April 24, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): Jagbir Dahiya, the director of the Hindi movie Kuchh Kariye talks about his film, singer turned actor Sukhwinder Singh, and more.
Jagbir Dahiya tells that his aim is not to make money but deliver a message to the world that we should eschew hatred and violence to make the world a better place to live in
What is the story of Kuchh Kariye?
It’s the story of Rishi played by Sukhwinder Singh. He is a simple musician from a small town. He is in love with Shriya, but society in his city is against their relationship. Disappointed they move to Mumbai and from here begins another journey. He meets two other boys who are also idealistic lot and want to bring a change in society. To voice their views, they start making a film. A film within film, Kuchh Kariye explores the reality of life today, the cruelty in people and possibility of changing their mind set with reasoning.
Did you have to face hassles just because you are a new producer in Bollywood?
The biggest minus point in the film industry is that today no actor is ready to give importance to a new producer who wants to start his own new banner, however big his concept or plan may be, though the biggest of the star studded films have failed. The actors tend to forget the fact that it is the subject which is the star, not the actor. I should know because I too had spoken to two different actors about my project but things just did not take off because the actors did not take me seriously at all since I am a new producer.
Is it true that you had launched your film even before you had cast a leading man for it?
Yes. For my project, I needed two pillars- the lyricist and the music director. I had met around 50 known as well as unknown lyricists but my sixth sense told me that Salim Bijnori was the right one. I asked Salim to not only write the story and screenplay but also the dialogues as well as lyrics and asked Onkar to compose the songs.
What according to you ails music in Hindi films today?
Today it is a pity that in the industry stealing has become the habit of most of the music directors and hence no ne bothers to set music to lyrics but prefers to get a ready made tune and fit in the lyrics to suit the stolen tune. I know Onkar right from 2003, since I have produced and directed several serials, documentaries for national campaigns for various ministries and making programmes for All India Radio and tele films. I felt that Onkar had the potential in him to make music based on lyrics and not copy blindly any tune that he has heard. It was Onkar who suggested that I should ask Sukhi to sing for him even before I had thought of signing Sukhi as the leading man, because e felt that Sukhi had the pitch which he required from the singer.
Is it true that Sukhwinder Singh is actually the unofficial producer of Kuchh Kariye?
Sukhwinder Singh is not the unofficial producer of the film. It is an insult to both me as well as Sukhiji if you insinuate that he is the producer of the film. I decided to launch Sukhwinder as the leading man of my film Kuchh Kariye because I needed an international personality like Sukhi who is very popular all over the world as a performer and has performed in almost every part of the world. I thought of casting Sukhi after I had just recorded one song with him for my film. I told him that he was the biggest faqeer in the world, like me. When I saw Sukhwinderji singing the songs of my film with the passion required by the character, I decided that he is the one who should play Rishi. I asked him to do the role. He laughed me off. When we came for the recording of the second song, I was once again very happy with his expressions. When I started insisting again, he agreed to read the script. He liked the story because and in spite of us being new in the industry he agreed.
Do you think that your decision was right?
Yes, definitely. Sukhwinder has done perfect work. He is very good and natural in front of the camera. In fact during the serious scenes, he would get so much into the character that he used to forget that he is supposed to stay within the marked area to shoot the scene in the camera. Again and again he used to go out of the camera range. So then I decided to put five camera set ups even for talkie time. Sukhi did not at all ask me who the hero or the director of my film was ,when Onkar and I went to him and requested him to record a song for our film for which we had not cast any hero. When I narrated the story, Sukhi was very overwhelmed and told me that he would consider being a part of the project as something like charity because he identified with what the film set out to do. It was only after I met Sukhi that I realized that even today there are good people in the film industry.
Is it true that Sukhi has not charged you at all for acting as well as singing in Kuchh Kariye?
Sukhwinder Singh asked me to make the film and not give him any money since he told me that he felt that I was actually taking a big risk as a producer by approaching him to play the leading man in my film Kuchh Kariye though I could have played safe as a producer by taking on a saleable name as the leading man. I was touched when Sukhi also told me that not only would he not take from me even a single paisa to sing for the film but also in future he would not me as and when I approach him to work for me in any capacity whatsoever. What I like about Sukhi is that he does not have heroism in him though he is an international celebrity in his own right today.
Did you launch your film just to make money?
No. On the contrary, I launched my film Kuchh Kariye which was titled earlier as Khud Ko Kar Bulund Itna, not to make money, because I hail from a family of zamindars and my aim is not to make money at all. I set out to make the film to drive home a message for the world that we should strive to eschew hatred and violence from our lives and make the world a better place to live in.
Why did you choose to go in for a film with message?
I do not agree with that. Today Tare Zameen Par, Chak De, 3 Idiots, My Name is Khan, New York were films with message and all have worked very well. My film is not all about serious issues and preaching, it also has its light moments but it’s not just a time pass.
How do you manage to strike the right balance between the producer and the director in you?
When I decided to launch my debut film as a director, I also had decided to keep the producer in me away from the director in me and refused to compromise at any stage. In fact, when I found the sets not up to the mark when we wanted to shoot for the song Aawarasa, I stopped the shooting and delayed the shoot by four more days till the new sets were erected to suit the requirement, through it cost me as a producer. We have shot in Mumbai, Manali, Rohtang Pass and Dehradun.
— Jyothi Venkatesh / Sampurn Wire