So after the success of Ishqiya, has Arshad also become a '5 crore ka hero'?
(Laughs) I hope so. Woh alag baat hai ki koyi de nahi raha hai! On a serious note though, I never ask for an amount like that. Having said that, as per insiders and trade calculations, I do deserve this amount. Let's see, perhaps success of Hum Tum Aur Ghost would further firm up these calculations.
In fact for a first ever film of a newly turned producer; Hum Tum Aur Ghost does appear to be an expensive film.
Yeah, for someone like me in the film, it is actually quite expensive (smiles). Still, I do feel that there is a minimum amount that should be spent on the making of a film. I have done that and a little more in fact. All said and done, my actors are very happy. They are very proud of the film. See, the fact is that I don't cut cost and when people would watch the film, they would understand that we have actually spent good money. Perhaps someone else in my place may not have spent so much but then the requirement of the film was that we did not hold back on expenses. (Laughs) This is why I keep telling everyone that I am a terrible businessman and a very good producer.
Well, the promos do have a certain quality feel to them.
I knew that they would fetch a very good response the moment final edit was ready. There were two stages in which audience reaction had to be gauged. Once when the song promos were out and two when the talkie portions started playing. When you air the songs, audience basically get an idea on how much you have spent on the film. In addition, it's the newness and the freshness factor that is conveyed. However, the tougher part is to actually trigger an enhanced curiosity level in the audience; they should be interested enough to step into theatres and that can be made possible only if your talkie promos are cut well. Thankfully, the response has been very positive there and people are commenting that Hum Tum Aur Ghost is appearing as a 'mast' film.
Still Arshad, don't you feel that the promotion could have been a little more aggressive and on the face?
See, promos and publicity material is not in my hand; it is in the control of Studio 18. The way they have planned it all, they feel it is proper and if they feel it is proper then I have to be okay with that. My liking or not liking the way film is pitched is not in my hands. For my next film though, I would like that to be in my hands. I do feel though that the promotion could have been a little more aggressive.
It was heard that you and director Kabir Kaushik differed on a few points during the making of the film. Did that lead to a lot of heartburn as well due to so much exchange of ideas and opinions?
Heartburn would be too harsh a word though the fact is that I couldn't let go if something was not going as per my vision. If anything like this happened then I used to explain to Kabeer the feeling of the film again. See the thing is that Kabeer ki sensibility aur hamaari film ki sensibility mein kaafi difference hain. He has made films like Seher and Chamku while Hum Tum Aur Ghost is in a When Harry Met Sally zone. Inn dono genres mein connection bahaut door ka hai!
So do you have any regrets?
Well, I took Kabeer for Hum Tum Aur Ghost because this script has some very dramatic scenes. There are some very delicate relationships in the film and people who have seen the film do comment that how could we actually think about these well crafted scenes. Ours is the kind of film which is very delicate and had to be shot well. If not, then that could have led to a disastrous situation. Now the matter of the fact is, and let me put this on record, that Kabeer is very good at handling such delicate scenes. On the other hand when it came to humour, there were Boman and me sitting there to ensure that things fell well in place. We wanted romance to be real and humour to be of the kind which is not conventional. I think that people would be able to see it the way I had envisioned it all.
While executing this vision of yours, weren't you ever worried that for a film with a title like Hum Tum Aur Ghost, audience may be left confused if it is a complete family entertainer or a horror film?
This is where the designing of posters and the font of your film's title comes into picture. This is something which is really required for effective marketing thing. Just this first look pretty much tells you what the film is all about. If only a different font would have been used, the same film could have looked liked a horror tale. However, I am positive that no one is thinking that this is a horror film because in all the interviews I have given and the press conferences that I have attended, only 2%-3% have thought that Hum Tum Aur Ghost could be a scary film. Arrey yaar, we have also got a U certificate for the film so doesn't it just say it all? Moreover, my image is such that people know yeh horror movie nahi banaega!