In Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Bandra office, it’s business as usual. The producer himself is surprisingly calm. You see none of the panic or last-minute running around that you expect ahead of a big Friday release.
Over the next hour or so, VVC, Rajkumar Hirani and Sharman Joshi chat exclusively with HT Café about their movie, Ferrari Ki Sawaari, its director Rajesh Mapuskar, Sharman’s first lead role and shooting three versions for the climax.
I’m not losing sleep over Ferrari
The last movie he produced went on to become India’s biggest commercial success (3 Idiots, 2009). But Chopra isn’t the sort who worries about box office records. “
Mujhe koi pressure nahi hai
(there’s no pressure on me). After you leave, I will sleep coolly for an hour,” says a very relaxed Chopra.
Rajkumar Hirani, the veteran director of films like the Munna Bhai series and 3 Idiots, however, has had a busy morning. He’s skipped lunch, thanks to a string of interviews, and is now filling up on dried fruits as we speak.
Is he nervous about Ferrari (he’s written dialogues for the film)? “Ferrari is already made, so I’m not losing sleep over it. It’s different when I’m writing or making a film — if the story isn’t coming through or I’m facing trouble while writing, then I’m sleepless.”
Raju was sold for a bottle of beer
Hirani took five to six months off to focus on writing dialogues for Rajesh Mapuskar’s (Hirani’s long-time assistant director) directorial debut. What did it take to convince Hirani to take up the job? “One bottle of beer.
Ye Raju ek beer ki bottle mein bik gaya
(Raju was sold for a bottle of beer),” says Chopra.
Hirani elaborates: “After Lage Raho (Munna Bhai, 2006), we were having beer, and I told him (Mapuskar) that whenever you make your first film, I will write the dialogues for you. Though I had forgotten, he remembered. Actually, Rajesh and I never shared a regular director-assistant relationship. We have a very friendly equation.”
I’ve always been mad
At this point, Sharman Joshi walks in. Ask if he has any nerves about his first big solo film, and he smiles: “I’m more excited to see what the audiences feel. That’s what I’m really looking forward to.”
He has every reason to, given that he went through around 50 auditions. “Vidya Balan went through almost a hundred auditions for Parineeta. Actors become characters while auditioning,” explains Chopra.
But why not a big star for the role? “People told me
ki ye paagal ho gaya hai
(he’s gone mad). Then I thought, I haven’t gone mad now. I have always been mad! I cast Sharman because he fit the role. Simple,” says Chopra.
The greatest compliment, Chopra says, came from his 10-year-old daughter. “She said, ‘I’m so happy you’ve cast him (Sharman) because when he laughs or cries, I feel the same.’”
Spotting the child actor at McDonalds
Chopra says of child actor Ritvik Sahore: “Sharman
se better hai
(he’s better than Sharman). I can’t tell you how lucky we are to have found him.” It seems Rohan Mapuskar, assistant to Rajesh, spotted him first at a McDonalds outlet.
Sharman adds, “He (Ritvik) had no real acting experience. So he brought in a lot of freshness.” Chopra explains, “When you cast a new actor, he doesn’t have a set style. With the big stars, you will find about 11 expressions they have been using them for the last 50 films.”
Is Ritvik’s resemblance to Sachin Tendulkar a coincidence? “Let’s put it this way — it was one of the things that we liked in him,” says Chopra.
Mediocrity annoys me
Ferrari Ki Sawaari brings back the team of Hirani, Sharman, Chopra and Boman Irani. “Very few people like me in the industry. So if I find someone who does, I don’t want to leave him,” says Chopra.
Does that have something to do with his reputation for having a temper (remember the famous “Shut up” incident at a press meet)? “Yes, I get angry. What annoys me is mediocrity (in writing, music or direction). I set very high standards for myself, my family and everyone around me.” The same logic applies to his films too.
“Why haven’t we made Munnabhai 3? It will easily sell for Rs 200 crore. Even if I make a s**t film, the first three days will be blockbuster. But we don’t want to make a mediocre film. In 30 years, we have done 10 films when we could have easily made a 100.”
Lastly, was the climax scene of Ferrari Ki Sawaari reshot? “It wasn’t reshot. We had three climaxes. There were three ways we could end the film. So we used one out of the three.”