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"I can't handle big stars": Sagar Ballary

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Director Sagar Ballary has become hot overnight with the stupendous success of Bheja Fry. Now, the Sahara One Motion Pictures has commissioned him to make three films. The first in the line, Kaccha Limboo, a picaresque story of a goofy 13-year-old, has started. Now, he speaks about his personal life and much more. Here is an excerpt from the interview.

Did you expect Bheja Fry to be such a big hit? I didn't expect the film to be such a big hit though I knew that people will like it. I was of the view that if the film runs even for a week or two, it'll be great. The only plan on my mind was that if I make a good film, I will get a producer for my next film.

What do you think worked for the film?
If you present comedy in a new style, the audiences will definitely like it. Comedy is like a favorite dish. If you cook it properly with all the right ingredients, people will surely like it.

It is said that Bheja Fry is inspired from a French film. How much did you take from that film?
We took the concept of the character of "idiot" from the French film. We have also adapted the structure of the French film. But we changed all the characters and tried to give them an Indian flavor. We also added two songs in the film which the French film-maker would never do. Our production cost, however, was very low compared to the French film. At the core of it, we studied the structure and the spirit of the French film and tried to get it in this film. When you adapt a film, you should pay respect to the original by making the adaptation even better than the original.

Vinay Pathak, Ranveer Shorey and Rajat Kapoor were seen in MIXED DOUBLES, the film for which you were the associate director. Was it difficult to direct them in your first film?
It was very easy actually. Rajat Kapoor was the associate producer for this film. The producer [Sunil Doshi] once asked Rajat, "Will this boy be able to pull it off?" Rajat said he was extremely confident of my abilities. Ranveer had become a good friend. So, he said 'no matter what kind of role, just give it to me and I will do it'. Besides, I thought that the magic of the Ranveer-Vinay pair, which is famous on television, is not used in films yet, so I should recreate it in my film. Vinay Pathak is a fantastic actor and I was sure that he was going to play the lead role. I had seen Rajat and Vinay's combination on stage and I decided to get that in films. Milind Soman was present at the success party of MIXED DOUBLES. When Sunil Doshi announced the film on the occasion, Milind said that he would want to be part of the film.

For the role of Suman Rao, we wanted a fresh face and that's when Bhairavi came in. Sarika was a boon. In fact, Anurag Kashyap once said that he'd love to remake this [French] film. Then I informed him that I have already developed a screenplay on this. So he gave me some suggestions, one of which was to talk to Sarika for a role. She is back, looks stunning and was our favorite since school days. I met her; she tried to understand the concept of the film and finally agreed.
So, I had an unusual cast in hand and I knew that nothing could go wrong.

Bheja Fry is an unusual title. How did you come up with it?
There is a very interesting incident behind it. One fine day, the producer called me up and asked if I had registered a title for the film. I had two titles in mind - DING DONG BABY SING A SONG and DAVAT-E-KHAAS, but people didn't quite like it. I called up the co-writer Arpita Chatterjee to give me a title urgently. She was pregnant back then and got frustrated with my pestering. She just blurted, 'Don't Bheja Fry me now yaar'. Seconds later, she jumped saying this was the title [Bheja Fry]. She argued saying this man in the film Bheja Fries the other. I was not so sure about it, but Arpita said to have it as the working title. The producer also liked the title and it just caught on. Then I didn't change it.

You are also planning to direct Bheja Fry 2?
Not right now, but yes, the film is on cards and I will do it later. That "idiot" is a simple common man and this journey is going to move ahead.


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