Wednesday, June 11, 2008

All eyes on the future

In a candid interview to Sandhya Iyer, Harry Baweja, director of Love Story 2050 talks about son Harman’s comparisons with Hrithik Roshan, among various other things

Harman seems to be eliciting a positive response from the promos. But more and more viewers seem to be comparing him to Hrithik...

Newcomers are always pitched against a new face, there’s nothing new about it. When Shah Rukh Khan came in, he was compared to Dilip Kumar, Shahid Kapoor was compared to Shah Rukh. In my days, Dimple was compared to Nargis. The only similarity between Harman and Hrithik is that both are well-built, lean and fair. And yes, both dance well. Besides that, I can't spot any resemblance. People are just trying to make some news out of this.

But aren’t comparisons with Hrithik a sort of compliment?

(smiles) Well, thank you if it’s a compliment but my worry is that it unnecessarily raises the bar of expectations. You’re pitching a newcomer against someone who has done more than 25 films and has been in the industry for about eight years now. Also, Hrithik is the youngest superstar we have, so these comparisons can hurt Harman. I just feel that like every newcomer, Harman too should be given a discount. Why pitch him against someone so well-established?

It must be heartening that Harman has already signed a couple of prestigious films -one with Anees Bazmi and another one with Ashutosh Gowariker?

Absolutely. It shows people have confidence in Harman. In fact, Ashutosh signed up Harman only after he saw some parts of Love Story 2050, that implies we are on the right track.

Did the fact that you were directing your own son come in the way at any point?

Yes, initially, Harman was very shy to perform with me around, so he would insist that I was not on the sets. I would watch his portions on the monitor sitting in another room. It took some time for the ice to be broken. But I should say, I always approached the film as a director, not as a father. My biggest challenge was to make a good film and justify a newcomer as an actor.

You faced some difficult challenges while making the film...

Yes, first of all, we were making a film that had never been attempted. Also, before we knew it, we had gone one and a half times over budget. We felt the original budget was not enough for some scenes, so we had to throw in more money. Every point was a challenge as we didn’t know what was coming next…there would be technical glitches galore. Some days we could only shoot one scene, on some other days, we didn’t shoot at all. Our biggest challenge was in ensuring that what we had on paper could be convincingly portrayed on screen and be made relatable to the audiences.

So how have you conceptualised a period that is 40 years ahead?

The film is a sci-fi film but you’ll see nothing illogical in the film. If I’ve shown flying cars, it’s because such models are already being attempted in some European countries. If I have shown Mumbai as developed with plenty of skyscrapers, it’s because I do believe that’s the future. Even the teddy in the film, which moves around and talks to Priyanka won’t appear far-fetched. The idea actually came to me when I saw a small toy-dog in London or some such place. It actually guards your house and checks emails for you.

Have you spoken about any attitudinal shift in relationships etc in the future?

There are some references, but I have stayed away from talking about the political scenario or any such thing. I really didn’t want to get into any controversies. Also, my focus has been to make an entertaining film.

Not too many people in the industry were confident about the concept of 2050…

Yes, people thought I was being crazy. They wondered why I needed three times the budget of a normal film to launch a newcomer. They didn’t understand that it was the concept that was costing me, not the actor. That’s when Krrish came along and everyone got excited about my film again. Financers were willing to talk to us again, but I had moved on.

Another big crisis you faced was when Kareena Kapoor walked out of the film, wasn’t it?

Yes, we were hit very badly when she left. It seemed like our world was crashing. I was more worried about the negative publicity it would bring to Harman. People would think something was wrong with him, which is why she was leaving. Thankfully, Priyanka stepped in and that didn’t happen. I knew why Kareena left and the reason was not Harman. I knew her reasons though I never spoke about it in the media. I didn’t want a controversy. When she said she was leaving, I let her do what she liked. I knew there was something fishy and didn’t want to force her.

But considering Harman already knew Priyanka so well, why wasn’t she your first choice?

Priyanka was still an emerging star while Kareena was already established. I was sure that I needed a top star and a good actress because the role is quite complex. At that point, I could only see Kareena fitting the bill. She left after the first schedule and it was very sweet of Priyanka to do it. She too couldn’t give us dates immediately, so we waited for seven months.

Love Story 2050 releases on the same day as the Aamir Khan produced film Jaane Tu..starring his nephew Imraan. Have you got the opportunity to check out Harman’s competition?

I won’t say anything about Imraan because anything I say is going to be taking in the wrong way. All I can say is that I’m completely focusing on my film. The other film is a romantic comedy, which one keeps seeing on and off. Our film is a path-breaking one.

You’re obviously not pleased about two important films releasing on the same day…
Who will be? Everyone wants a solo release for their film, because otherwise straight away you lose 30 per cent of your collections. Aamir is a friend… I called him up and tried my best to convince him to postpone Jaane Tu’s release. He said, he’d try. It didn’t happen. I guess Aamir know best.


Anonymous ashi said...

hey great interview..thanks for sharing...
Well,the movie hasn't released yet & the couple is already in demand....
That's great..
, I’m really looking forward to love story 2050…it is bollywoods first sci-fi movie !!! im sure Harman Baweja will be a huge super star and I cant wait to watch him star opposite Priyanka Chopra

June 12, 2008 at 12:32 AM  
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