Akarsh Khurana on Karwaan promotions: Seems very strange we are doing it without Irrfan Khan
In an exclusive interaction with mid-day online, Karwaan director gets candid with mid-day online about the film and its versatile star cast - Irrfan Khan, Mithila Palkar and Dulquer Salmaan
Director Akarsh Khurana, who is geared up with his directorial debut Karwaan with exceptional talented starcast – Irrfan Khan, Mithila Palkar and Dulquer Salmaan (Malayalam film industry's superstar)is very excited with the way the film has shaped up. The writer-cum-director feels that road-trip has become another sub-genre in films. Giving some more insights into the film, Khurana speaks to mid-day online about directing the two stalwarts – Irrfan and Dulquer in the same frame and many other such aspects. Karwaan hits the screen on August 3, 2018.
How has the responses been for the trailer, songs by those who have watched the film?
Nobody from outside the cast and crew has yet watched the film. We had a couple of focussed groups' screening and the response has been very positive. We are very encouraged by the response to the trailer and the music. I hope that translates into people going and watching the film.
There are quite a few road trip films, and Irrfan sir was in one, Piku. So, did you face any challenge of keeping it different and engaging with the same character?
It's a very different script. There's nothing very similar in terms of ….Road trips have now become like a sub-genre and of course, people will find certain similar tropes. I think that the success of a script lies in the spin that you can put on it. I also wrote TVF Tripling – again that was a road trip but the special thing about it was that it was siblings. Similarly, in Karwaan, the situations and the reason that they go on a road trip is such a bizzare kind of situation where there's a dead body that has to be delivered and picked up. So, that's the spin on it. The uniqueness kind of adds colour to this journey. There will be similar structures in terms of the flow in films like this but the difference will lie in the fact that there is a spin on it.
Was the film always written keeping this star-cast in mind?
The characters were always there from the beginning. We had no idea about the casting. The casting only happened after Preeti Gupta, Ronnie Screwvala decided to make it together and came on board as producers. There were no pre-conceived notions.
It is one of a kind casting coup? Was it easy to convince Dulquer to do this Bollywood film?
The script did all the work. We went for a narration to Irrfan, he liked it and said yes immediately. Then we went to Dulquer, he too liked the script and took a week to get back to us, and Mithila went through an audition process. I knew Mithila and she gave an audition quite early but we wanted to be sure that we've got the right person. Our casting directors, they nearly auditioned around 30-35 girls for about two months and Mithila was among the best.
There was a special screening in London for Irrfan Khan. So, what was his response after watching the film?
He watched the film with his family and I did not speak to anyone except him. Our dialogue writer Hussain Dalal was right there and he informed me that Irrfan spoke to everyone after the film. Most responses were that they loved Irrfan's character. Irrfan spoke to me at length and he was very happy with the way that it has shaped up. He was happy with the added elements like background music. So, it was quite a relief that he liked it so much.
How did you calm the fan in you while directing your favourites – Irrfan Khan and Dulquer Salmaan?
People keep asking me how was it to direct Dulquer and Irrfan, and I kept asking them, 'How do you direct Dulquer and Irrfan?' because they have done so much of work, and when they're together in the frame they have done their homework. They've created their characters already on the basis of their script. So, sometimes you're just watching them and you almost have to remind yourself that you have to command 'Cut'. I've watched Irrfan's work for the longest time and I had seen a few Dulquer films before and after we started working together, I watched almost all his films. I think they are both phenomenal. We are fortunate to get them together.
How was the atmosphere on the sets?
Very comfortable! Dulquer and Mithila are friends. Irrfan sir because of his seniority and respect…We had a very good working relationship. We also hung out a lot together afterwards but I was always in awe. The cast and crew were all very comfortable. So, that was a picnic for us.
You'll must be missing Irrfan Khan's presence?
Yes, during promotions particularly. It seems very strange we are doing it without him. It feels like we are not giving a complete picture of the film because he's such an integral part of the film. It would have been really nice to have all the three of them together that would have made it really special.
Irrfan Khan and Nishikant Kamat promote 'Madaari' at Wilson College