Were you confident that Jigariyaa which is a love story set in the heartlands of India of the ’80s with newcomers, Harshvardhan Deo and Cherry Mardia playing the protagonists, would find an audience?
Yes, I was confident because the film was a pure love story. From the response that I have got, people have liked the purity and innocence of the romance which is something hard to come by these days, as everybody wants to be very happening. I tried to break from the norm and do something different. Everyone who has seen the film has loved it.
But the film’s box-office collections were far from good.
Yes, they were very disappointing. I expected much more, but then with so many films like Tamanchey and Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami releasing on the same Friday, and Bang Bang and Haider still drawing the audience, the film got only 300 screens and very few shows. It was not possible to garner good collections in such a scenario. The same thing happened with my first film Sixteen which was critically appreciated, but the box-office collections suffered because it released with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. It is basically the producers and the distributors job to get a proper release and not of the director, otherwise I would have waited.
Many people felt that the love story had many stereotypes and cliches.
If you go to see, all love stories from Romeo and Juliet, Heer Ranjha, Bobby, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak are similar. Boy sees girl, falls in love, parental opposition etc. Only the story telling, treatment, the characters and settings are different, and that’s where the director comes in. And that was something very fresh in my film. I am influenced by Mehboob Khan and Raj Kapoor’s school of cinema. I like communicating love and emotions on screen through different colours. It is a very critical thing for any movie.
The ending of Jigariyaa is a surprise. Is there a story behind it?
The climax was very different and was one of the important twists in the film. Radhika (Mardia) does not want to disobey her father at the same time she wants her lover so she takes that crucial decision with Shaamu (Harshvardhan). That’s why the title of the film is Jigariyaa, meaning having a big heart.
In your next, will you make a film with newcomers like you did in Sixteen and Jigariyaa?
I am writing a love story and a thriller. But my next film will be with known actors. When you have established actors, all these things like number of screens and shows and release dates fall in place.