How did the subject of Ugly Aur Pagli come up?
The concept is an age old syndrome of opposites attracting each other; we just took a realistic take on the same. Today's 21st century girl is more aggressive and dominating in a relationship. In most of the love stories, we see males leading the relationship with lots of mushiness, but in this, I have tried some thing that's really different and interesting. In this story, the girl dominates the relationship and we have removed the mushiness out of the love story.
You have directed television serials before. How was the transition from directing TV serials to directing a film?
Yes, I have directed few TV serials in the past and it is a huge transition for me from TV to films. I directed TV serial called 'Shanti' starring Mandira Bedi in its third year in 1997. Besides that, I have also shot several other serials. During the nascent stage, when I was working on serials, it was more about story telling but now it has become more gimmicky. So this transition was great and important for me at the same time.
How was it working with Ranvir, Mallika and others?
Ranvir and Mallika are simply mind blowing. They are very professional and natural actors. As this is a female dominated love story with a dash of aggressiveness to it, Ranvir was supposed to get slapped by Mallika almost 99 times through the film. I think no actor in this film industry would have done this role, which Ranvir did. On the sets, Ranvir and Mallika used to sit down and device different techniques of slapping. I was stunned to see Ranvir sitting with Mallika and teaching her how to slap. It was really funny to hear their conversation when Ranvir told her methods in which a slap would look real etc. They both helped each other really well and their improvisations only helped the scenes get even better. Apart from them we have some interesting cameos done by interesting characters.
We have seen promos with lot of cameos?
Well, Zeenat Amanji does the biggest cameo in the film, and I am really excited about that. I won't divulge much detail on this one but apart from her, there is a small but interesting cameo done by VJ Gaurav, VJ Vishal Malhotra and Manish Anand who play Ranvir's friends in the film. They all have small but very well etched roles introduced at crucial times.
PNC's previous film Pyaar Ke Side Effects was a huge success, then how come you selected Ranvir Shorey and not Rahul Bose since the female lead remains the same? How did you think of this unusual pairing?
Well, if you really see, then even Rahul Bose and Mallika Sherawat was an unusual pairing. It was Mr. Nandy's idea to get Ranvir; he was quite keen on casting him and moreover he just suited the bill. I think I couldn't have thought of any actor playing a lovable loser. And of course, this opposite pole chemistry always works.
Does the film starts from where PKSE ended, since the story line is quite similar and the producers are also the same. Was this a conscious effort or just a mere co-incidence?
No, there is no similarity between PKSE and Ugly Aur Pagli, there were no conscious efforts that were taken while penning down the story. The only similarity one will find between the two stories is of course Mallika and the fact that two drastically different people fall in love. In fact, in Pyaar Ke Side Effects, Rahul Bose was a kind of achiever, he had his own job, led his own life, but in Ugly Aur Pagli, Ranvir is a complete loser.
Were you involved in the styling of the cast because the styling is quite different from what we have seen Mallika and Ranvir in their previous films?
Yes. The styling has become a huge talking point of the film. Everyone is liking the look. I was involved in the styling of the cast; we had different styles in my mind which I worked upon but the credit goes to Rangita Nandy, the Producer of the film. Our idea was to basically give them a very casual look. We wanted the look to reflect the people on the road. We discussed with the ace designer Ashley Rebello and designed this wonderful look.
How was the atmosphere on the sets? Any memorable incidents that you would like to share?
The atmosphere on the sets was very friendly. But for me, it was a bit different. I was always a bit nervous and anxious on the sets since it was my first film. Due to the nervousness, I always used to keep bumping myself on something or the other on the sets. My entire cast used to pull my leg (especially Ranvir), but at the end of the day, it was total fun.
Mallika is known to be a bit reserved, so how was she on the sets with everyone? How was her interaction on the sets?
I don't know why people have tagged her as a very reserved person. I think she was pretty good on the sets, she gelled very well with everyone on the sets and above all, she is a thorough professional.
What kind of rapport did Mallika and Ranvir share with each other since their chemistry looks great in the promos?
I think they shared a brilliant rapport, they were too natural and trust me, the rapport and the chemistry which you see between both of them on screen is exactly how they were on the sets also! I remember while we were shooting, there was this scene where Ranvir was suppose to carry Mallika and walk across the road, while shooting for this scene, Mallika purposely used to distract him and do something or the other so that we would re-shoot and so that Ranvir had to carry her all the way again. It was really funny; we all pulled his leg and backed Mallika on this one. According to me, the chemistry between any two actors look good only when they understand each other and help each other in the scenes… and that was exactly the case here.