the moment for the sake of style. He has kept his choreography simple because it's a simple story.