Pradeep Sarkar’s debut film, Parineeta, was set in the 1960s. The next one, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, flash backed to the ’80s. Lafangey Parindey, that opens on August 20, is about today’s biker boys who you see zipping through the city streets with dreams in their eyes.
“Earlier, films viewed them through our eyes. My film is from their eyes,” says the director, who having grown close to these cool dudes closely, describes them as “soft, shy, intelligent boys who want to fly like the birds”.
He points out that he is a forever young 50 year old who became one of them: “My son’s the same age and being around them, I became 18 too. I sang with them, danced with them, only I didn’t ride a bike.”How does a chikna (suave) SoBo boy, Neil Nitin Mukesh, fit into this world? "Neil is a No 1 lafanga (rogue) who can teach you a thing or two," laughs Dada, as he is fondly known. "After a couple of rehearsals, I was learning about One-Shot Nandu from him. He’s a biker too."
Like Neil, he insists, Deepika Padukone too is a perfect Pinky because she is a born winner. “Nothing will ever stop her. I’d done a few ads with her before and saw her as a glam girl. But when we started work on this movie, I was delighted to discover a new, carefree side to her. She’s one of the boys,” he says.
But isn’t Pinky blind? “She is,” he nods. “But as I discovered after meeting some blind people, the loss of sight sharpens their other senses. And half the time, you can’t tell that they don’t see you. Deepika internalised the blindness and before a take would often ask, ‘Dada, is the look right?’”
He recalls a scene in the film where the actress is required to hit Neil and his friends with a broom and then throw a pail of water on them. Deepika was doing the shot too politely despite Sarkar’s urgings, “Pinky, unhe maar ke bhagao (Pinky, beat them up and turn them out).”
Finally, exasperated, Sarkar picked up the broom himself and soundly whacked the boys.
As they stood, holding their bruised butts, the actress burst out laughing and in the next shot, she got the beating just right.
The boys are like wild birds in flight, Sarkar pronounces, and says that the title came to him in the third line of the first set of lyrics Swanand Kirke wrote for him.
And did Aditya Chopra allow him enough creative freedom? Buzz is that he reshot major parts of Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, resulting in the release being pushed forward.
“The film took its time because we had to shoot in different places, from Varanasi to Switzerland. Lafagey Parindey was filmed on sets and we kept to our schedule. As far as interference goes, I’m from the ad world and I like to have sounding boards around me. So whether it was Vinod Chopra or Adi, I welcome suggestions.” Touché!