Just three films old, but Subhash Kapoor is today a name to reckon with where quality films are concerned. Moreover, he is still the affable, approachable guy who I have known since SAY SALAAM INDIA released in 2007. Over the years, we have talked films and critiqued blockbusters in our private conversations.
With every film, Subhash has stamped his 'identity' and JOLLY LLB was just what the lawyer, oops… Doctor had ordered. With a few days left for the release of GUDDU RANGEELA, the hatke director with an eye for detail takes time out to talk about his early days, GR, his star cast, the actor who lavished the biggest compliment on him and the actor to watch out for…
I also met his lawyer in his chamber for an overview of his perception of Subhash. I'm talking about Boman Irani who played Advocate Rajpal in the critically acclaimed film. Though unwell, Boman was eager to give his views, with a special mention of Subhash's detailing of the atmosphere which became a character!
Martin D'Souza in a tete-a-tete with Subhash Kapoor
After JOLLY LLB a lot of expectation rests on your ability as a director. Does that scare you or motivate you?
There is no pressure when I work because of past projects. But yes, I will admit that one is aware of the expectation that people might have with JOLLY LLB or PHAS GAYE RE OBAMA but I don't let it bother me.
Your style of story-telling always has that zing, be it in SAY SALAAM INDIA or PHAS GAYE RE OBAMA. What is it that defines your style?
I will be the wrong person to define my style. I think critics like you perhaps are the right people to describe that. But I would like to believe that I try to tell real stories about real people and real spaces with a tinge of humor and satire. Ultimately, the purpose is to reach out to as many people as possible and a humoristic style of narrative certainly helps.
What is the best compliment you have received as a director, from whom?
'Your quality of writing and depth of subject matter is quite rare these days.' This came from Mr. Naseeruddin Shah [smiles].
What different can we expect in GUDDU RANGEELA?
GR is not a satire like Obama or Jolly but is laden with pots of humor and comedy and the narrative style is slightly more 'mainstream' with a correct dose of romance, drama, thrill, suspense and action.
You have AW, AS and AR. Is it a deliberate attempt at numerology or did it just happen? I'm talking about Arshad Warsi, Amit Sadh and Aditi Rao?
Ha ha ha ha ha… I don't believe in astrology. It's just that all three of them suited the part.
So is Arshad your lucky charm?
I have immense respect for Arshad as an actor. We enjoy working together and share a great rapport. We were lucky for each other in Jolly. I do hope we repeat it with GUDDU RANGEELA.
What are your expectations as a director from this film?
Like any other director, I expect people to like it and also see the growth in my work as a story-teller.
You are now a name to reckon with as far as quality directors are concerned. Has that opened your market now with production houses coming to you as opposed to say when SAY SALAAM INDIA released?
I am just three films old and have a long way to go but it's nice to know that there are producers/studios/actors willing to work with me. But the biggest high for me it is to be able to make the kind of films that one wants to make. Life is any day better than post SAY SALAAM INDIA days, though those times were a great learning experience.
It's good to see that you are giving talent an opportunity. I'm talking about Shriswara Dubey, who, according to me, is a fabulous actor. What's your impression of her as a performer?
I remember seeing Shriswara in D-DAY and liked her very much. She has a small but a very, very crucial part in GR. I had a great time working with her and I think she is very talented and it will be difficult for people not to recognize that.
I know it's unfair to compare, but which character in GR is the one to look out for?
Look out for Ronit Roy in GUDDU RANGEELA.
Boman Irani on Subhash Kapoor
What did you learn from Subhash whilst working on JOLLY LLB?
The research that Subhash did for Jolly could be unmatched simply because he was a journalist before. I was mighty impressed with his minute detailing.
The detailing of an atmosphere he created was not something that is seen in movies. His understanding of a subject was so thorough, that the atmosphere became a character of the film! It was unique. He brought drama alive in a courtroom like it is in India.
If he knows you are trying to do something, he will encourage it and that is a big thing. Sometimes directors can be stubborn and they lose out on what the artiste is trying to give them.
How would you rate his intensity, involvement and intelligence in his working style?
As a director, he has a wonderful duality. He knows what he wants, which is good, he also knows what you want and what you are striving to give him as an actor and he is receptive of that.