For Siddharth Anand directing his childhood chum Ranbir Kapoor was an inevitability. Not only are their parents close friends, Ranbir and Siddharth grew up together. "We had no choice but to be friends," jokes Anand.
In fact, the two had made a pact that they would start their careers together. But then Siddharth got busy with his two back-to-back Saif starrers. "Ranbir and I are like brothers. I know him from the time he was born. I'm shocked by Ranbir's expertise in front of the camera. In my film he'll be completely different from the way he was in Saawariya. Ranbir is full tayyaar on the sets. Superb energy and a great dancer, "Anand exulted just before the crew left for a 50-day shoot of his Ranbir starrer Bachna Ae Haseenon all over Europe.
So how does it feel to be making his third romantic comedy? Anand corrects me. "Salaam Namaste was a romantic comedy. But Tara Rum Pum was a family drama. I never executed it as a romantic comedy...It didn't do as well. Probably my concept of poverty, not getting good food, didn't jell with the audience. That was my interpretation of poverty because I'm a foodie and not getting great food is the biggest deprivation for me. I need good food to keep me happy healthy and fat. Anyway, people have been catching up on it belatedly on the cable and DVD. I was happy the producers didn't lose money. Bachna Ae Haseenon is again a romantic comedy. I feel it stretches the genre." His film releases on 15 August. "I just saw my poster with the date and my hands went cold."
The director feels there's an instant connectivity with the audience through the title. "And it's not just because Rishi Uncle sang the words Bachna Ae Haseenon. Anyone who'll see my film will know it's the most apt title. However, Ranbir being in the film the title does acquire an added dimension."
Interestingly, Sid Anand decided to knock off one whole portion of the plot thereby knocking Katrina Kaif out of vision. "And only because it was getting too long. If we had kept Katrina's portion, Bachna Ae Haseenon would've been one of the longest films in the history of Hindi cinema….much beyond three hours."
Siddharth admits it wasn't easy breaking the news to Katrina. "Nobody had the heart to break the news to her. When she heard she was out, Katrina was really upset. But what to do? In fact, Katrina's track was one of our favourites. But she saw our point of view when she saw the film. The only reason we dropped her track was because it hadn't been shot. Otherwise she's the biggest star we've in our film. Katrina has had only one flop in her entire career. Dropping her track upset all of us."
Siddharth feels Yash Raj Films is like a second home for him. "I've been part of the banner for ten years. I started by assisting on Mujhse Dosti Karogi." He now plans to make a film for Sajid Nadiadwala.
"Stars", Siddharth admits, bring in the audience. "But I think a film like Taare Zameen Par would've worked even without Aamir. We've some supremely talented actors like Irrfan Khan and Kay Kay Menon. Hopefully, I'll be working with them soon." Provided Ranbir and Saif let him.