Your film Dev D's promos have managed to create a lot of flutter. Could you tell us a little about the film besides the fact that it's a modern day interpretation of Devdas.
The film tries to explore 'Devdas'- the adjective which has become a part of our day-to-day lingo these days. It's a film about how today's youth look at love, relationships etc. Today everybody is looking for instant gratifications. It's the age of fast cars, fast money, and fast love. Dev D visualizes how Sarat Chandra would have written Devdas in today's times.
The posters of the film show Abhay Deol being credited for the Concept of the film. Could you tell us a little more on that?
Yes...Dev D is Abhay Deol's concept. Abhay was the trigger point to make me look at Devdas in another way. He told me a story about a guy who visits an LA strip club and at the end of the story said that "Guess what...that guy is Devdas". That triggered off a lot of ideas in my mind. I have always been accused of not being able to make a love story. This time I decided to make a love story which is real and identifiable.
How did the title Dev D come about?
The title Dev D just happened like that. We were clear that we didn't want to use Devdas and at the same time we refer to some people with abbreviations such as Dev.D and that's how we decided to stick to this title.
The earlier Devdas, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, released just 6 years back. Was there a need to remake a Devdas so early?
My film is not a remake of Devdas. There is just a minor similarity with Devdas It's a modern day story of today's youth and their take on love, relationships etc. One big flaw in the earlier Devdas which I noticed was that it was always about this one character Devdas. My film explains the point of view of Dev, Paro and Chanda. And it's been told musically which is how the songs fit it into the narrative. The songs are the state of mind of the various characters.
Coming to the cast, how did you zero in on Abhay Deol, Mahi Gill and Kalki for the three protagonists?
As I told you the film is Abhay's concept, so he was part of the project right since the beginning. Even Mahi for that matter came on board really early. We met her at a party and both Abhay and I decided that she is perfect for the role. As for the role of Chanda, we auditioned several girls for nearly 3 moths till we found Kalki. Chanda's is a very different and bold role.
Who plays the role of Chunni Babu?
Dibyendu Bhattacharya plays the role of Chunni. Chunni is the one who introduces Dev to Chanda. He is a pimp, a drug peddler, a notorious kind of a guy who hangs around in the dark alleys waiting for his latest prey.
The promos give a very eclectic feel...with the viewers not knowing what to expect....
That's a good thing (laughs). At least this time they are excited and don't know what to expect. With No Smoking, they were not excited and didn't know what to expect
The music of the film has created a rage especially 'Emosanal Atyachar'. Even the other songs seem like tunes which one has never heard before...could you tell us about the brief given to newcomer Amit Trivedi?
That's the whole idea. I wanted to convey the sound that today's youth is listening to. I chose Amit on the basis of his talent and just told him to be himself. I did not give him any specific brief. My only contribution to the music is the 2 words- 'Emosanal Atyachar'
A section of the media feels that the film is high in sexual content...Is it true?
I don't think so. The film does deal with sexuality but it shows less sex than any normal Hindi film. You won't find those pelvic thrusts and other such sexual innuendos which we see in numerous films
Have you taken references from the shocking DPS MMS scandal?
In the last few years there have been a lot of scandals and the DPS MMS is just one of them. The MMS scandal is just one aspect of the character's life. I just wanted to show what happens to someone when his/ her privacy is affected by such cheap, hidden cameras. The person who is at fault is not one who is committing the act but the people who are watching it and downloading it.
The previous Devdas had a tragic end. Have you tweaked the ending this time around?
I have tweaked the whole film (laughs). Only the starting point is the same.
Many a times, during the release of a film, there are various stories doing the rounds of a possible affair between the lead pair. This time things seem to be different and everyone is talking about your and Kalki's relationship.
I am seeing Kalki and that's all I would like to say
Ironical as it may sound, while making a film on Devdas, you seem to have found true love
(Laughs)...Yes...in a way.
Apart from Dev D, you also have Gulaal releasing soon. What's that film all about?
Gulaal is a film about student politics. It's about the kind of separatism that's going on in the country based on religion, language, caste etc. The film is a metaphor of what is happening in the whole country but it is set in a fictional town of Rajasthan. It's a very angry and powerful film. We finished shooting last year but for a while the film couldn't find any takers. Now its finally releasing next month and you will see the promos of Gulaal with Dev D
Post the debacle of No Smoking and Hanuman Returns, how important is the success of Dev D for you?
Finally, what else are you working on in terms of future projects?
After Dev D and Gulaal, I am working on Bombay Velvet, a thriller produced by Studio 18 and Doga with Sony Pictures. Doga stars Kunal Kapoor and is based on Raj Comics' popular Indian superhero- Doga.