Before the year comes to an end, yet another debutant director tries to make his mark into Bollywood - Vivek Agrawal. As one talks to the man, the single most factor that makes him sound special is his passion towards not just directing the film but also being extremely well versed about the know-how of production aspects of a film. Ready with his I See You that comes on December 29th, Vivek has no nervous bouts whatsoever and is quite confident about the film making its mark.
Title of the film does sound really unique. How did you arrive at that?
There is a story behind that. We were in fact stuck for quite a while to find a title for the film since it comes with an unusual theme. Later, one of Arjun's friends suggested this title and we were on. [Chuckles] By the way, Arjun should be able to tell you more about how his friend came up with this idea.
So how has the response been to the film and its title so far?
The film is due for release on Dec 29th and the response has been very-very encouraging. People are responding to the title of the film also very positively which is good since the buzz for the film is pretty much on the upswing.
Well, before we get further down on the film, care to share your background?
As you know, this is my first film as a director. Before this I have worked on exactly two films as an assistant director - Moksha with Ashok Mehta and Kisna with Subhash Ghai. Apart from that, I have worked with Rakesh Mehra on number of advertisements.
Two films? That seems to be quite a jump on handling the megaphone yourself in quick time!
That's true, but then during the shoot of Moksha itself, there was a bond that developed between me and Arjun. Moreover Ashok Mehta has been my mentor throughout and everyone suggested that I should become an independent filmmaker soon. I have been working on the script of I See You for 4 years and after Kisna was wrapped up, Arjun told me that no way could I be continuing as an assistant. He shared his plans about producing a film and I was on board.
From films like Moksha and Kisna to I See You is quite a genre change.
Yes, it is a feel good romantic comedy and this is the kind of film that I want to make. In fact romantic films are my forte as well as my interest and this is why you would see me making only feel-good films.
But why restrict yourself to a genre?
Because this is what I like to watch and hence show to people! I love films which are romantic comedies or the kinds that are fun filled light hearted entertainers.
So I See You is plain fun or does it require you to bring a handkerchief for a tear or two as well?
The film moves you but that's the maximum it goes. It is not one sob story or something. You come in a theatre for those 2 hours, have some fun and go home with a smile!
Well, smiles are something which are definitely expected when the heroine of a film is invisible and the man is madly in love with her?
[Laughs] That's right. There are a lot of funny and romantic moments in the film that will keep you smiling throughout.
Arjun plays the twin role of an actor-producer in the film. How difficult or easy it is, especially when it is your first film?
Oh, it has been quite easy so far. In fact I can as well as term it as a roller coaster ride since we had fun all the way. Also Arjun's presence made life so easy on the sets that one didn't have to worry much than just concentrate on the shoot. That's the reason why we started off in May/June and now in 6 months flat are ready to release the film!
That is indeed quick!
True, and that's because so much went into planning the film. It was such an organized shoot to be a part of and that's the reason why we required just 36 days of actual shoot in London!
36 days? That's quite a quickie considering one hears 45-50 days shoot as relatively small.
Yup, 36 days it was even when most of the shooting was outdoors. There were songs and what not and still due to the team having done its homework well, it was a cakewalk. We knew each and every shot in advance and had our locations sorted out. Having Ashok Mehta with us the cameraman was an added advantage. Also, since I come with a strong production background while being associated with Rakesh Mehra, it turns out to be an added bonus. So while Arjun took charge of the entire production, our crew of 32 people went on with our job.
That's again surprisingly low number for crew members!
See, there is no point of taking along 100 odd crew members when something can be accomplished with a much lower number. We had all the planning done well in advance, the storyboard approach was taken for filming I See You and all shots were well taken care of. In the end, it was a matter of being in the city and canning the film.
Let's talk about Vipasha - your mystery girl. How did you come across her?
Let me be honest that I would have loved to cast a known face for the film. That was the plan, but then it all changed once I saw her photograph. There was something about her that made me decide there and then that she would be the invisible girl for the film. This was discussed with Arjun and Meher [Arjun's wife, also the film's producer] and Vipasha turned out to be our best bet for the girl's role.
But being invisible, how much screen space does she have?
[Says deadpan] The most!
[Laughs] Hey, she is there throughout and is on par with the kind of time that Arjun spends on screen. She is my leading lady and we had to make sure that she is seen.