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'There was no intention to make a sequel of Pyaar Ke Side Effects'

Shaadi Ke Side Effects might be one of the films the audience is looking forward to the most this year, but filmmaker Saket Chaudhary says he never intended to make a sequel to Pyaar Ke Side Effects 

Eight years ago, when director Saket Chaudhary made his debut with Pyaar Ke Side Effects (PKSE), the Mallika Sherawat-Rahul Bose starrer wasn’t really expected to do box office wonders, but the movie turned out to be a surprise hit.

Saket Chaudhary is now penning a script for Saif Ali Khan’s production house Illuminati Films
Saket Chaudhary is now penning a script for Saif Ali Khan’s production house Illuminati Films

Things have changed now. Expectations are already high with Shaadi Ke Side Effects (SKSE), Chaudhary’s second film that’s set to release on February 28. While some of those expectations are to do with the film being a sequel to the debut hit film, most are to do with the lead jodi — Farhan Akhtar and Vidya Balan. Chaudhary, who has earlier scripted Ashoka, talks about directing two married people while he himself is unmarried and how making a sequel was never his intention.

Pyaar Ke Side Effects came out in 2006. Why did it take you eight years to bring out your second film?
There were a couple of scripts I was working on that didn’t pan out before I started to pen down SKSE and then, it took about a year or so to write this movie. After that research and casting took time. Finally, when the cast was finalised, they were busy finishing their respective projects. So one thing led to another and it just compounded into a long break.

Did you always intend to make a sequel to PKSE?
In fact, there was never an intention to make SKSE. It was just that after some of the scripts I was working on didn’t work out, this idea came to me and it felt like an interesting space to go into because most people don’t explore marriage, specially marriage after a child. I started writing it, and then, from a marketing point of view, it made sense to brand it like a sequel. But all that came in later. The initial idea was just to do a film on marriage and family.

With actors such as Farhan Akhtar, who just delivered the super-successful Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Vidya Balan, who is one of the top actresses of today, are you playing it safe?
Not really. When Farhan gave the green signal for the movie, the shooting for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag had not even completed. My reference point was Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara. There was all the potential and he was very popular but he still hadn’t become this established solo star. As for Vidya, as incredible as an actress she is, she is not a typical rom-com actress. I was playing safe by getting two really good actors, but it wasn’t safe in terms of commercial viability because of the casting.

You’re directing a movie on marriage and you are yourself unmarried. How was it directing two married people on the sets? Were there any revelations for you?
Some of it alters, while some of it gets confirmed. So what you get is a lot of feedback and connection. In that sense, it becomes interesting because the subject matter links to most people’s lives, and everybody has a take on it, even the ones who are not married on the sets. So there’s a lot of influence that comes in the script this way.

So after directing this movie, do you plan to get married?
I wanted to get married even before the movie. (laughs) I think we are trained for a lot of things in life, but somehow not trained for things like marriage or raising a family. It just seems like these are things that are supposed to come naturally to us, but that’s not true. Marriage and family are a lot of work. We’re making a romantic comedy so there is no grand idea to give a message but the idea is that people can maybe understand the dynamics of making marriage work. There are a lot of clichés circulating about how marriage works, and people end up becoming victims to the clichés. Hopefully, when they see the film, they will be able to create an interesting new dialogue with
their partners.

We heard that you’re working with Saif Ali Khan next?
I am working on a film with Illuminati Films which is Saif’s company but I don’t necessarily know if Saif will be in it or not. I’m still working on the script.

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