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Old-fashioned about love

Nagesh Kukunoor revisits his early romances for his first on-screen love story, Mod

bollywood Updated: Aug 01, 2011 18:53 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

'Just how far will you go to save the one you love…’ Nagesh Kukunoor has borrowed the tagline of Dor for his next film, Mod. If Ayesha Takia’s restaurateur husband, Farhan Azmi, is not worried it’s because he knows that her ‘elder brother’ will never prod her to go ‘too far’ on screen with Roadies star Ranvijay.

Nagesh laughs, “Yes, Farhan’s comfortable with Ayesha working with me. She’s married now and can’t do the kind of films she did earlier. Her creative space is restricted, after Dor. But Mod is a role she can sink her teeth into.”

He had earlier thought of making the film with a younger lead pair but then didn’t want it perceived as a teenybopper love story: “Once I decided on mature actors, Ayesha was the choice.”

Mod takes Nagesh back to his first love: “In reel life, it happened when I saw Jacqueline Bisset in Jaws. In real life, in a Rockford-like situation when I broke a plastic heart full of confetti over my teacher’s head, my heart thudding with raw terror as I waited for her reaction. She looked up, smiled and I was gone!”

Mod, despite its tagline that’s open to misinterpretation, is an old-fashioned chivalrous romance, inspired by Keeping Watch, a Taiwanese film Nagesh saw at the Asian First Film Festival in Singapore. It takes Nagesh back to the small-budget, intense cinema that’s his forte. In between, he had turned commercial with films like Bombay To Bangkok and graduated to bigger stars and budgets with films like Tasveer and Aashayein but they didn’t work.

“No regrets,” he retorts. “I still want to make a lavish action thriller to challenge myself as a filmmaker. Tasveer was the big film I made on a script written years ago. And while my other movies were shot in 40 days, this took 60 because the production messed up on a 25-day schedule in Canada.”

He’d always said that he’d never make a regular love story, what made him change his mind? “Moments that remain with you forever, like driving through the mountains of Georgia… A gentle breeze blowing in through the open window, the setting sun hitting the windscreen and my hand on my girlfriend’s knee,” he sighs. “I remembered that moment when shooting Mod. I was scrambling to catch the sun before it went down and I don’t know how, but in two seconds I had the perfect shot. Ayesha and Ranvijay are looking in opposite directions yet you feel the magical connection between them.”

Nagesh has taken a break from his regular composers, Salim-Suleiman to try out Tapas Relia. He insists there’s been no fall-out with his ‘brothers’ after a seven-movie association: “But I couldn’t keep taking advantage of Salim- Suleiman’s friendship, and make them slash their price for every film of mine. So I stepped out of my comfort zone to discover talent.”