Your last film 'Jism' with Bipasha Basu was an erotic thriller and so is your next film 'Nasha' with Poonam Pandey...
It's just a lovely co-incidence. I worked on two films after 'Jism', one was comedy and other was a rom-com. But unfortunately, they didn't get released. Then this project came in my lap and it's just a coincidence that this too is an erotic thriller.
Ten years is quite a long sabbatical.
It was completely a planned sabbatical. I wanted to take time off and figure out my interests. I just don't want to make a film for the heck of it. I got onto writing a script and I wrote a screenplay called 'Tina Ki Chaabi' which I went on to make. That film is a comedy and it's finished about two years back. But unfortunately, it's still awaiting release. So I've spent my last ten years well, researching and upgrading myself.
How was your experience working with a debutante like Poonam Pandey?
It was lovely. I was very apprehensive and really scared in the beginning. But through all the rehearsals that we were doing, with each passing day I was getting more and more confident of her abilities to pull this off. It's not an easy character to pull off and towards the end of the two weeks rehearsals stint, I was very sure that she is going to do a very good job, which she has done.
We’ve seen several actresses coming and leaving without any significant mark in the industry. Do you think Poonam Pandey is the next big thing and that she is here to stay?
I think so. I am not too sure, but I think this film is carrying enough buzz and it's promising to make Poonam stay and have an extended stay.
We've seen Poonam Pandey posing nude for the posters of the film, although strategically covered. Are there any nude scenes in the film?
Errm (laughs). Unfortunately not! There are scenes, some love-making sequences, but no, she does not make it in them.
Any awkward moments while shooting erotic scenes...
The only awkward moment I can recollect now is a love-making scene between Poonam and Shivam Patil - the lead actor. He was so nervous, I was laughing my guts out. Poonam should be the one who should be nervous and here he was nervous. He's very young and he was not knowing how to get over that initial nervousness. But when he did, he just did it!
How easy or difficult is it to shoot erotic scenes?
Very difficult. Stripped of all the excitement which people seem to feel after those scenes are shot, they are very mechanical and unless you are making it fun for your actors, they are painful. And to get them aesthetically right is another challenge. They look very easy but they are very tough to shoot.
Shilpa Shukla's 'B A Pass' which is releasing next week also seems to be an erotic thriller. How does 'Nasha' have an edge over it?
I really don't know what to say to that. They're looking similar in terms of genre. My film is more about the innocence of an 18-year-old boy discovering love. He falls in love and discovers what it means to fall in love. It's about sexual exploration from a very different point of view as against the other film that you are talking about which looks a little more in the face.
What are your thoughts about the latest 100-crore benchmark?
It's a benchmark I want my film to be associated with. I think every filmmaker should be aiming for it, why not?
Would you work with Poonam Pandey again?
Of course. There's no film in the pipeline yet, but if an opportunity comes by, why not? It was lovely working with her right now and I would love to work with her again.
Do you think the Indian audience is ready for more films like these?
Yes. I think the stage was set for it after 'Jism' and I think we've just taken that thought forward.
Would you want to work with any of the Khans of the industry?
Not really. I don't even know whom I want to work with. It's only after I finalise the script and know the requirement of the script is when I get into the casting bit. Before that the only thing that is important is the script. So I would definitely like to lay my hands on 2-3 kickass scripts.
Five hottest actresses in Bollywood, according to you are...
They are all very hot! Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Poonam Pandey. Poonam comes first!
After 'Nasha', what's next?
A couple of projects in the offing but I can't disclose them right now. But yes, 'Nasha 2' also has been planned, I believe. May or may not be with Poonam. The casting's still open and it's also an erotic thriller!