MOHIT SURI AND CHETAN BHAGAT
Interview By: Hasti Doshi
Chetan never knew he would be an engineer turned writer and also, he never knew that his novels will turn to films. His stories like ‘3 idiots’, ‘Kai Po Che’, and now upcoming ‘Half Girlfriend’ has remarkably marked success weather being a story on pages or on screen. It seems he is on a journey of writing beautiful stories for us. But meanwhile how can we even forget the ‘Aashiqui 2’, ‘Ek Villian’ director Mohit Suri who has moved us by his skills into direction. He has increased our expectation levels by one after one hit. And when these two amazing get together for one same film ‘Half Girlfriend’ it would be a treat to watch the film. We had a conversation regarding the same. Read on…
How you both collaborated and came up with the idea of turning this novel ‘Half Girlfriend’ into a film?
Chetan: I had several adaptations. It kind of stated from me as I have written this book and I was at a final stage of editing it. And one of his uncles comes to my gym and after I spotted him I started business there, I should probably be working out (laughing). Mukesh Bhatt comes to the same gym so I took Mohit’s number from him and then we met and discussed few things. I just wanted to say one thing that I was writing this book and he said just show me whatever you have even it it’s not ready so I showed him. He was reading lot of scripts that time but somehow this story stayed with him. Both of us reached at a point in our careers where we felt we should have more participation in the film. Because people come out for films with such expectations so we should give them more apart from the star cast. So if the film is marketed on our name and being involved was a good idea so we decided to co-produce it. And then Balaji also wanted to do film quickly after ‘Ek Villian’ so that is how it happened.
Mohit: I met him couple of years back when I was shooting for ‘Woh Lamhe’ and I felt the way he writes is so connected to the friends like the story of students in engineering and ‘3 idiots’ did so well, because it was so relevant. Similarly when I read ‘Half Girlfriend’ it’s so unusual I felt yet connecting. He writes about the people who do exist and we don’t talk about. I found that concept really interesting and it had all the strapping which I like in my films which are the emotions, love and so I thought to just go ahead and turn it into a feature film. But we had a task that there are so many people who have read it so we had to be very honest and I give full credit to my writers Tushar and Ishita.
Your stories have a human touch, so you think is that the reason your most of the stories written are turning to films?
Chetan: Of course my books and stories are plot driven they are very fast moving which lands itself for films. Also they are mostly about the relationships and the Indian issues and Indian characters which connect to lot of Indians, that’s why the books are sold. So as a film also that transition should happen and it has happen in the past, so that’s what the hope is to do that.
How did you come up with this unique concept of half Girlfriend’?
Chetan: I think we just needed a name like that for certain relationships which are little more than friendship but people are not sure. So some relations are in between space where people don’t usually say it. So I just felt Half Girlfriend is a nice chick title for that.
As Mohit you have been very consistent with your movies right from ‘Zeher’ ‘Kalyug’ and all the others till now. What is your process of direction which helps your films to be consistent?
Mohit: I can’t judge that, it’s like me looking in the mirror and saying how good I look. I enjoy the journey of making films and the whole process. I know box office numbers are important because you get money to make more films then. So if I didn’t have hits I don’t get to make more films. But what I always do is not try to make a film for box office numbers but also a film which stays in people’s hearts. Example, wherever I go people still ask me about ‘Aashiqui 2’ and stuff like that; it has stayed in people’s hearts even four years later. I try to do that on set and not chase numbers, make light and loving for audience, that’s like more driving force for me whatever I have reached today.
According to you what was your turning point in the career?
Mohit: I think it should never come, because then you reach at the top and you can’t achieve more and the only way left is going down. I come from the family of directors and Mr. Bhatt is my uncle; my grandfather and cousins are directors, what we realize is that the bigger challenge after making a film is how you stay relevant and that comes by chasing content. The content should bring you together and not the project so that what happened with ‘Half Girlfriend’. There should be chasing content and no turning point I believe.
Individually which was your best part in the film?
Mohit- The second half of the film where it is emotionally scene but there is not even single crying scene in it. Because they come together and they come to know they can’t be together for rest of their lives and that’s what I liked most as that’s how life is. It’s not always drama, laughing but also bitter, sweet emotion of life. The whole ‘Half Girlfriend’ feeling is in that portion of film as people who are solely connected but can only settle for half.
Chetan- There are so many favorite parts for me but I would say the climax was surely the high point for me and also for readers. Initial college portions, interview scenes are really nicely executed as well.
‘Half Girlfriend’ has already touched people’s heart, so does that becomes kind of pressure to meet the expectation level of audience?
Mohit- For while it’s really pressurizing as people have liked it and they interpreted in their own way. It is very difficult as I never had characters which people already knew. That’s why Tushar and Ishita did a brilliant job but biggest things I believe that for a filmmaker here is difficulty for what story to tell people, finding a great story is miracle. So chetan did that job for me and gave a good story, so while there was pressure of justifying the content, we had a great advantage of a great story we had and people loved.
What kind of new projects are you looking forward now?
Mohit- I want to make more emotional films, I like that part and I discovered it while making films I think. But emotion is not necessary should be related to a boy and a girl, it could be father- son, so I want all of that. I would like to make stories which are Indian thoughts like ‘Half Girlfriend’ which has an Indian core and feeling to it. That are the kind of films I would love to make and would love to work with chetan not for the fact he writes well but he is like a creative producer on board and he knows the value of each scene.
Are you penning down something these days?
Chetan- Not yet, and if I write something good then may be someone would like to make a film. But right now it’s just ‘Half Girlfriend’.