All About Love
In today’s world an individual generally has a hard time finding a partner. With concepts such as friends with benefits and casual hook ups booming in the movies instead of marriage, the movie Loveshhuda has a different story line. Lead pair of Loveshhuda – Girish Kumar, Navneet Kaur Dhillon, and director Vaibhav Misra speak about their film toTeam Box Office India.
Box Office India (BOI): How did the journey of Loveshhuda begin for each one of you?
Vaibhav Misra (VM): It all started about two years ago, when I met Vijay Galani through a friend. I had this young love story which I wanted to direct and he loved the idea. He was looking for a script as he too wanted to make a film which was fresh and featured newcomers. He introduced me to Girish (Kumar), who had done only one film than and was therefore a fresh face. I realised he would be great for the film as he brings in a certain innocence on-screen. When I narrated the script to Girish, he loved it too. That’s how it started. Then I met Navneet (Kaur Dhillon) and she too loved the script. I realised that she fit the character perfectly. Her character’s name is Pooja and she is today’s girl, independent, bold and frank. Navneet is like that in real life too. That’s how we went into production.
Girish Kumar (GK): I don’t think I am all that innocent. I might come across like that but…
VM: Yes, that is why I said ‘innocence on screen’. The reality is something else! (Laughs)
Navneet Kaur Dhillon (NKD): Well, I think when Vaibhav narrated the script to me, I could already see it like a film. I could see myself as Pooja and immediately connected with her. I told him I wanted to do this film but, in all honesty, one of the key reasons I signed the film was the way he narrated it as it assured me that he was a very good director.
GK: To add to what Navneet just said… narrating a script is one of the toughest things a director has to do. Some directors write really well but struggle at the narration stage. But when Vaibhav was narrating the script to me, he barely glanced at the laptop in front of him and was taking pointers only from the story. The story was very clear in his mind. As a director, it is a very important skill to possess. It is during the narration that you can actually see a director’s vision and how he wants to treat the film. This just does not come through on paper.
NKD: He was very clear about what he wanted to shoot and what he wanted to show.
VM: Thank you, guys.
BOI: Girish, your father is a producer and you’re an industry kid. When you signed the film, did you consider the commercial viability of the project?
GK: I think that is innate. Eventually, we all want to have successful films and commercial success is a bigger part of it. Coming from a producer’s background, I respect that someone is willing to invest that kind of energy, effort and money in me. As an actor, I want for everyone to benefit from my work. So, yes, commercial viability does matter to me but I feel that nothing supersedes the fact that a good script can make or break a film.
VM: But then, again, a good script needs to be commercially viable. That was something all of us were mindful of. We have tried to make a balanced film, and one that is also commercially viable.
BOI: Girish, your debut film, Ramaiya Vastavaiya, had Prabhudheva as its director and Shruti Haasan as your co-star. What made you choose two newcomers for your second release?
GK: (Laughs) Actually, even our DoP is a newcomer. But these guys are veterans in the ad world, so you can’t really call them ‘newcomers’ per se. In all honesty, it’s not as if I want to work only with big directors. I have always believed in good scripts. That being said, I was fortunate to have Prabhu sir direct me in my first film. It was just how things fell into place back then. I waited for about a year and a half for a good script and finally when it came, with Vaibhav and Vijay Galani, it simply fell into place. I just had to do this film as I loved the script.
BOI: Tell us about the film, especially the title, Loveshhuda.
VM: ‘Loveshhuda’ means ‘love struck’ and our film is a love story. The film is actually about two people who are eternally in love. In fact, when they first meet in the film, we wanted to project the feeling that they are in love already but just didn’t know it yet. Hence the title Loveshhuda. As far as the story goes, we have tried to depict youngsters who are carefree, frank and practical. I wanted to pair this attitude with falling in love, so that there is a conflict between being practical and truly falling in love. That is what the film is about. If you have watched the trailer, you will see that the characters have their own journey and there is a lot more to unravel, which happens only when you watch the film.
BOI: Navneet, we have seen many Miss India winners turning to Bollywood, and you must have been offered many films. What made you sign this one as your debut film?
