Director Akshat Verma says Saif Ali Khan was the first choice for his directorial venture Kaalakaandi but at one point the makers did approach Fawad Khan to play the same part. Akshat has revealed that when the film was with UTV, they were in talks with Fawad to play the role, which is now being played by Saif.
“Fawad was supposed to be one of the actors we talked to when the project was with UTV. It was around 2013… He was going to play the role Saif plays. But ultimately everything happens for a reason and for the best. No one could have done the role better than Saif,” Akshat says in an interview with PTI.
Kaalakaandi chronicles the story of six characters from different worlds of Mumbai in a span of 12 hours and how the lives of complete strangers intersect. Interestingly, Akshat says his “instinct for Saif was right” as he had written the film initially keeping him in mind.
“When I first messaged Saif, I didn’t get a reply from him. When I finally met him, it was almost two years to the date I had texted him, and I still have the message saved. “This time, he had read the script because Ashi (Dua, one of the producers) had sent it to him. He said ‘ok we are on’ in five minutes. So the time period was, on one hand two years and on the other, just five minutes to get Saif,” he adds.
Akshat dived into the world of Kaalakaandi right after his big hit Delhi Belly, which he had written. He took nearly a year to write the script of Kaalakaandi but the project went through “a mad roller coaster ride.” “It is common knowledge that the film was earlier with UTV, we were about to shoot but four days before that the project was shut down. After that things fell apart, we had to put it together again. Everything takes time,” he said.
Both Delhi Belly and Kaalakaandi fall in the genre of dark comedy, which is rarely explored in Bollywood. When asked is it because his scripts are so unconventional that people don’t really understand his language and vision, Akshat says, “Often people say they enjoy the script, love it, but (it is) not enough to make it as a film. It is like breaking up with someone by saying ‘I love you but not enough to marry you.'”
But can the waiting period be frustrating and the director says, “it is the most disappointing part”. “You feel that the time seems to move in six months chunk. Suddenly you look up and the year has gone by, it seems you haven’t done anything. You have been trying, waiting, they (makers) read your script, get back to you, six months have gone by and then they say ‘no,'” he said.
In this scenario–where a project is being delayed and people are not willing to back your vision– Akshat says the only way to keep himself motivated was by being “stubborn.” Produced by Cinestaan Film Company and Ashi Dua Sara of Flying Unicorn, the film stars Saif along with Deepak Dobriyal, Vijay Raaz, Kunaal Roy Kapoor, Sobhita Dhulipala, Akshay Oberoi, Isha Talwar, Shenaz Treasury, Shivam Patil, Amyra Dastur and Neil Bhoopalam.
Kaalakaandi is scheduled to release on January 12 next year.