When Love Story 2050 tanked at the box office, not many in Bollywood were willing to put their money on Hurman Baweja. But Ashutosh Gowariker, who had already signed him on for What's Your Raashee?, continued to show his trust in the youngster.
"Even before the release of Love Story 2050, Sunita (Gowariker's wife and co-producer of What's Your Raashee?) and I did ask each other if the fate of Hurman's debut flick would make any difference to our decision? The answer was 'No'," Gowariker told IANS.
"Why just Love Story 2050, we were prepared even if Victory (Hurman's second film) wouldn't have worked," the filmmaker said.
Gowariker began shooting for the film even as things didn't look bright for Victory.
"It's unfortunate that Victory didn't work, but its success or failure was never going to make any difference to our venture," he added.
Support also came from Ronnie Screwvala, whose UTV Motion Pictures has co-produced the film with Ashutosh Gowariker Productions.
"Ronnie was always there behind the film and Hurman. He too strongly feels that even if a couple of movies didn't work for Hurman, he was always going to be someone who would go on to stay for a long time.
"Meanwhile, we commenced the shoot for What's Your Raashee? and never looked back," the director said.
With his latest film, Gowariker has moved from making historical Jodhaa Akbar, a period film like Lagaan, and a socially relevant film in Swades to something much lighter and contemporary.
The film also stars Priyanka Chopra, who plays the role of 12 girls who meet bride-hunting NRI Yogesh Patel (Hurman).
With two back-to-back flops, What's Your Raashee? is actually being looked as a sort of re-launch for Hurman. Did that put any extra burden on Gowariker and his team?
"See, I am like a horse who wears blinkers and stays on a path defined for him. Regardless of what happens on a Friday and regardless of what people have to say, Hurman as well as I had to just stay true to our path and follow a certain vision. I worked on him only as much as it was required to get the characterisation right...that's about it," he said.
Hurman's knowledge about cinema, courtesy his formal education on filmmaking from Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York, helped as well.
"That's right. I remember my early interaction with Hurman when his Love Story 2050 was yet to be released. I learnt that he had spent a lot of time studying cinema in New York. Being the son of an established filmmaker (Harry Baweja), he could have afforded to take it easy and dreamt of being an overnight star. Still, he did everything to earn the craft and be skilful," Gowariker said.
There were a couple of other things that impressed Gowariker enough to rope in Hurman as his leading man even after working with established actors like Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan.
"On seeing the rushes of Love Story 2050, I was immediately attracted to Hurman's innocence and endearing quality. Moreover, his passion and dedication for acting and performing showed. All of this contributed to me being completely convinced with the fact that he was just right for What's Your Raashee?. And once that decision was taken, I never ever lost confidence in him," he said.