Pappu can direct, saala! Shakun Batra who has been an assistant director and a part-time actor, is durecting Dharma Productions' Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu. He clears the air about comparisons to Hollywood hit What Happens In Vegas and the unusual lead pair
How did you go from being an assistant director on Rock On!! and Jaane Tu � Ya Jaane Naa, to directing Kareena and Imran?
I decided to take a break from writing after Rock On!!. Once I finished writing the script (of Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu), I presented it to people and Karan came on board. I had known Imran from his Jaane Tu ... days and he was already interested in the project. And when we gave the script to Kareena, she liked it too. Everything fell into place. I have been fortunate. Few people get a chance to go from being an AD to director. I am very happy and determined to not waste the chance.
Since you have acted, as Pappu in 'Pappu can't dance saala,' and a cameo in Rock On!!, have you put your acting ambitions on hold?
I never wanted to be an actor. I was an assistant on these films and as it often happens, your director says: 'Do a small role for me.' We were shooting in Malaysia and Alibaug and running short of actors, so I jumped in. It was just for fun.
Is Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu inspired from What Happens In Vegas?
Karan is the most reputed producer in the country. I don't think he will shoot a remake without taking the official rights. He would not want to be associated with a cheap take-off. Our movie is completely different from What Happens... The trailers might make you find it similar, but it is not. In fact, I don't like that film at all. If I dig hard enough, I am sure I can find a draft of my script which dates back even before What Happens... which was released two years back. I had started writing the script in 2008 or 2009.
Are you going to play down the age difference between Imran and Kareena?
She is not 40 and he is not 20. The difference is that of a couple of years, which is common in today's time. I have dated girls who are three to five years older than me. It doesn't matter. And this is something I had always written into the script even before the casting. It is there because it felt right.
Was your original title Short Term Shaadi changed because the film will release around the time of Kareena's real-life wedding?
No! That's the funniest thing I have ever heard. We won't do something so ridiculous. I was never happy with the title and when we found the right title and got the rights, we immediately announced it.
The trailer of EMAET faced a problem with the censor board due to the words like 'sex' and 'bum'.
We want to abide by the censor board. We do not want to publicise our movie for wrong reasons. It is a very clean film. There are no abuses in the film at all. I see no problems with the words. 'Bum' is not a derogatory word. I don't know what else to call a bum. Maybe it did not work for the censors but we are quite certain that once the censors see the film, they will find it a clean film and it will have no problems.
Directors today are quite happy with an 'A' certificate because Delhi Belly and The Dirty Picture have done well.
The Dirty Picture and Delhi Belly rely on shock value. My film has no shock value and that is why I do not want an 'A' certificate.
EMAET is about an impulsive marriage in Las Vegas. Does that happen?
It is about marriage under the influence of alcohol. When we went to Vegas, we enquired and found that people do get married under the influence of alcohol. At least one or two couples do that every night.
Rate Kareena, Imran, Karan and yourself on impulsiveness on the scale of 1-10.
On impulsiveness, Kareena would be an eight, Imran would be a five and a half, Karan would be seven and I would give myself three.