Tum Mile is a love story set in the midst of the 2005 Mumbai floods, but director Kunal Deshmukh says the Emraan Hashmi-Soha Ali Khan starrer is in no way a tribute to the victims. It is rather an attempt to question the laxity of city authorities.
"Tum Mile is not a film with which we want to pay a tribute to the people who suffered the July 26 deluge. It's a love story about two people stuck in the deluge," Deshmukh told IANS in a telephonic interview from Mumbai.
He stressed that the film will not hurt the sentiments of those who were affected by the rains that shook the city in 2005.
"It (the film) is much more than a reality-based fictional film and I don't want to hurt the sentiments of anyone when they come to watch the film. The July 26 incident is very sad. It was a cloud burst and there was rain. But why did people die? With this film, I'd like to question the authorities why people died," the director asserted.
"When the 26/11 attacks happened, people got back to their lives the next day. But with the flood everything came to a standstill. We are trying to send a message out with the film," Deshmukh added.
Co-produced by Sony Music and Vishesh Films, Tum Mile is Deshmukh's second film after Jannat, which was a hit.
Talking about his own experience of the Mumbai floods, Deshmukh said: "Like all Mumbaikars even I was stuck in the torrid rains and that too for seven hours and it completely changed my perspective towards life. I wanted to express those feelings and a film was the right medium."
Recreating the deluge wasn't easy for the director.
"There were plenty of problems and I had to give out my best in a certain budget. We needed a studio floor bigger than usual studio floors with a waterproof ground. I was looking at something cheaper and I got it in Bhandup (close to Thane) with a concrete floor," he said.
"Then standing 12 hours in water every single day had its effects. We had to take a lot of precautions like Hepatitis B (shots). Still I suffered a very bad skin reaction and Emraan got a bad eye. Luckily there were no long-term health issues," he added.
Asked if he faced any star tantrums while shooting the flood scenes with Soha and Emraan, Deshmukh said: "There were no star tantrums and they were extremely supportive. Emraan was extremely supportive despite the fact that he had to be in cold water most of the time, while Soha was a bundle of energy."
Though the release date of the film has not yet been finalised due to the ongoing producer-multiplex deadlock, producers are hoping for a July 24 release.
"We are looking at a July 24 release only because the closer it comes to that day, people will be able to relate to it more. However, if the producer-multiplex strike is not called off, nothing can be said with surety. But I'd love to release it on July 24," Deshmukh said.