Director Vinod Pande, known for making films with sensual overtones like Sins and Red Swastik, is now trying his hand at comedy for the first time with Chaloo Movie. And he dismisses rumours that his film has been inspired by the hit Munnabhai series.
"Chaloo Movie draws no inspirations from the Munnabhai series except that it expects the same level of success. In fact, if people are saying that my movie is like the hit series, I'd take it as a compliment," Pande told IANS over telephone from Mumbai.
Set in Mumbai, the story of Chaloo Movie revolves around a spotboy (Rajpal Yadav) who accidentally ends up being a director, resulting in complete comic mayhem.
"It's not mindless slapstick comedy but it is more like British humour with a fresher appeal that will have an introspective look into society despite being a comedy.
"'Chaloo Movie is a hundred percent commercial film with the potential of even going to festivals. It's a full-blast comedy and will have something to say in each of its instalments," he said.
In his nearly three-decade-long career, Pande has mostly concentrated on man-woman relationships in movies like Red Swastik (2007), Sins (2005), Sach (1989), Ek Naya Rishta (1988), Star (1982), Yeh Nazdeekiyan (1982) and Ek Baar Phir (1980).
Asked if Chaloo Movie was an attempt to move away from his identity, he said: "I'm not trying to change any image. Even (Satyajit) Ray and (Shyam) Benegal have made not just serious cinema... they delved into the genre of comedy and that too with great success. It's just a filmmaker's choice to play with any genre."
"And it was my desire to make this movie since my first film Ek Baar Phir. Since all my films have been on man-woman relationships, somehow this movie was never made...," he said.
Produced by Big Pictures, the film stars Shekhar Suman, Rajpal Yadav, Sayali Bhagat and troubled-actor Shiney Ahuja in a special appearance. Pande also claimed the movie would be a mirror of the prevalent hypocrisy in society.
"The situations might be humorous, but it won't have a heavy dose of slapstick and it won't lack it either. There will be some very interesting instances in the film and it will say something to chew upon," added Pande, who is also president of the Indian Television and Film Directors' Association.
The director plans to churn out a series of films on the same topic with different settings.
"'Chaloo Movie' is basically a concept that reflects the 'chalooness' (cleverness) of Indian society in general. We are looking here at a series of films with the same ensemble cast reflecting the 'chalta hai' attitude of Indian society," he added.
"While the first film has a backdrop of the Indian film industry, other instalments will be on different segments of society like politics, sports, law, hospitality industry and medicine."
Pande's future projects include suspense-drama Din Ke Andhere Mein and he is also writing a book called Beyond Frontiers.