April 24, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): Indian filmmaker Som Shekhar talks about his film Muskurake Dekh Zara. The director tells Jyothi Venkatesh that though the makers of the film Youth, which was its Tamil version had tampered with the script, he is happy with the way the Hindi version adapted by Anurag Kahsyap has shaped up.
Is Muskurake Dekh Zara a Govinda type of a comedy?
Muskurake Dekh Zara is indeed a light comedy but then I’d not like to slot it as a typical Govinda kind of comedy caper, because you will not find buffoonery in my film. I would like to also add that my film is not at all about campus or student life. I am not intellectual enough to make something hatke or dynamically different from the usual films, because my aim is to entertain the audience without setting out to preach to them.
Does it mean that you have not set out to drive any message through your film?
I have not set out to drive home any message through my film. It just tells the audience, that life is beautiful. I could have easily put in the tag line ‘Life is Beautiful’ along with the title Muskurake Dekh Zara, but did not because I do not want the audiences to feel that I am trying to put something down their throats with my film, when it is not at all my aim as a filmmaker.
What made you decide to take up direction since initially you just planned to produce the film?
Though the various constituents of a film have always allured me to produce one, I had never thought of directing a film till I stumbled upon the script of Muskurake Dekh Zara. After finalising the script with Trivikram (Srinivas), who is the highest paid film writer in the country, I started meeting several potential directors but realised soon that true justice would be done only if I personally directed my own film, as a producer with a full hands on approach.
How tough was it for you to cast the actors for your film?
I should also confess that it was the passionate performances of a great bunch of actors both old as well as new that has boosted my film and enabled me to make my debut as a director much easier. I need to pat myself on my back primarily for the apt casting. Gashmeer Mahajani, though a new comer, has given an accomplished performance that only seasoned actors tend to give. Though Twinkle Patel is a new comer I must say that she had absolutely no stage consciousness.
Is it true that Satish Kaushik was actually slated to direct Muskurake Dekh Zara?
Yes. At one stage, I was even contemplating on taking up Satish Kaushik as the director and even talks were on but things did not materialize at that point of time when I decided that it was better to be a director than take backseat direction, though I was never interested to assist any director, in spite of the fact that I used to assist Ram Gopal Varma in production.
Was direction easy or tough for you?
It was not at all a difficult subject for me to make my debut as a director. The biggest challenge for me was that I had to make a film which had to work commercially. In fact, it was the first yard stick for me when I settled down to listen to the narration of the script. On completion of the narration, I was elated that here was a script that would cater to all centres and niches. It was after a long time that we had a script that would also appeal to the general audiences. I was also confident that it would please the rural folks sensibilities for whom hardly any film rolls out and would also cater to the current cinema’s contemporary mood. I took care to see to it that scenes of humor and depth were beautifully interspersed throughout the film so that nothing becomes too heady.
In what way is the Hindi remake different from the Tamil and Telugu versions of your film?
I liked the Telugu version Chiru Narutho which starred Venu and Shaheen and asked Anurag Kashyap to adapt the script from Telugu to Hindi and not Tamil because I felt that the makers of the Tamil film Youth which starred Vijay had tampered with the original script in order to see to it that Vijay who is a popular hero in Tamil films had a larger than life role to play.
How confident are you of the outcome of your film at the box office?
Both Youth as well as the Telugu version Chiru Narutho were big hits. I should say that I am quite elated with the outcome and now leave it to the sensibility of the audiences for the performance of the film to speak at the box office based on a variety of success parameters.
— Jyothi Venkatesh / Sampurn Wire