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Interview : Vikas Bahl

'I want Salman Khan to feel proud about me'

With QUEEN director Vikas Bahl has earned the stamp of excellence as a director. B'Town aces and audiences have taken a major shine to Kangana Ranaut and Bahl's second venture. Ajit Ramachanddran gets a few facts...

The heat is on. Inside his belly, that is. Pangs of hunger are driving him nuts! To compound matters further, the aroma of Punjabi food is filtering into the collective nostrils of everyone present within the confines of the Phantom Production office in suburban Mumbai.

Director Vikas Bahl is thick in the midst of doling out inter-phews to the media. And soon it's your turn to quiz the QUEEN maker.

''Do you mind if I eat even as we chat,'' he demands to know. And although, the food did show up, Bahl decided to control the rumblings in his stomach and complete the chatathon. Presenting excerpts from a conversation with the super-hungry director....

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Salman Khan was instrumental in your debut CHILLAR PARTY getting a good release. Has Salman Khan seen QUEEN?
I'll plead with Salman Khan to see. I want him to see it and give me his feedback. And whether it's Salman Khan or Salim Uncle who gave me the Filmfare Award or Sohail Khan, I'd like them to see the film. And I want them to feel proud about the fact that the man that they backed three years back was worth it. I want to impress all of them. I hope Salman Khan likes the films that I do and continues to produce them. It would be like a dream come true.

QUEEN was conceived with Kangana Ranaut in mind. What made you think of her specifically for this role?
One key reason was that I needed a girl who understands this girl as much or hopefully, better than I do. I know that Kangana is not this girl, at all, but she has grown up with girls like this. For me it was very important that the girl does not end up being a caricature. Kangana's lived in Manali, Chandigarh, Delhi and Mumbai, and she has grown up to become what she has become. I think that Kangana has seen these girls in her life. Only if you've grown up with these girls, you would be able to put them on cinema in the way it should be put. If you're not familiar with them, chances are that what will come across on screen will be a caricature image of these girls. And that is something that I was very sure that I did not want to do.

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What was your take once you narrated QUEEN to Kangana and started rehearsing with her?
Kangana fitted the bill perfectly, but it was also a chance that I was taking...till I met Kangana and narrated the character to her. When I started rehearsing with her, I realised that it was completely the correct decision to cast her. I think that Kangana's fabulous from the first moment itself and from that moment itself, she is in character. It's not as if her physical character changes in the film. It's an emotional journey. You'll enjoy Kangana play that character because she got hold of the character in its totality.

Your film was shown at an international film fest too. What's the best compliment that you received from the foreign media?

The best compliment that I received was at Korea. The media there said that it could well be the story of a girl from Korea. That's when I realized that QUEEN has a very universal story and that the empathy factor in the film is very high.

'QUEEN has a universal story and the empathy factor is very high.'

Kangana's styling is superbly apt and that has contributed a lot to fleshing out Rani perfectly on screen...

Kangana's styling is the result of Kangana, Rushi and Manoshi, the designers and my efforts. We wanted the styling to be very real so that the girl does not end up being a caricature. We went through many rounds before we finalised it all. The character had to be a girl who's fun to watch, but was not a caricature. It was a matter of the hair, body language, costumes and the manner of speaking too. It had to be a person that one would like to create on screen and

How Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, who are both able directors themselves contributed to QUEEN?

Anurag Kashyap loved the rushes and he was sure that he wanted to edit the film and that's why he's officially the editor of QUEEN. Vikramaditya Motwane is like my guiding light. We were working in Paris with a very tight crew of about 20-25 members and it was Vikramaditya who came to Paris and helped me out. As they're both directors, they gave me inputs and then we took it up from there. But after they did that, they trusted me and allowed me to take it forward and gave me full freedom.
- By Ajit Ramachanddran, Glamsham Editorial

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