Filmmaker Shashank Khaitan’s Govinda Naam Mera will premiere on Disney Plus Hotstar on December 16. However, before Vicky Kaushal came into the picture for this dance film, Varun Dhawan was a part of it. The actor had also announced that he’ll be starring in Govinda Naam Mera which was then reportedly titled Mr Lele.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, Shashank talks about why Varun had to exit the project and how he always thought Vicky was apt for the film, even while he was writing it.
On being asked why Varun Dhawan did not do Govinda Naam Mera, Shashank Khaitan said, “Nothing went wrong. After the lockdown, we all were trying to redesign our careers and figure what we want to do. I also feel that with Varun and me, the pressure is very high when it comes to our collaboration.”
Shashank then shared that even though Varun was first supposed to do the film, he always had Vicky Kaushal in mind. He said, “In a very funny way, this film, when I had written it for the very first time, I had Vicky Kushal in mind. But at the time Vicky was shooting multiple films.”
The filmmaker also said that he always knew that Vicky was a fantastic dancer and a great comedy actor, even though he hadn’t had an opportunity to do such films. He said, “I know Vicky. Vicky dances. I have seen him in dance in every party and he does not leave the dance floor. I’ve also always known that he has a great sense of humour. I’ve always known that he is also a great comic actor as well. Maybe destiny had it that we collaborate on this (Govinda Naam Mera) and I’m sure Varun and I’ll do something together very soon. We are always talking about it.”
Shashank Khaitan revealed that he and Varun Dhawan “keep discussing about Dulhania 3”, which will be the third film in the Dulhania franchise that includes Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and Badrinath Ki Dulhania. The director shared that the two of them along with Alia Bhatt and Karan Johar are discussing Dulhania 3.
Shashank said, “I feel that we should do films when we are hundred per cent in it. Like, probably I’ll meet Varun in the evening today. We are always discussing what to do, what next to do. But what happens is, it is not necessary that if you’re great friends, we also have to be at the same place in terms of what we want to create together. I think what is important is that we need to be collectively ready to create something. Like, casually we keep discussing about Dulhania 3, when are we doing it, what are we doing…but we all are very sure also that we don’t want to take an irresponsible decision.”
The filmmaker wants to make sure that the Dulhania franchise doesn’t turn into a “money machine” and that the story really resonates with the audience. He shared, “We want it to be the best film. It is one of our most loved franchises. All four of us, Karan, Alia, Varun and me, have great love for that film franchise and we don’t want to take it for granted. We don’t want to make it a money machine. We want to say, ‘Ok, now we have an interesting story.’ I’m also not saying that it should be a pathbreaking story, that’s not necessary. It should be a story that again connects with people.”
Shashank Khaitan has directed the likes of Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khatter, actors who were new in the industry when he worked with them. They went on to prove their acting prowess. On being asked if he thinks he’s not given enough credit for grooming them, Shashank said, “I think people who work with me and people who are in my immediate surroundings know my contribution to films. I’m someone who doesn’t like to blow my own trumpet. I come from the school of thought where I believe that if you do charity, hide it. I’m not one of those guys who like to showcase my charity or show ‘dekho maine kitni mehnat ki hai.’ I think it is a simple thing. If a film is written and directed by Shashank Khaitan, then everything about that is my vision. If people believe that I’ve contributed, then great. And if they believe that the actor got up and decided to do his own thing, then great. I’m not really here to ask for credit or blow my own trumpet. I’m very happy with the brilliant journey (as a filmmaker).”
Shashank takes pride in the fact that every actor he’s directed is always looking forward to work with him again.
“Every actor who’s worked with me, I’ve already repeated some of them, and they too have always wanted to work again with me. So, for me that’s important. When I make a movie and we finish that experience, irrespective of the box-office (collection) of the film, if the actors of that film are willing to work with me again that means I’ve done something great,” said the filmmaker.
“So ya, I’m not bothered about taking credit. It’ll be selfish of me to do that because I don’t think Janhvi is doing what she is doing here only because of me. I think she’s done great work, even Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt. Yes, because I come from a theatre background, I really push people into performance. I have the tools to tell them certain things which can help their performance because that’s been my training. But that’s about it, that’s my job as a director. I won’t say I’ve done anything special. And as I said, in due course of time, in life, I’ll get the credit that I deserve. I still believe I’m very fortunate as everyone in the industry gives me a lot of love and respect, be it actors, producers, fellow directors. I’m happy I have no complaints,” Shashank Khaitan concluded.