Journalist-turned-director Sanjay Khanduri’s Kismet Love Paisa Dilli (KLPD), starring Vivek Oberoi and Mallika Sherawat, released this Friday. It took him over five years since his directorial debut Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local (ECKLL) to make another film. Khanduri reveals what took him so long, working with Mallika and more…
Why did you take such a long time to make your second film?
After the kind of appreciation my first film ECKLL received, it took me a while to look for the right subject. Then I had to find a producer who would trust me. Amit Chandrra liked the script and we started working on KLPD.
Your obsession of films set in one night continues…
The drama in ECKLL unfolded in one night and so does in KLPD. That’s what the script demanded. The film deals with other genres like romance and comedy too.
Is it a sequel to ECKLL?
It is sort of a sequel but I would want do a proper sequel some time later. It was a pleasure working with Abhay Deol but I could not repeat him in KLPD because he was not suitable for the role.
Was Mallika Sherawat your first choice?
Yes. I wanted a fresh pair and Vivek-Mallika fitted the bill. There is a certain curiosity attached to their chemistry. Mallika has a lot of potential but unfortunately no one has managed to exploit it as of now. I offered the movie to her when she was in the US. I emailed her a script and within 24 hours I received a positive reply. She plays a college girl and there is not a single smooch sequence. In fact, she has been hoping to get a makeover with this role. It was a character she always wanted to play.
Like in your previous film, are there any references from your life in KLPD?
There are a lot of incidents I have shared in this film which actually happened with me, as I have studied in New Delhi. The character of Lucky Duggal has to deal with some rough and tough Jats and Sardars like I did.
Was it a stunt to announce the release of your film along with another Vivek Oberoi-starrer Jayantabhai Ki Luv Story that eventually got pushed back?
We started our film first but both ended up choosing the same release date. Producer Kumar Taurani was kind enough to shift the date of his film. It was not a publicity stunt for sure.
Does your experience of being a reporter help you in filmmaking?
It does. In the film, one of the characters is a television reporter. I could imagine and capture all his minute mannerisms very well. It was a déjà vu situation.
What is your take on bold films being made today?
Audiences are entitled to see such movies. The government has decided a legal age and we are here to entertain. There is a huge market for such movies abroad and I feel there is no harm in doing such movies. I am fine with doing and watching sex comedies as long as they are made aesthetically.
How much did Subhash Ghai, who you have assisted, influence your style of direction?
I have learnt many things from him especially the art of capturing the locations and presenting them well. His movies always had grand locations. His characters were very nicely drafted and he has an amazing sense of screenplay which I have definitely tried to grasp.
Buzz is that you have an international offer?
I have been approached by an agency from Los Angeles. They are keen to put forward my scripts to some production houses. Mallika is helping me as she is familiar with the scene there. A talent agency is also in talks with me. However, it is too early to talk as I have not signed anything.