Actor-director Prabhudeva, the man behind Ramaiya Vastavaiya, and leading man Girish Kumar were in town on Friday to promote the romance that hits screens on July 19. t2 caught up for a quick chat.
Ramaiya Vastavaiya is a remake of your (Prabhudeva’s) Telugu film Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana which in turn was a remake of Maine Pyar Kiya. Why tread the same path again, considering Maine Pyar Kiya is such a cult romance?
Prabhudeva: I believe that romance is eternal and that the same love story can be told multiple times and in different ways. Most of our love stories are about a rich girl and a poor boy or vice versa, but the way in which the drama unfolds is very different. Maine Pyar Kiya was a different film and so was Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana. Though the basic premise — that of a rich boy slogging it out to please the family of his middle-class girlfriend — is the same, Ramaiya Vastavaiya is a different film from the ones that have inspired it. In fact, Sooraj Barjatya sir (who directed Maine Pyar Kiya) liked Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana and wanted me to make it in Hindi.
Girish Kumar: I have watched Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana and of course Maine Pyar Kiya and believe us when we tell you that our film is going to be as fresh as these two films. You will find a lot that is novel in Ramaiya Vastavaiya. There will be some deja vu moments, but that is what will benefit the film keeping the nostalgia alive.
Why call it Ramaiya Vastavaiya?
Prabhudeva: Ramaiya Vastavaiya translates to ‘Ram, will you come?’ Since Girish’s character in the film is called Ram, we felt that it was an apt title. Of course, people associate Ramaiya Vastavaiya only with the song in the Raj Kapoor film (Shree 420), but it’s a title that we decided on after a lot of thought. Let me tell you that we had 52 titles in mind for the film!
Prabhu, did you have to sign Girish for the lead role because his father Kumar Taurani is producing the film?
Prabhudeva: Not at all! (Laughs) One thing I was very clear about with the Tauranis was that Girish wasn’t going to be treated like the producer’s son. On my sets, he was a newcomer, a struggler. I made sure that he gave an audition and I made him walk, dance and do a couple of scenes before I was sure that he was suitable for the role. Then only I signed him on.
Girish, was Prabhu a hard taskmaster?
Girish: He had always made it clear that I wasn’t going to have it easy just because my dad was the producer. But he was the rockstar of our set, taking care of every department and yet taking out the time to guide a newcomer like me.
Prabhu, you have struck gold in Bollywood with masala entertainers like Wanted and Rowdy Rathore. Was trying your hand at romance deliberate?
Prabhudeva: Not really. I have always made romantic films down south, but just because Wanted and Rowdy Rathore became such huge hits, people here have started associating me with big stars and masala films only. I like making romantic films because they have a larger audience.
The film has quite a few stunts. Which was the most difficult to execute and shoot?
Prabhudeva: I think Girish’s introduction scene which we shot in the middle of the sea with him surfing. We mostly have heroes coming in on bikes or swanky cars, but I wanted something different. It was a tough shot to film, but Girish did extremely well and I think that scene has really come out well.
Girish: It was one of the most difficult scenes in the film for me, but since I swim well, I managed to get it right in a few takes.
Girish, how was it sharing screen space with Shruti Haasan?
Girish: Shruti is an absolute sweetheart and a thorough professional. Though this is my first film, she never had those ‘I am senior’ airs about her (smiles). We hit it off well.
Prabhudeva and you have also danced together in a song from the film…
Girish: My god, when I was told that I would have to dance with Prabhu sir, meri hawa tight ho gayi thi! I don’t know how I managed it but I sure am glad that the song is over and done with!
How would you sell Ramaiya Vastavaiya to the audience?
Prabhudeva: It’s a simple love story told with a lot of feeling. Anyone who is in love or has ever been in love will like the film.
Girish: It’s young, fun and fresh. It’s everything two hours of feel-good cinema should be.
Will you watch Ramaiya Vastavaiya?