This young bud is all about what's next, not what's now. In this same spirit, Dharma Productions and Karan Johar are always on the lookout for fresh, new talent that is 'on the verge'. Welcome Punit Malhotra. His debut film I Hate Luv Storys is on the verge of releasing this Friday and he is numb for the moment. What amazed me is the fact that he is a big fan of Sylvester Stallone and when questioned him on his best romantic film, he came up with Rocky from the few he mentioned. An observation only a scientist could've figured out, or perhaps, Punit himself. But that's what makes these young minds young. After talking to Punit, I realised that filmmaking isn't about old school and new school. But it's about how both come together to create a different school. That's what I Hate Luv Storys is all about: an amalgamation of love. Love of new ideologies, love of new strategies and love of making movies. Our man Malhotra has got all three. This correspondent talks to the debutant kid in direction about his debut film, debut nerves and debut delights. Unveiling Punit Malhotra and his love affair with movies. I Hate Luv Storys included.
It feels very bizarre at this point of time. I'm not nervous, I'm not ecstatic but I'm just kind of numb. I'm doing my work everyday and that's about it.
Yes, the film has its own effervescence. But I Hate Luv Storys isn't different from any other film. Just the way you look at it makes you feel that the film is about a youngster's take on love stories. It's the entire thing you've seen in all the love stories but when you come out after watching the film, you'll not feel the same. It's a new take on the same old love stories.
Rom-Com / Love Story
No matter how cliched I would sound, I'd call my debut film a romantic comedy. It's a mixture of both too. The film has its own humour but at the same time it has its own emotions also. It's not being too frivolous and then not taking love too seriously.
I don't think I'm too influenced by Karan or Manish in that respect. That's what they say as well. A lot of my work reflects what I've seen in my grown up years of Karan Johar films. Those kinds of films. I've seen Manish's world too. So there is bound to be some sort of reflection coming in my film too. But it's essentially my take on love stories. Not to forget, they have been my guiding force throughout.
Tweaking a love story
It was a conscious effort to be honest. I kind of wrote the film but didn't know where it was heading. I started writing a love story and when it started flowing, I was like; the direction I took was very irreverent. At the same time, it was very interesting too. In a way, IHLS is a little edgy. I am a first time director but to make a mockery of love requires guts. I hope all then boils down to the big Friday. Monday, my guts will have a new meaning and I'm going to have a lot of slack for it man, if the film doesn't work. I haven't tweaked IHLS. I've done it all in good humour.
Imran is the lover boy, in the larger picture and as far as the genre of the film is concerned. If you look at him in the term of his character, he doesn't believe in love. In Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, he was sweet. In IHLS, I've made him a bit 'harami' (laughs). He's not always correct in IHLS. But he can't run away from the lover boy image. For his few films not to have worked at the B.O., it's not Imran's fault. He isn't trying to set up an image of sorts. If IHLS work, then the directors would want to cast him as the quintessential lover boy of Bollywood. But that's not what he wants.
Sonam is simply outstanding. Her talent in IHLS is untapped yet. When she comes in front of the camera, she just lights up. I didn't expect her to be that way. IHLS is the real Sonam you see in reel life. I was very clear in my mind when it came to casting. I wanted Imran in the film but wasn't too sure about Sonam. That's when Manish told me I should cast her. When I met her, I wanted to slap myself because she was exactly the person I was looking for.
Punit Malhotra As you are saying that there is a generation gap between Karan and myself but he is a very open minded person and a lot of people don't know that about him. He is very receptive of new ideas and open to any kind of talk in regards to any kind of cinema. When you go to him, you need to know what you're going to talk to him about. He is a keen listener and not many know that.
IHLS is for the overseas audiences. It is. I'm not so sure yet though. But when people see the film, they'll totally get glued on to it and connect with it. Love happens to everyone, and opposites attract. But there are many who don't want to fall in love as they don't believe in it. IHLS has its songs, drama, emotions, etc. IHLS is catering to an urban audience, overseas audience and the people who are on the same page as all of us.
Favourite Love Story
In Hindi cinema, it has to be Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge. From Hollywood, it has to be Sleepless In Seattle, Love Story and Rocky. I am a big Slyvester Stallone fan. I have all his DVD's, right from Rambo to Rocky and more.