You have never sounded so gung ho about a film of yours?
And that's because I can never recreate the kind of ultimate confusion that you would see in the film. It is one of the funniest comedies that I have made and everything has fitted in just right. Yes, I am quite positive about its prospects; more so because we are targeting family audiences with De Dana Dan.
In that case, why a soaked Katrina in a rain dance? I don't remember the last time when we saw a rain love song in a film of yours. Did you ever feel that it was a compromise of sorts since otherwise your film is a complete laugh entertainer?
See, the whole intention of the movie is an entertainer so why not let all segments of audiences be happy? Let's admit it; Katrina is one of the most sensuous looking girls in the industry today. The idea is to exploit this factor but in a nice way. As long as something like shooting a rain song is done aesthetically, nothing looks vulgar.
But then there is always that thin line, right?
Yes, there is a thin line that crosses vulgarity, which makes it further interesting to shoot a song correctly. Moreover, I didn't really think much about the song making news in this way. The film is a laugh entertainer and there lies its core strength.
In fact I remember that at one point of time in your career, you were not too inclined towards incorporating 'item songs' in your films. Like in Hera Pheri, you led a tirade against producer Firoz Nadiadwala since he incorporated songs like 'Jab Bhi Koi Haseena' and 'Tun Tunak Tun' at the last minute.
And you would also remember that the songs were removed from the prints within few days itself. They never fitted into the narrative. See, most of the times, I don't push a song into the narrative for the sake of it. Even in Hera Pheri, the songs were added without my permission. I was upset with the decision and hadn't even shot them. I have always believed that all my songs have to be in flow of the film; only then can they be successful.
Coming to your choice of actors, for a movie which is entirely made of dozens of characters, didn't you feel that adding in a Katrina Kaif would be a distraction since audiences may start expecting a lot more of her as well?
No I didn't, because Katrina isn't there just for the sake of it. She is also playing an important element in the film, just as is the case with Akshay, Paresh, Suniel or so many other characters in the film. When you see the film, you would realise that every character misunderstands another character and is running around with an agenda of his own. Moreover, there is enough romance in the film as well which makes Katrina's presence important.
How about Akshay Kumar? At the end of the day, despite so many characters, isn't he the pivotal element in De Dana Dan?
Whether it is Bhagam Bhag or the original Hera Pheri, the most important person in the narrative is Akshay. And then other characters make it more and more hilarious. Also, without Akshay, we cannot afford to make a big film like De Dana Dan. But does roping him in and in turn making a big film suffice? Certainly not. We have to look at the script and can't really depend upon the star. Finally people have to watch the film and they will be merciless enough to reject it if the movie is not going as per their expectations. Yes, Akshay is a crowd puller but post that, it is the film in entirety that does the talking.
One wonders though if due to heavy weight presence of Akshay, Suniel, Paresh and Katrina, whether Neha Dhupia and Sameera Reddy would lose out...
You can't take them out of the narrative at all. It is because of characters like the one they enact that the entire confusion is created. In fact they enhance the confusion to great levels. When I look back, I feel that I have shot some of my best situations in De Dana Dan. You can't really predict the film. It's a complete comedy of poverty.
Comedy of poverty? Something that has been your strength over the years? I remember Malamaal Weekly, Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera, Hera Pheri, Billu, Hungama and many other films of yours having poverty as a central element.
That's true, because poverty is one element that is felt strongly by the masses. They can relate to it. In De Dana Dan too, we have got looserish characters like the ones played by Akshay and Suniel. Their girlfriends are super rich but these two men don't have a single penny of their own. Like any other looser, they have nothing to loose and due to this very comfort feel, they end up committing an innocent crime. They turn kidnappers.
Lastly, is De Dana Dan a remake?
Fortunately it is not (laughs). Just like the way one of my favourite films, Malamaal Weekly wasn't a remake. These things don't matter eventually. What finally matters is that people should enjoy the film and producer should make his money.
Priyadarshan is not known for going overtly gaga about his films. However, when it comes to De Dana Dan, he is taking a strong stand in support of the film. Extremely content with the way the film has shaped up, Priyarashan is also happy with the fact that De Dana Dan targets family audiences, is free of any double entendres and doesn't underestimate its audiences. With the film being a few hours away from release, Priyadarshan talks to us about the originality of De Dana Dan, his love for Akshay and of course the much-in-news rain dance featuring Katrina Kaif.