Love stories that depict the hardships faced by young lovers of India and Pakistan have been told to death in Bollywood. Making a different movie on the same subject can be tough. Not for Ravi Sikander Anand, a 22-year-old from Patna.
For his first movie as director, Anand has chosen the same premise but given it a twist. His movie is titled ‘Rab Naa’.
“When most Indian realise that their close friend is from Pakistan, their relationship changes. It complicates matters when the two are in love. This movie is about that change in mentality and how it affects the two youngsters’ lives,” says Anand, who was born and brought up in Patna.
In the movie, the male lead, ‘Rab’, is a Patna-based lad who goes to Delhi to pursue engineering. There, he befriends and starts loving a girl, ‘Naa’, without knowing she is from Pakistan.
“Then, the 2008 Mumbai attacks, perpetrated by terrorists from Pakistan, take place. Having developed hatred towards Pakistan, Rab is anguished when he learns that Naa is from Pakistan. She reminds him of the terrorist attacks and he is unsure whether to accept her or leave her,” says Anand, adding, “Even Naa is upset that Rab puts her in the same league as terrorists.”
Anand shyly admits that the story is inspired, but not entirely based, on his own life as an engineering aspirant in Delhi.
“I met someone like Naa. We are not together anymore but what I am is because of her,” says Anand.
Although he developed an interest in writing at the tender age of 14 years, it took him eight full years before the movie became a reality. He says he completed the first script around six years back.
“The first script reflected my high thinking that I was the most intelligent person on Earth. I soon realised that I was not and rewrote the script. Then, I worked on others,” says Anand. He has now seven movie scripts in hand. He also founded his production house, 7AJ World Entertainment, and built a team to work with him behind the camera on his future movies.
“The auditions for movie characters began this year. Besides the lead pair, there are 70 important characters. I plan to hold national auditions in different cities till March. I began with Patna and selected two girls and three boys. After one more audition here, I would move to other cities,” he says.
The lead pair, says Anand, would be known Bollywood faces.
“Having established actors in lead role is important to attract people initially. Almost everyone else is a first-timer, who would be trained before shooting begins,” he says, adding, “I am offering a five-year, seven-movie contract to the newcomers to establish them in the industry,” he says.
Indian actress Raveena Tandon had launched the poster of the film last year.
“This was the first poster launch event of Raveena ji. I feel great that she considered my request to do so,” says Anand.
He said, “People have started noticing this young lad from Patna. It feels great.”
He also wrote the lyrics of the movie and is a co-producer.
“The movie is dedicated to my ‘Naa’,” says Anand, who doesn’t name the girl.