NKD: Yes, I got a couple of offers for Telugu films and I have done a Punjabi film, which is releasing in March and is produced by Tips. So, yes, there were offers and, before this film, I was working with Rajkumar Santoshi on a film for about eight months. Then this film happened, and when I met Vaibhav and he narrated the script to me, I told Raj sir that I didn’t know when our film would happen and I would love to work with him but that I had heard this film (Loveshhuda) and really wanted to do it as the script was good and youthful. Basically, I very easily connected with it as can anyone who is young at heart. I think even my parents would connect to it!
BOI: What happened to the film you were doing with Rajkumar Santoshi?
NKD: Well, that is not happening for now but I would love to work with him. Let’s see if he wants to work with me in future. He is an institution and a great director.
BOI: Being a youth-centric film, what is your marketing strategy?
VM: We are trying to reach out to a lot of colleges but strategy-wise…
GK: (Cuts in) I think we have tried to target the audience aged between 18 and 35 or people who feel that they are young at heart. We have pushed hard on the digital media. We have also been very active on YouTube. Collectively, with all the videos we have put through, the teaser and the trailer, we have achieved 10 million views. So we focused very deliberately on the digital media, whether Facebook, YouTube and what not. We are also doing the regular TV campaign, which is going very strong at the moment. We have not left any stone unturned. Loveshhuda is everywhere.
BOI: What kind of response did you receive once the promo released and you launched the music, after all the songs had released?
NKD: I am not from the industry. I come from an Army background and all my friends and relatives who have heard the music say that the film’s strength is its music. As soon as my friends watched the teaser, they were, like, ‘Oh, my God! What is this? What next?’ So the response has been very good for both the teaser and the songs.
GK: Yes, the songs are definitely our strength and the response has been very interesting. I think we are creating enough of intrigue around the film. We would like to do a lot more and hope that it really works but, so far, that’s the plan and the response has been decent.
BOI: The film is primarily a love story but there is a hint of comedy too. How difficult is it to do that genre?
GK: Well, for me, I come from a Prabhudheva film and everyone is familiar with the kind of entertaining films he makes. So, actually, it was relatively easy for me. I like to believe I have a decent sense of humour. Besides, all you have to do is enjoy the moment while doing the scene and things will flow naturally, I guess.
BOI: Were there any impromptu changes while shooting?
VM: Yes, we keep doing that …
GK: I think what was nice with Vaibhav was that he gave me and Navneet freedom and, although there was a set pattern and lines, he wasn’t very rigid about how to convey them. He was open to letting us decide how we could approach it.
NKD: Basically, he was open to discussion and we could tell him ‘this is how we look at it’. Every person has a different perspective to one single scene, and we could always discuss it and arrive at a mutually acceptable decision.
VM: That’s something I really believe in; it has to be slightly organic. The script is definitely the guide book but you always have to leave some room for improvisation. I think that’s how we approached the comic scenes as they have to be spontaneous. When you improvise comic scenes on the sets, it looks fresher. You know what you have to say but you still choose to forget the lines and say what fits there. So the lines are more or less the same, only better.
GK: (Cuts in) It makes the scene look very real. It brings you completely into the present. Hussain Dalal, who has written the dialogue, has done a fabulous job. He has kept it very ‘today’ and has also looked ahead because even as we shoot the film, it will release only a year later. He kept that in mind, the language is fresh and that’s what gives it a new element.
BOI: Vaibhav, you come from an ad background, where you have just 30 seconds or even 60 seconds, to tell a story. What was it like shooting a feature film?
VM: I have been doing ad films for a very long time but I have also assisted in feature films so I knew how it worked. What is most important is emotions and that is something a director needs to capture on camera. Just like ads, I was storyboarding the film also but I realised that it had to be a little more organic. That’s the main difference between films and ads.
BOI: Girish, you were launched by your father, so everything was planned, and you even had Prabhudheva and Shruti Haasan for your first film. Your second film released after two years. Was it a deliberate decision to work outside your home banner?
GK: Yes, that was one of the major reasons I took so much time, because I wanted to work outside Tips as I believe that creates independence.