DIVYA KHOSLA KUMAR
Interview By: Team Super Cinema
Director-Producer Divya Khosla Kumar talks to Supercinema about the different challenges that she had to face while directing Yaariyan and Sanam re to Co-Producing Roy. She also tells us it’s uncertain what could be in her cards next as she is just going with the flow but will be open to producing or even returning to acting; read on to know more!
“My stint as a Director has only just begun and I wish to go miles and miles and make good cinema, entertaining the audience thoroughly.”
What attracted you to do ‘Sanam Re’ and casting fresh faces again?
It took me a lot of time to make my directorial debut Yaariyan. There were a number of challenges like budgeting as per the assigned costing, and to cast 5 newcomers, 5 faces to match up to my characters and look upto the level to attract the audience and more importantly to train them! It was a journey filled with ups and down and eventually we shot the movie in 2 months. It was a super hit and was well accepted by the audience which was a complete breather for me because I was a young mother and had shot throughout my pregnancy and all the hard work paid off. This all in turn was motivating for me which pushed me to do Sanam Re. When my writer, Sanjeev Dutta narrated the story to me I loved it and started work on it immediately! I wanted to challenge myself as a director with something different as compared to the youthful romance of Yaariyan. Sanam Re was poles apart from Yaariyan, the latter was a young film with a touch of sports to it where as the former was a soulful out and out love story which I had not explored and wanted to dive in deep. That is what mostly attracted me to make Sanam Re. I almost instantly started working on the film, commenced location hunts and even was on the lookout for the right cast. When I came across Pulkit & Yami’s work, I thought to myself that they fit the bill perfectly and as a pair, they were looking exactly like how I envisioned my characters, Akash & Shruti to be. Thus began the journey of Sanam Re..
How is it working as a director and what creative challenges you face?
Film making is generally tough and not a breezy job. Being a Director and the captain of the ship it is very important to handle all the stars and crew members in the right manner. Many a times, directors are faced with hardships in the form of location issues, budget issues, etc. But I truly love what I do and will continue doing so. My stint as a Director has only just begun and I wish to go miles and miles and make good cinema, entertaining the audience thoroughly. Being in the creative space, be it any field, there are many occupational challenges one faces. If you are an actor there is the constant challenge of looking good, presentable and politically correct where as if you are a singer, there is the challenge of not consuming any food or drinks that can hamper your voice. For a Director, the main challenges one faces or more like I faced was to man the house. Planning everything to the T, sticking to the budget allotted for each phase of the shoot, post production, reshoots, song sequences, and even something miniscule like weather issues. Everything that went in making the films, I have been a part of it all and it has been a challenge. But at the end of the day, it was all worth it and I would go through that over hundred times if I had to, if that would mean I could continue directing and making cinema.
Is directing big star on your wish list?
In Sanam Re, I worked with one of the biggest stars our film industry has ever seen. Rishi Kapoorji. A stalwart and the literal meaning of a Super Star, Rishiji was a treat to work with. Directing him was initially an intimidating thought, but to have him on the sets and deliver applaud worthy shots in one go, was amazing. However going further, I would love to direct several other big stars in my films. Maybe someone from the young generation or someone from the older generation. If my script demands it, I will dive into the challenge!
We have seen you doing romantic films so when we will get to see you doing some other genre?
For me, Sanam Re and Yaariyan were both different films from a different genre. Yaariyan explored the mindset of 19 years old and what their perception of love was. Teenagers are not aware of the real meaning of love and for them it’s just infatuation or a crush, and to make such a fun film with party and peppy songs, was what I wanted to portray to the audience. Sanam Re on the other hand was a soulful movie depicting the true meaning of romance with heart touching lyrics and beautiful dialogues. The two movies were poles apart and as a director, so was my vision while making them. A comparison between matured and young love so to say. As for adventuring into other film genres apart from these, of course I would like to be as versatile as possible and challenge myself with different scripts and possibilities. Making good cinema is fun and is my passion but to make the same kind of cinema repeatedly feels redundant and boring and that is not something I would want to do.
“Making good cinema is fun and is my passion but to make the same kind of cinema repeatedly feels redundant and boring and that is not something I would want to do.”
What kind of films you want to see yourself doing in future?
I would love to take on films and subjects which are creative and challenging at the script level and all other levels and phases for that matter. I am in the constant search for improving myself and becoming better at what I do, so challenging myself with different genres or different possibilities every time will make me grow immensely as a filmmaker and script write & hence that is something I aim for in the future. Also, I put in a lot of research before making a film and generally like to predict and go as per what I foresee the audience to see and enjoy 2 years down the line. This is what excites me and makes me jump out of my chair and this is what I want to continue doing in the future.
Any plans to come back to acting career?
I am always open to all options. I am an artist and creativity is my passion. In Sanam Re, I not only directed the movie but I also choreographed all the songs and performed in the party song, Humne Pee Rakhi Hain. After Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo, I did not plan to take a break from acting. Circumstances and ambition made me change my path from acting to directing and cinematography. So be it direction, choreography or acting, I am open as a creative person and as an artist. If any exciting script comes my way, I won’t hesitate to revive my acting career!
You have also produced a film ‘Roy’, how was the process and are you looking forward for producing more films just like Bhushan Kumar?
Working alongside Bhushan is extremely exciting and he really keeps you on your toes. The perfectionist that he is, there is an immense amount of hard work that he puts into all of his projects. It was an exhilarating experience being a co-producer along with him for Roy and for the audience to accept all our hard work with open arms has been great! Movies are not made overnight and Roy in particular included a long period of time to formulate the entire concept, cast the right actors, complete the month long shoots and finish the post production process. Being a producer is entirely different from being a Director, although both fields require vision and perception, they are poles apart. I have been an actress, a model, a choreographer and a director and to now dabble in the field of production sounds like a pretty exciting prospect. Who knows, maybe I will follow my husband’s footsteps and produce a film soon, or I will probably be acting in my next film. You won’t know until you see it, so let’s wait and watch!