Raaj Shaandilyaa said Ayushmann Khurrana was his first and only choice for his directorial debut film Dream Girl.
The director said the National Award-winning actor gave his nod to the project immediately after the first narration.
“While writing only we had thought of him for Dream Girl. Badhaai Ho and Aandhadhun had not released when I had sent a message to Ayushmann, asking for narration. He heard it and said yes immediately,” Shaandilyaa told PTI.
The director, who has worked with comedian Kapil Sharma on his show Comedy Nights with Kapil, said he always wanted to make an entertaining film.
“I do feel the pressure as it is my first film as a director. My focus is to entertain people. Ayushmann has great comic timing and he is really great at his job and so the pressure is a bit less. But there is some pressure as a writer and director.”
In the film, Ayushmann essays the role of a young man who can imitate a female voice and plays female characters in Ramleela. He gets a job in an adult hotline, but things go haywire when customers, both men and women, fall for him and start searching for the face behind the sultry voice.
“For a male actor to balance the voice of a female with a feminine body language is always challenging. We were sure we don’t want it to be over-the-top. And he played it so naturally,” Shaandilyaa added.
According to him, the film may look like a fun ride but there is also a message in it.
“It is a content-driven film with elements of humour. It talks about loneliness,” he said, without divulging any further details.
Talking about the title of the film, the director revealed, the team was toying with the idea of having names like Kanyakumari, Googly, etc.
“…Then we thought Dream Girl is the apt title, it goes well with the story. The only relation between the title of the film and Hema Malini ji, who is known as a Dream Girl is that we have shot it in Mathura, which is her constituency.”
Dream Girl, an Ekta Kapoor production, also stars Nushrat Bharucha, Annu Kapoor, Manjot Singh among others. It is scheduled to be released on September 13.
Shaandilyaa said today filmmakers, stars and a lot of creative people in the industry are becoming socially responsible.
“There are a lot of issues around us. There is more responsibility on all of us, especially creative people, as we have got this amazing medium to narrate a tale in an entertaining way in two hours.
“Every director has a different way of telling a story — serious or comical — and both have its own set of challenges. With light-hearted films, one has to be all the more careful while highlighting an issue.”
According to Shaandilyaa, social issues can be presented either in a serious or comical way, depending on the subject.
“There was a time when there was a loud cinema, today it is more natural. Like Article 15 talks about rape and casteism but in a serious way as the subject is such that it needs that kind of treatment.
“On the other hand, a film like Jabriya Jodi highlights the issue of dowry but in a light-hearted way,” added Shaandilyaa, who has written dialogues and additional screenplay for the Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra-starrer.