Had he not shared the “double-meaning, but decent jokes” of his film, the director, Shammi Chhabra, might have been spared the close questioning on the need for jokes with “double meaning” in films and the thin line between vulgarity and “naughty” humour.
In Chandigarh on Thursday to promote his upcoming Hindi film, Lucky Kabootar, which releases December 6, Chhabra was accompanied by the film’s star cast that includes Eijaz Khan and Shraddha Das.
“The film is based on Punjabi culture and has been shot in and around Chandigarh,” started off Chhabra, little knowing what lay in store. “It is a romantic comedy and a family entertainer. It’s a paisa-vasool film and I guarantee that you will have a good laugh when you go and watch it. The jokes have double meaning, but in a decent way. For instance, in one of the scenes, a lady, while bidding goodbye to her daughter at the time of doli, says to the groom’s family: ‘Yeh hamare ghar ki izzat hai.’ At this, one of the members replies: ‘Hum ghar jaate hi lut lenge’,” shared the director.
Unfortunately, the humour didn’t go down well with the media. On being asked the reason for including crass jokes, Chhabra defended himself, saying, “I don’t think these jokes are vulgar. If big film banners can have such content, it obviously means this is what the audience demands. These jokes haven’t been forced into the film, when you watch it, you will realise the situation demanded these.”
Hardly convinced, the actors are next taken into purview. “I think if you find something funny and no one is offended by it, it’s ok,” offered Eijaz, more popular for his roles in TV serials such as Kavyanjali and Punarvivah.
Eijaz has previously done Hindi films including Tanu Weds Manu and Zila Ghaziabad, but Lucky Kabootar is his first film in which he plays a male lead. The actor said he continues to dabble in theatre, TV and films, because “the glass ceiling has been broken. An actor should know how to act, be it in TV serials, films or in a play.”
Looking much leaner than he looks onscreen, Eijaz added that he likes to do films the most, as they gave him a chance to work on looking authentic in his role. Playing a “simple guy” in Lucky Kabootar, the actor said it is a film that is taken forward by the songs. Produced by Karan Raj Kanwar, the film also stars Kulraj Randhawa as Eijaz’s wife, Ravi Kissen as a “Punjab da Jatt” and Sanjay Mishra as a godman.
On being asked about Kulraj’s absence at the event, the director shrugged and said, “She had been informed,” and that she was the best person to answer why she couldn’t make it.
The film’s makers tout its Punjabi theme as its USP, with the director saying, “Punjabi these days is a universal language and Punjabi films are in vogue.” Eijaz, while regretting not having had the chance to wear a turban, donning which makes him feel “regal”, insisted that it is grey shades that he loves to play.
“I enjoy doing villainous roles, there is more scope in playing grey shade,” he reasoned. When not working, the actor enjoys spray painting T-shirts and gifting them to his friends and making graffiti.
“TV has a wider reach. I might host a show soon,” he signed off. Did we imagine a sigh of relief?