Filmmaker Shashank Khaitan has directed two films, BADRINATH KI DULHANIYA and HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIYA with Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt who were merely newcomers and now Shashank is excited for his upcoming Bollywood film DHADAK which stars Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter, reviews are pouring in huge numbers.
Shashank made sure that he does doesn’t complexly ape the Marathi blockbuster SAIRAT, and also spoke about how different he wants his film to be.
In conversation with Shashank as he speaks about working with newbies likes Janhvi and Ishaan as well as what makes him make only love stories and romantic films.
Excerpts from the interview!
How is DHADAK different than SAIRAAT?
SAIRAAT had a deep impact on me and I had watched that film with my mother. There was absolute silence when we were driving back post the screening. I called up Karan Johar the next day and told that I would like to make this film in Hindi. Karan and I watched the film again the next day and he was very clear that he would not be interested in producing the film if I would remake SAIRAAT. DHADAK is totally different than SAIRAAT. I have not played with the essence of SAIRAAT and have retained the fabric of the same. Having said that, I have made DHADAK with an honest and sincere approach with my take on the story. So, it is on the lines of SAIRAAT but with a different approach and take.
How do take comparisons between SAIRAT and DHADAK?
I am not worried about comparisons because it is inevitable. When I made BADRINATH KI DULHANIYA, it was compared to HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIYA. Every film is compared and if I make a war film tomorrow, it will get compared to BAAHUBALI. As a filmmaker and storyteller, I am concerned with the response of the audience. If the audience dislikes my film, it would make me feel worried much more than any comparisons. In fact, I was 120 per cent ready for any kind of comparisons from the day I decided to make DHADAK. I knew that the tracks from DHADAK would be compared to that of SAIRAT. So, I am absolutely ready for it.
How did the casting of Ishaan Khatter and Janhvi Kapoor happen?
We were in talks with Ishaan before Janhvi. We watched his few Instagram videos of Ishaan and loved his expressions. His talent is unquestionable. Janhvi came much later into the casting process. I made her perform few scenes from BADRINATH KI DULHANIYA. I found that she could work on her language and acting very well and she became an organic choice for the role.
Was it difficult to portray the lead characters in a different way than SAIRAAT?
I had watched SAIRAAT thrice and then stopped watching it. I instructed Janhvi and Ishaan to not watch the film. When actors watch good films and performances, they try to catch the little layers and try to imitate the expressions. I did not want that to happen. The entire set up in DHADAK is different because it is set in Udaipur (Rajasthan). So, the situations and the response mechanism has to be different than the way it was in SAIRAAT. Moreover, I connected with the story because I also hail from a small town and I have seen the rustic and raw side so to get that into my cinematography was easy for me.
Janhvi Kapoor lost her mother Sridevi and then within few days she was back on roll, how did the DHADAK team help him?
It was extremely unfortunate. The whole credit goes to her family because they were extremely supportive and strong. Janhvi resumed shooting for the film after around 13 days and was absolutely professional. Her family never asked us to adjust the shoot. Janhvi too was very accommodative and never asked for any shifting of scenes. Her family was really supportive.
Have you spoken to the director of SAIRAAT (Nagraj Manjule) for the adaptation of the film in Hindi?
The rights of the film were reserved with Zee. I haven’t met him though I would love to show him my film.
The film was wrapped up in a short span. Tell us something about it?
We finished and wrapped the shoot of the film in 44 days. I spent around six months on the pre-production of the film before we began to shoot for the film. I spent a good amount of time with my actors and we were very well equipped with the scenes and the schedule. Since I am working with newcomers, I wanted them to be well prepared and ready so that they could not waste time on the sets learning their lines. So, I invested a lot of love and effort in the pre-production of the film.
What next after DHADAK?
The next film which I am working on is called RANBHOOMI. It is in the research stage and requires a lot of VFX. Everything is on track right now and we are hoping that we could release the film in Diwali 2020. It is an ambitious film and requires a lot of research, planning, writing and effort.
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