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Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR

Prashant Singh who is feeling very confident about the success of his upcoming film JABARIYA JODI shares with us how he felt with the response his film’s trailer received and his experience working with Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra and the biggest challenge filmmakers faces today in a candid chat with us.

How happy are you with the response to the trailer and songs of ‘Jabariya Jodi’ so far?
Very happy. We knew we were making an entertaining film which is cute in a way, so we were expecting this. We expected people to like the trailer and plus, there’s nothing to not like about in the story anyway!

How did the work begin on this?
I met this writer Sanjeev Jha who met me and told me this one-liner of the story he wanted to make. I was assisting at that point in time and was wanting to make an independent film. I was looking for concepts that time and really liked this one. I liked the one-line idea that ‘the girl kidnaps the boy who kidnaps everyone else.’ I knew it was going to be fun making this film.

The film has this strong colloquial vibe and dialect. How did you work on getting that world right and also brief your actors?
We did workshops for the actors, for them to get the language and words right. The story is from in and around Patna. We had a month of workshop with all the actors. Sanjay Mishra belongs to that part of the country only, so infact, he was teaching us a lot of things. I’m also from Bihar, and our writer Sanjeev Jha is also from Bihar, so it was pretty easy for us to keep everything in check.

What was the biggest challenge on this one?
The only challenge every film-maker has is to research the story properly in the way it is required to. It’s just that, since we were making our first film, we were thinking about what can go wrong and what can we do to make it right. With such experienced actors – also like Javed Jaffery and Sanjay Mishra, it was like a cakewalk for me. They were protective and guiding me at every stage so the challenges reduced because of the cast.

I’m sure it’s too early for you to gauge what’s your style or signature element since this is your first film, but, have you managed to analyse?
I do see a mix of all the directors who I’ve worked with. Right from Onir to Sujoy Ghosh and Anand Rai. People will see glimpses of them hopefully because I picked up stuff from them while working with them. From the various Hindi films I’ve grown up on, there will be reflections indeed. But, I’ve realised is that, this has now become my film completely, in totality, despite these influences.

What are the kind of films you’ve grown up on, like you mentioned?
As a child, I’ve grown up watching, ‘DDLJ’, ‘Sholay’, ‘Deewar’. I’m a great fan of Mukul Anand’s ‘Agneepath’, ‘Hum’ and that genre. Then when I started assisting directors, the biggest influence was Anand Rai. His cinema is rustic, yet quite commercial.

In today’s day and age where new talent is welcomed and good content is only working – has it been easier to get your directorial debut or difficult?
It took us 2-3 years to reach to the production stage, to convince people that we could make this film. It was easy to convince Shailesh Singh, because my first film as an assistant director was with his first film as a producer. So, we’ve known each other for about ten years. It was easy to pitch him the story, he liked it. Then it took us 2-3 years to meet studios. When Ekta Kapoor met us, she loved it and then we met Sidharth also, he found the concept exciting. It happened fast after Ekta and Sidharth came on board. But today’s world is a happy world for new film-makers. It’s exciting and there are many avenues. There are web-series where you can make good content and you don’t have to worry about commercial aspects of film-making. Yes, when it comes to theatre releases, you have to keep in mind the box-office and make cinema which appeals to everyone. I’ve tried to strike that balance in my cinema wherein, it’s commercial and there’s also nothing stupid about the concept. I feel that if I’m going to watch a film, it should move me heavily. If a film has to be just information based, then we do have documentaries to watch but when we are going to the theatre, people are spending money so they should get entertained. Recently, there have been many films which are not comical yet they have earned well at the box-office. This means that people have opened up and entertainment isn’t just about comedy today. So, indeed it’s a happy world for film-makers now!

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