Luv Ranjan’s 2011 film Pyaar Ka Punchnaama with a bunch of newcomers was a surprise hit. The writer-director managed to strike a chord, especially among the youth, with the film’s subject — right from the bonding between the boys to the chemistry between the three couples. His upcoming venture Akaash Vani starring Nushrat Bharucha and Kartik Tiwari (both of whom also featured in his debut flick) is a love story. The young filmmaker believes that you cast according to the script and not make the script suit a star...
Every new director steps into Bollywood with a wishlist. Who’s on your list?
I don’t have a wishlist. I feel you cast according to what you have written. If I am making a love story of 20 year olds, I need actors in that particular age group. For Pyaar Ka Punchnaama, I had six new faces and it worked. My logic is when you have support and time, why wait for someone who might not? When I was making Pyaar Ka Punchnaama, I did not know I would cast the same faces again. I did a photoshoot with Kartik and Nushrat and realised that they were best suited.
Does it mean that you will always work with newcomers the way certain filmmakers do?
It all depends on what I write. Tomorrow if my story demands an established name, I would approach a star. Directors should cast according to the script requirements and not only to enhance the project and add
Are you comfortable being a writer-director as well as a lyricist?
I am basically a writer-director but end up writing lyrics during the course of the music sessions. I have penned the lyrics for Akaash Vani too. I have not interfered in the music, that has been scored by Hitesh Sonik. I can’t do the music. I will be beaten up for it. (laughs)
Your second film also has the same producer. Is there a comfort factor?
Abhishek Pathak (the producer) is now a dear friend. It has more to do with understanding how each one thinks and reacts. We don’t end up fighting unnecesarily. No one is perfect in the world but a certain amount of familiarity helps.
Were you inspired by All India Radio (Akaashvani) for the title?
In the film one of the supporting actors mouths a line “Yeh Akaashvani hai” just like the great radio announcer Ameen Sayani would have said it. This is what inspired me to name the film as the story was about Akaash and Vani. And all the legendary love stories have been named after the lovers — like Romeo and Juliet, Heer Ranjha, Shirin Farhad, Laila Majnu. So I too decided to name it after the characters.
Nowadays there are more romcoms than love stories in Bollywood...
Yes that’s true. Also the family has gone missing. The story is only about him and her. And even when the family is there, they seem to always agree to what the youngsters are doing. But reality is still far from it. Love is not as simple as it is being made out to be. It is difficult. Like in Pyaar Ka Punchnaama, I have incorporated as many real characters in the film. The college is like the one I used to attend.
Why did you choose a winter backdrop in the film?
I needed to have a soft backdrop for the love story. The snow was ideal for it. Summer is equated with harshness, but snow adds to the love story.
Have you started writing another story?
I will wait for January 18 when Akaash Vani releases to begin work again. There are also plans to make a sequel to Pyaar Ka Punchnaama.