Guns and roses
Filmmaker Kunal Deshmukh talks about highlighting the illegal arms trade in Jannat 2 and his working relationship with the Bhatts
Vishesh Films’ office at Khar is buzzing with activity. Kunal Deshmukh is seated in his cabin, busy juggling phone calls. The director of films such as Jannat and Tum Mile makes time to discuss his next venture Jannat 2 and the marked improvement in the fortunes of his leading man, Emraan Hashmi.
How did you decide on dealings in illegal arms as the film’s theme?
Urban crime and gun-related deaths are on the rise. The youth’s easy access to cheap weapons was a subject that I really wanted to deal with. Knowing that it’s an Emraan Hashmi film from the Bhatt camp, we needed to put in good songs and varnish to make it entertaining.
What prompted you to turn Jannat into a franchise?
When I wrote this script, I was struggling to come up with an entertaining name. The Bhatts suggested a Jannat franchise. I decided to take up the challenge and re-wrote and tweaked the film to fit into the Jannat mould. So now it’s a franchise with the same fundamental building blocks and entertainment quotient as Jannat; but it has a different character with a different setting.
Emraan Hashmi has now become a bankable star after back-to-back hits with The Dirty Picture and Once Upon A time In Mumbaai. Vishesh Films had supported him for long; now do you think it’s payback time for Emraan?
Vishesh Films has invested time and effort in building a star. Yash Raj Films was instrumental in pushing Shah Rukh Khan but that does not mean that when he became a star, he turned his back on them. Vishesh Films has really built Emraan up to a point where he has blossomed and got a fan following; now it’s time for Vishesh Films to reap the rewards.
Why do all Vishesh Film products have a high content of bold lovemaking scenes? Will it be the same for Jannat 2?
A little bit of sexuality is expected from the Bhatts. I remember audiences were really disappointed because there was no lovemaking or kissing scene in Tum Mile. Jannat 2 is a love story and the culmination of love is in lovemaking. There is one scene of lovemaking but the story does not revolve around that.
Prachi Desai was the original choice for the female lead; how did Esha Gupta come on board?
Prachi (Desai) was signed and we were slated to start the shoot within a week’s time but the Bhatts wanted to step up the sexuality and Prachi was not willing. I have great respect for her as she was very clear about what she was willing to do. We had tweaked the script and added a few things that she was not comfortable with. Mukeshji (Bhatt) had met Esha (Gupta) for another Vishesh Film and recommended her to me.
Are heroines so interchangeable?
At first, I was apprehensive as Prachi brought in a certain level of acting and shared a good chemistry with Emraan. But when I tested Esha, she was very good too.
Esha has signed four major films (Jannat 2, Raaz 3, Jism 2 and Chakravyuh) without a single release.
It speaks volumes about her talent. She was offered Raaz 3 after the Bhatts saw the rushes of Jannat 2. Based on these two films, Prakash Jha has picked her for Chakravyuh. Unlike other actresses, I don’t see her getting tired. She finishes one film and gets onto another. She is hot, good-looking, bold, brave, talented and hardworking. Nothing can hold her back; she’s going to be a star.
How involved are the Bhatts once the film goes on the floors?
Mahesh Bhatt, as a creative entity, wants to bring out the best in you. He doesn’t want you to make films like him. He keeps saying, ‘I need to see your voice in the film’ That is why Blood Money is different from Murder 2 or Tum Mile. Yes, in all these films the drama quotient is really high but that’s the schooling of the Bhatt camp.