Spontaneity and a whiff of romance

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  • Published 26.07.04

“Give me a minute,” says Kabir Sadanand, as he clicks his laptop shut. Sporting a bright red T-shirt and khaki three-quarters, the young man with hazel brown eyes looks familiar even at first sight. Thanks to his ubiquitous presence on the small screen — Shagun on Star Plus, Kabhi Biwi Kabhi Jasoos and Family No 1 on Sony, Kagaar on SABe, Kahaan se Kahaan Tak on Zee TV and, most recently, Shri Bimal Mitra’s Sahib Biwi Gulam on Sahara Manoranjan are just some of the soaps that bear his stamp — he is a regular in the drawing room.

The actor has now turned director. On his “15th visit to Calcutta in four months”, Sadanand is shooting another clutch of episodes of Sahib Biwi… And he wants to make a film on the life of a taxi driver here. “This guy zips around town thinking he is Michael Schumacher. The other day, I had to stop the cab after 10 minutes and walk the rest of the way,” he recalls.

But for now, he is focused on his “happy film”, Popcorn Khao Mast Ho Jao, produced by Pritish Nandy Communications. “Doesn’t the name stick in your mind?” he asks about the movie’s intriguing title. “My friends had called me mad when I suggested it.” So out he had marched on the Lokhandwala streets and quizzed 10 people at random about the title’s recall potential and came back with votes of confidence.

This element of interactivity is there in much of what Sadanand does. The casting of Popcorn …, for instance. “Every time an actor fails a screen test, he starts doubting his own abilities. It may just be that he has the talent but and the director was looking for something else,” reasons the man who was in Mumbai Matinee, Chameli and Charas.

So, in place of the customary screen test, Sadanand held workshops for aspirants. “I had told them that we should together decide who would fit the role best.” That is how Akshay Kapoor and Rashmi Nigam became part of the film. Tanishaa he had spotted at an awards ceremony: “She was sitting with sister Kajol and as I watched her, a bubbly, spirited girl suddenly turned quiet and pensive. I knew she was a natural.”

Spontaneity in both actress and director paid off during shooting. “One evening, I was resting on the beach at Madh Island between shots. It suddenly struck me that I had to capture Tanishaa against the setting sun. I shouted out, asking her to rush down. And there we were, running into the waves, my leading lady without make-up, my cameraman with camera, lens and filter chosen in five seconds, and me spurring them on. Tanishaa’s sari, meant for the next shot, got wet but I got my best shots,” says Sadanand, who believes teenage romance is back where it belongs — on the big screen.