'Hawas' not a sleazy film: Karan Razdan

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
3/27/2004 12:00:00 AM
After years of struggle, scriptwriter Karan Razdan  has debuted as a director. But his film "Hawas" is being talked about for all the wrong reasons. 

The well-greased, unclothed figures of the three debutants in the promos for the film seem to indicate a sleazy time for the audience. But Razdan protests.

"My film isn't sleazy at all. It's a study of infidelity done in an original and tasteful way," Razdan told IANS.

"I've been associated with quality cinema for too long to resort to underhand ways of getting an audience. In fact, many people believe my first film 'Roshni' hasn't been released because of a lack of buyers' interest. Not so! It got stalled because the producers lost money with their previous film and couldn't release my film until all their earlier financial obligations were met."

The director says his leading lady Meghna Naidu who was first noticed in the music video of "Kaliyon ka chaman" has given a performance that would make audiences sit up.

"It's true I had never seen her act before. But she has done a couple of south Indian films earlier. She went beyond my expectations in 'Hawas'. This wasn't the first time I was working with newcomers. Even Bikram Saluja and Milind Sonam in 'Roshni' were relative newcomers."

Razdan attributes the film's provocative look to the film's marketing branch.

"Even the title, 'Hawas' (lust) wasn't my idea. Though I must say I didn't disapprove of it. See, a film with no stars featuring three newcomers in the lead has to be projected in a certain way to get the audience interested. Otherwise you've no audience.

"Let me give you the example of Shekhar Kapur with whom I've collaborated in the past. He made 'Bandit Queen', which for all its merits was projected provocatively. It clicked. But when the same Shekhar Kapur made 'The Four Feathers', it went unnoticed, though it was no less an achievement. Isn't there a lesson for all filmmakers there?

"We live in a competitive society and I needed to pitch my product at a place where it would be noticed. To that extent I think I've succeeded," says Razdan.

So is "Hawas" a hot film? "As hot as a Hindi film can get... but not sleazy," says Razdan.

His next film, "Girlfriend", is being shot in Mauritius and is already creating ripples in the market for its tantalising theme.

The film deals with the taboo topic of lesbianism. It is about how a couple's love life is affected by the girl's over-possessive best friend.

Ashish Chowdhary, Razdan's leading man in "Girlfriend", jumps to his director's defence.

"I don't think Karan is capable of anything sleazy. I'm proud to be doing 'Girlfriend'. It's turning out to be a truly sensitive study of human relationships.

"I love my confrontation scenes with the over-possessive girlfriend, Amrita Arora. She even tries her kickboxing on me to intimidate me," chuckles Chowdhary.