It must be a special feeling to see your first film hit the theatres…
I am very, very nervous but I am also very excited. The joy as well as the anxiety of seeing your first film hit the theatres is unparalleled. The first time never comes back and so I’m just going to savour it as much as I can.
How did Mere Dad Ki Maruti happen?
While I was assisting Imtiaz Ali on Rockstar, I wanted to make my own film. The script came to me from Nupur Asthana who had just finished directing a film (Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge) for Yash Raj (Films). She recommended me to them and when I read the script, I found it to be very funny and quirky. I read it again the next morning and still found it as funny. And so I went ahead and said, “Yeah.”
What can you tell us about the film?
It’s a slice-of-life film with lots of humour. It deals with a situation that could happen to any youngster… being given a certain responsibility by a parent and making a royal mess of it! We all have done that, haven’t we?
And the script seemed best-suited for newcomers?
The script had a certain requirement in terms of casting as well as budget. I knew that the film needed newcomers and anyway my budget was such that I couldn’t hope for a Shahid (Kapoor) or an Anupam Kher! But since the script was so fresh, I knew that I had to cast faces that would be as fresh, which is what I think we have achieved. Both Saqib (Saleem) and Rhea (Chakraborty) are naturals and Ram Kapoor, of course, brings something special to all his roles, in films or on TV.
How much confidence does Yash Raj Films backing your first film give you?
The producer is always important and Ashish Patil (who heads Y Films, Yash Raj’s subsidiary production arm that introduces fresh talent) has really respected my vision as far as Mere Dad Ki Maruti is concerned. It’s a dream come true for any first-time director that the producer is consistently on the same page.
How has assisting Imtiaz Ali, Shimit Amin and Anurag Basu shaped your vision as a director?
Frankly, that is actually a process that comes later on in life, but for me, my biggest path to direction was the education that my parents provided me in terms of my schooling here and then my university education abroad. The experiences that I have had in life have shaped me as a filmmaker. The cementing of your ideologies and your focus in life happens in your early days and I would like to believe that Shimit Amin chose me out of so many others as his assistant director because he saw that vision in me. And working with Shimit in Chak De! India, Anurag Basu in Kites and Imtiaz Ali in Rockstar has only enhanced that vision.
Are you worried that your film will have to jostle for space this Friday with Arshad Warsi’s Jolly LLB and Neil Nitin Mukesh’s 3G?
Am not, because if a film is well made it will run, no matter what. I believe that there is space for even five films on a single Friday. Jolly LLB is a comedy and so is my film and I feel that both films have the potential to do well.
If you had to hard-sell your film to a viewer, what would you say?
(Laughs) This is like an MBA question! Well, I’ll tell them that Mere Dad Ki Maruti is the best film of the lot and that they should go and watch it first!