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Balkrishanan speaks about his debut film Cheeni Kum

A South Indian, who dropped out of Masters in Computer Application and accidentally ventured into advertising. After reinventing hoards of brands through his writings for ad film, Balkrishanan (or Balki as he is called in his ad circle) is all set to put on the director's hat with his first Hindi film called Cheeni Kum starring none other than Amitabh Bachchan and Tabu.

Can you give us a brief account on what you have worked on before?
I am a writer. I used to work for Lintas and write ads. I have written ads for ICICI Britannia, LG etc. I haven't done any films so far. This is my first film and the first time I have taken a look through the camera.

Cheeni Kum has an unusual casting of Amitabh Bachchan and Tabu. How did you decide to pair them romantically?
I don't see it as an unusual casting. I thought it was the perfect thing and I wrote the story with the two in mind. I wanted to do a love story between two interesting people. And I didn't want it to be seen as 'hey how can this old man fall in love with this young person'. I wanted two characters that are slightly of different ages but not so different that the audience should not be taken for granted. I wanted the audience to believe that this can happen.

Is it a love story about an elderly man and a younger woman?

So do we see another Nishabd coming up?
Nishabd was a very serious film. My film's love story is a comedy. It's also got Paresh Rawal in it. It's a regular mainstream Bollywood film with a few touches to make it enjoyable.

But Ram Gopal Varma has gone on record to state that his Nishabd was inspired by your film ?
Well I don't quite agree with that. My film is not about an older man falling in love with a younger woman. My film is about two people falling in love and a relationship. They could be of any age, they so happened to be of different ages. They don't even remember their ages till the interval part of the film. It's a very light love story which people won't forget very easily.

But then Amitabh's pairing with Jiah Khan didn't go down very easily with audiences and Nishabd didn't meet with a very encouraging response. Doesn't that scare you considering the couple in your film too has an age difference?
First of all, I don't think I wrote the film much before Nishabd. I don't know about the audience but I personally enjoyed the film. The audience don't analyze the character as to how can Jiah Khan be paired with Amitabh. Audiences either enjoy a film or find a problem with it or they move on. They don't think too much in the theatre. I have attempted to make a very shallow film with no depth in it. It's a very light film.

Cheeni Kum is an unusual but interesting title. And the tagline of the film says 'A sugar free romance'. What do you intend to say by that?
It's a love story with less mush in it. It's kind of a sarcastic love story. Nobody says I love you to each other in the film. Amitabh's character has got less sugar in his life and is a rude kind of a guy. And that's why the tagline.

Would you say Cheeni Kum is a standard commercial film or kind of offbeat parallel cinema with the theme?

The film is as mainstream as it can get. 

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