Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani director Ayan Mukerji talks about his passion for food,travel and films.
Why did Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD) take two years to make?
The whole film is created on last-moment decisions and creativity from the script to the manner in which we set up the shoot to the music and so on. Maybe,its because it was a hard film for me.
What was hard about it?
It was on a much larger scale; Wake Up Sid was chiefly set in a room. Also,this film is about many things sometimes,one has a feeling or instinct that one wants to capture,which can prove challenging. I have also been anxious that whatever I am trying to say should come together properly.
Was it different with Wake Up Sid?
Maybe I was this way with Wake Up Sid too. But I was easily pleased then. Even if I put up a camera and shot beneath the office,I was excited about my first film and it all felt beautiful. I am harder on myself now.
The films promos are reminiscent of Anjaana Anjaani and Love Aaj Kal.
I see that as well. Maybe they also look a bit like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Dil Chahta Hai. These films are my closest influences at the moment. Of course,you will find individuality in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani,but there will always be parallels.
What aspects from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani have you borrowed from your own life?
A filmmakers work must be personal. I have borrowed Ranbir Kapoors character,Bunnys love,for trekking from my own personality. Trekking morphs into a notion of discovering new places and meeting new people. The world has so much to offer its exhilarating,confusing and terrifying. This energy is prevalent in Ranbirs character. Also the fact that the four characters are friends from the same school is an important thread. My own life has revolved around those I grew up with.
Are you trying to capture emotions as you go through them?
Yes,that is why I struggled so much with the writing. It is tough to make sense of emotions and go through them at the same time. But that also lends a unique energy to the film.
But why hurry with the emotions?
I come from a conflicted,soap opera-like family. My father is 72 and I am 29. It was my mothers second marriage and I have two half sisters. I didnt have dads money to fall back on and was anxious from an early age to achieve something. I dont feel bechara about myself,but I had to work hard. I started working as an assistant director at 18 and wrote WUS alongside. The decision to stop working and make my own film was the big turning point. I had no experience. I was trying to read,watch and observe. I would fail repeatedly. My friends were in stable jobs,I felt uncertain. I gave away my 20s entirely to making films. I have lost touch with friends and family and hardly do anything else. All the same,I have also got my due.
But after this film gets over,I want to spend time with parents,books,films,travel,food and alcohol. I am crazy about food. Being a filmmaker has given me enough money to eat a good meal at any restaurant of my choice.
Did you cast Deepika Padukone opposite Ranbir for the sake of curiosity?
They used to date and they dont today… its nothing. This generation is cool. They are young,hormonal and work in close quarters. I have a feeling they will date,break-up and continue to work together.
Ranbir has been the strongest,pillar of support through the making of YJHD. He is least demanding,and he stood by this film from day one,putting behind me whatever he has built over the years. With Deepika,it took some time but when that part wrote itself,I knew she was it.
How did Badtameez Dil come up?
The song required Ranbir to come back and create great energy. Pritam came up with the trumpet as the main instrument and Amitabh Bhattacharya with the phrase. Karan had a very good instinct on it,more than me. We planned it in a certain way but couldnt predict the zeitgeist as the moment carried itself out.
Youve got Madhuri Dixit-Nene for Ghagra with Ranbir. Was it a childhood fantasy?
Childhood reverence. Madhuri and Ranbir make an exciting pair. Both are amazing dancers,magical actors from different generations. The song captures what Madhuri comes with and what Ranbir promises to be.
“PLaY is your 4-page weekly entertainment fix,every Friday with The Indian Express”.