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Shivam Nair on his success do far

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Courtesy: IndiaFM
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Assembling a fresh and youthful cast of Abhay Deol and Soha Ali Khan is exactly what director Shivam Nair did. With a rocking soundtrack and promising promos Shivam has arrived. With a couple of Shemaroo films in his kitty, he is out to make a mark for himself.

Your film is on the verge of release. What are you feeling right now?
The film is looking good. It has been executed in the same way that the idea was conceived. We are waiting for the audience reaction, now.

Tell us something about the film...
The backdrop of the film is a marriage registration office. The protagonist (Abhay Deol) works as a witness there. One day, a small town girl (Soha Ali Khan) comes there. Her boyfriend has not turned up. She keeps waiting there and ultimately he does not come. The story between this witness and girl unfolds.

Why did you choose Abhay and Soha for the lead roles?
I have known Abhay personally for sometime now. The script has been written by Imtiaz Ali. When I read it, I realized that Abhay really suits the character. Abhay suggested that Soha would suit the role of the female protagonist. I met her personally and then finalized her.

How is Abhay as an actor?
He is very good. I don't know about other directors, but I have a particular equation with him. I understand how his mind works! He used to trust me completely as a director. I wanted his innocence in this character.

This is Soha's first solo film. How is she as an actress?
Soha is a very intelligent actress. She understands the script along with its intricate details. She also brings a lot of consistency in her performance. Before we started shooting, we did a ten day workshop. Thus the equation between the actors improved. She came to all the discussions with an open mind. The character is of a small town girl who comes to a big city. She understood the character so well that she depicted the eyes and body language, very well.

How was the chemistry between Abhay and Soha?
Soha and Abhay have known each other, prior to the film. So there was a certain level of comfort. Even the workshop really helped in forming good vibes between all the actors.

This film has been written by Imtiaz Ali who earlier directed Socha Na Tha. Was there any interference from his side?
Imtiaz has written the story and his younger brother Arif has written the dialogues. There was no interference from his part. We knew of each other through common friends. Both of us have come from the television industry. There were discussions on the script level. However, once I took on the project, I was given complete freedom.

The film also stars Shyan Munshi. He was recently involved in the Jessica Lal murder case. So do you think the controversy will be detrimental to the film?
I got to know Shayan just before the shooting began. Our working relationship has been very good. He's been good as a person. He is an actor who has performed well. I don't think the controversy will affect the film.

Tell us about the music of the film
Himesh has done the music and has done a great job. He heard the entire story and gave songs according to the situations. He did offer the music from his bank. But it didn't go with the film. So he created a lot of fresh music. I think people are liking the music. It even goes with the story of the film.

There was another controversy surrounding the film. Apparently, Soha and Abhay did not want to star alongside Himesh in the promotional music video.
A video featuring Himesh, Abhay and Soha was to be shot. I had spoken to them. The only problem was of dates. The last schedule was going on and we had to complete the shoot. And Himesh was available during that time. Somehow, it could not be worked out, together. It was necessary for me to shoot the video. Then people put two and two together and got five. It wasn't like the actors were not willing to shoot with Himesh. Nothing of that sort happened. If there was a problem, why would they be talking about the music so positively?

How was your whole experience of shooting? Were there funny incidents on the sets?
We were shooting on a terrace in front of the Jama Masjid. There is an actress, Kamini Khanna in the film who has a height problem. There was no way to get on the terrace. So we had put up a temporary ladder. She kept on saying that she does not want to come up. By then a big crowd had gathered. With a lot of difficulty, we managed to shoot one scene. She took more time to get down than to shoot the scene. It was amusing to watch her come down. She was crying like a baby! We all remember this incident.

Who are the other actors who will be seen in the film?
Apart from Abhay, Soha and Shayan, there is an actor called Shakeel Khan. He plays a character called Zulfi, who is Abhay's friend. I think he has performed very well. There is Kamini Khanna. Then there is Santosh D. Then there is Brij Kalra.

Tell the audience why they should go and watch the film.
It's an honest film with a lot of soul. We have made this film with a lot of passion and it has a lot of positivity. The cast and crew brought a lot of energy in the film. Of course, it's a simple love story. We have shot the film in a very realistic fashion. It's not like they are larger that life characters.

What next, after Ahista Ahista?
I have signed two of Shemaroo's films. That's at the scripting stage. Anurag Kashyup is writing a script. That film will start in November-December. There is another film based on the prison background. Anurag's film is a thriller. Even before this, Anurag had written two scripts for me. But they never got made. He had written a script called Informer. I had approached a lot of people for, but it never got made.



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