Vijay Raaz is all set to make his directorial debut in Bollywood with Kya Dilli Kya Lahore
. The film focusses on the sensitive issue of partition and the human tragedy thereafter.
Written by Manu Rishi and Aseem Arora, Kya Dilli Kya Lahore is being presented by Gulzar.
In a candid chat with Hindustan Times, actors Vijay Raaz
and Manu Rishi talk about the film, their expectations, involvement of Gulzar and more. When did you decide that you will venture into direction?Vijay:
I did not decide as such. When I saw the script, I was overawed by the story. After I started working on it, I was so involved and had so many improvisations and suggestions that Karan Arora (the producer) suggested I should direct it as well. So, there was no conscious decision for direction.Vijay:
No, the subject compelled me to take it up. Also, I do not see direction as a very different role from that of an actor. What worked in my favour was the fact that I was directing myself and there are a very few characters in the story. I am not in the league of directors and I do not intend to be one, I am an actor. Several films have been made on the Indo-Pak issue. What's new about Kya Dilli Kya Lahore?
Partition is one subject that is extremely sensitive. This movie makes no political statement; instead it focusses on the human emotions involved. This is a film that was made with few people and a small budget. Itne chote daayre me reh ke ye film bahut badi baat kehti hai. Partition ke bhaari isssue ko bade prem se pahuchane ki koshish hai
. Aur jo gaaliya dete hain India Pakistan ke naam pe, un galiyon ko gaaliyaan di hain humne is film mein.Did you do any research for the film and your roles?
There is no research for suffering. These are characters and emotions that we have felt. Manu:
We simply cut, copied, pasted all our experience with people who were there at the time of partition.
Was there some point during the shoot when it was a tough fight?Vijay:
Finalising the climax was a struggle. How should the movie end, what should be the characters' evolution? Zeroing on all that was tough. Was the release of Kya Dilli Kya Lahore release timed intentionally when no big production houses are releasing their movies?
If we say it was not deliberate, we would be lying. Of course, with small budget films, there are things like getting theatres and creating a buzz which is not possible with big movies releasing on the same day. Vijay:
That aside (what Manu said), I believe sea (the film market) can have both big and small fish at the same time. There will be competition, but we should not run from that. How did Gulzar come aboard?
With the first line of the film, Kunal said he will go ahead with it only if Gulzar wants to be associated with it. Vijay:
Gulzar instantly liked the idea and told us to go ahead and make the film. He said he will only see it as a final product. And once we completed it, the subject and the film were enough to convince him. He is not a person who can be convinced by any individual, only good work does the job.
Also, this is a subject he has been talking about for long. Perhaps, in the same way as he has wanted to.
Is there an actor or director you want to work with?Vijay:
I enjoy myself. No matter whom I am working with, it is me acting. So I do not have a choice. Manu:
I have seen cinema as a fan and obviously have favourites. I would love to work with Rajkumar Hirani. I want to work with Subhash Kapoor and Dibajkar Banerjee again. Vijay is my favourite actor, I want to work with him again.
Vijay Raaz in a still from Kya Dilli Kya Lahore.