Debutant director Nikhil Advani of Karan Johar's Kal Ho Naa Ho speaks post-release on the responses he's been receiving about the film and other things. Excerpts...
"It's been a great response so far. I think what people have really liked is the new sensibility that's been projected with this genre of cinema. Kal Ho Naa Ho is a love story, which probably people have heard and seen many times before. The reason why this works is because of its treatment."
"Kal Ho Naa Ho largely shaped up in the post-production stages. I think we really polished it then. I wanted to treat the film with a certain amount of style, it had to look slick and so the various editing patterns we have used or the little nuances we have added to the screenplay is what makes the film so refreshing. I think people have appreciated that."
"What I feel is the best part about Kal Ho Naa is that every aspect of it has really been a team effort. For instance, I remember we were working on the background score and all of us just couldn't think ahead when Shankar Mahadevan just let out a wail 'Kantaben' for the character of Sulbha Arya who comes into the picture every time Shah Rukh and Saif are caught in compromising positions. That was it. We decided to retain that wail whenever she appeared on screen. I feel all the characters apart from the three principal ones were beautifully woven in, in the script by Karan. Karan's story is the essence of my film."
"I feel like a surrogate mother. I have only nurtured Karan's baby in my own individual style."
"Right from the time when it was decided that I would direct Kal Ho Naa Ho we both had discussed how I would be telling the story. I couldn't have gone for a straight narrative. It had to be hip, very today and something that would please the audience that would keep them involved. It had to surprise them."
"I think I have got my due and I just don't feel that all credit has gone to Karan. I always make sure my efforts are recognised and I'm basking in the reactions that I am getting for my film. No body can take away that from you."
"I wanted to make a thriller, a realistic one but I was advised against it so I guess that frustration which was there deep down within me came across in the work that I put in for Kal Ho Naa Ho."
"What I like about my three main characters - I think I envy Aman's (SRK) 'live for the moment' attitude. I am not like that at all. I am a planner. I just can't enjoy spontaneity; it has to be planned for me. As for Naina (Preity), I identify with the regimen she follows in her life. I'm like her, I pride on the fact that I'm an organised, everything-on-paper person; I'm not really into 'anything goes'. About Rohit (Saif), what I love is his carefree attitude. I think that makes him what he is."
"No, I don't think we shot the film in New York because it was just another way of luring the overseas audience. What I had planned was to shoot the film in NY from winter to spring. New York is cold, grey and dull during that period and I wanted Naina's character to be reflected in that weather. And then the film would have moved into springtime with Aman's entry which livens up not only Naina's dreary life but also makes the city look beautiful but that could not happen. We couldn't shoot as per schedule because of Shah Rukh Khan's back problem. We had to wait till he felt better but by that time New York was different so the film is from spring to summer. In any case, New York was the best bet as Karan's earlier two films haven't been shot there."
"I enjoy all kinds of cinema and I can't really be judgmental about any film to be good or bad simply because I know the hard work that goes into making one. And that's my wife's complaint against me; she often asks me why I don't find anything wrong in any film? So there's nothing like I identify with the Chopras' or Johars' style of filmmaking. In any case, what's wrong with their films? If they have made a success out of the genre of cinema they are known for, I'm only happy. Because I know they as filmmakers have a social responsibility to fulfill. When a man who earns say 10,000 a month and comes to the theatre with a family of five or six to a theatre, he's spending a considerable amount of money for his entertainment and if these films give him his money's worth then I think it's great."