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Get into conversation with Lovely Singh, director of Tusshar-Ayesha starrer Kya Love Story Hai, and he will speak up like a long lost friend. Not only is he affectionate but also very talented. From assisting Satish Kaushik in Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain, he has now embarked upon his independent Bollywood venture. Born in Banaras, brought up in Bombay... this Punjabi munda is here to stay!
Give us a background of yourself in terms of where you studied filmmaking or whom you assisted.
I was working with Satish Kaushik. My first film as an assistant director was Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain with Anil Kapoor and Kajol. From there, till Shaadi Se Pehle I have done all his films as his co-director. I have not done any filmmaking course. I just went upto Satish Kaushik and told him I wanted to join him as an assistant, because after Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja and Prem, he was not working on any films for a long time. So Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain was a film which we started again with.
So are you basically from Mumbai?
No, I was born in Varanasi (Banaras). But I did my schooling and college in Bombay. I was in St. Joseph High School in Juhu, and I studied commerce from Mithibai College.
This, being your first solo project, how has it been?
It has been a very good experience. I am definitely nervous and scared also. Even so, it has been a really good experience. My producer also gave me a lot of freedom to shoot the way I wanted. All my actors and the crew were really co-operative. So I am really happy.
What was your biggest challenge then?
When I was making this film, I was not thinking that it should be a super hit film. I just wanted to make a good film; so on a minimum level people should not say that it's a bad film. On a maximum level it can go up to any heights because that depends from individual to individual. But yes, on a minimum level people should not hate this film, because we have all made it from our heart. We all have worked hard on this.
Why did you decide to cast Tusshar Kapoor?
When I made the script, I thought that Tusshar really fits the bill and he was also approachable since I know him very well. I had worked with him in his first film Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai, so we have been friends since then. When I approached him with this script, he really liked it, so we took it on from there.
What about Ayesha Takia?
Ayesha Takia is very sincere. I really thought she was right for this role. She was there in this film Shaadi Se Pehle also, which I did with Satish Kaushik. I wanted a very young girl for my film now, because the character is young and studying in college. I thought Ayesha could pull off this campus-girl type of a role.
Tell us a bit about the story of Arjun and Kaajal?
After three-four days the teaser of my film is going to start. The story is about two guys and a girl. Now Kaajal has always dreamt of a particular guy in her life. Arjun is a good-for-nothing type of a guy; he is not ambitious or serious about his work. So when she actually comes to know him more and more, she realizes what she wanted in life was not right.
Who is this third person in the film, who gets engaged to Kaajal?
The actor's name is Karan Hukku. He has done a Pepsi commercial with Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. He has done a couple of ads here and there but this is his first feature film.
Your story talks about love at first sight and love triangle. So can we expect another usual Bollywood romantic flick?
There is nothing really different about the story; we have just tried to make a good film, a proper commercial film. But the approach is very different. The characters are very real, the performances are very real. But otherwise the story is nothing different because, at the end of the day, love stories can't be very different from one another. Only the characterization and approach towards the film has to be unique. And we have tried to achieve that, with the look of the film, the music of the film, and it is a very young film.
Has the movie entirely been shot in South Africa?
Yes, it has been shot entirely in South Africa... Cape Town.
How did you rope in Kareena Kapoor for an item number in the film?
I met her on the sets of Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai. Kareena is a very dear friend, and she always wanted to be a part of my project. Even I wanted her to be connected to my film in some way because she will definitely be helping the film then. The song has turned out to be really good, the audio. We are going to shoot it somewhere around the 12th of March. The song will be shot in Bombay itself.
Does she have a part in the film?
Kareena is not really in the film; she is just doing one song. But you cannot say that it is an item number because it's more like a promotional video.
What do you think about Pritam's music composition? And... your favourite track?
I think Pritam has done an excellent job. I like all the songs but there are some that I am really fond of. One is called Miss You Everyday, and then of course there is Kareena's track. Then there is one sad song Jeena Kya Tere Bina, which I like. There is a song which we have shot in a moving school bus. We have shot it in Cape Town. It has been shot very differently and I think nobody else has shot this kind of a song in Hindi films. It is an old school bus of the '40s-'50s and all the actors are wearing uniforms and sweaters. So it is set against the backdrop of South Africa. It is not at all Indian. So I think it's a very different song, and the music is also very '50's.
Can we expect more films from you in the near future?
Yes, let's see how this film goes, only then will I get more work! I am working out few other scripts, but then right now I am just full on into Kya Love Story Hai because the post-production is going on.
Lastly Lovely Singh is a lovely name. Is this your real name?
My real name is Rakesh Singh. But Lovely has been my pet-name, and everyone in the industry, all my friends know me by this name. Nobody calls me Rakesh. And another thing is that there are a lot of people by the name of Rakesh in Bollywood already. So I thought, at least people will remember this name. I know it is a very weird name, but then it stays in the mind! First I thought I should just keep it 'Lovely', but then people would wonder if it's a guy or a girl. So I decided to stick to Lovely Singh.