Director Nagesh Kukunoor,who had famously shunned love stories,steps into this forbidden territory with Mod,a romantic film in which nobody says I love you
Why a love story? asks director Nagesh Kukunoor. His brow is furrowed in concentration,but he is otherwise unruffled. The director who presented a new cinematic language in films such as Rockford and Hyderabad Blues,had famously said that he would never venture into the territory of love stories. But Cupid has finally got Kukunoor,44. The directors latest venture,Mod,is a love story set in a utopian
hill town. At Hotel Crowne Plaza,Delhi,he talks about his new passion:
Mod is a remake of a Taiwanese film,Keeping Watch. Why did the film leave an impression on you?
Mod is not exactly a remake of Keeping Watch. Only the soul of the film is identical. I watched Keeping Watch,as a jury member of the Asian Festival of First Films in Singapore in 2008. Immediately,I saw my version,set in a utopian small town India. In the first 15-20 minutes,I had already made up my mind.
You had said that you will never make a love story. But here it is. What brought about this change of heart?
I thought I had nothing new to add to this subject. But suddenly,I felt that this was the story I could hang my hat on. Mod is about a young girl who works in a clock store and fends for her family. Things change when a stranger comes to the store,and keeps returning to get his watch repaired. He had been with the girl in school and was in love. But,their lives soon arrive at a mod (a turning point). What happens next you have to watch the film for that. Mod was both fun and difficult; difficult because love stories are full of clichés. The worst thing in the world is saying I love you,which never happens in the movie.
Original screenplays or adaptations,which one is easier?
Original screenplays are a whole lot easier than adaptations. With adaptations,you are bound in some way by where the original story runs. Plus,I have never been excited about remakes,because if a classic stood the test of time,I think it should be left alone.
Ayesha Takia was an obvious choice for Mod,given her stellar performance in your previous film,Dor. But,Rannvijay?
While auditioning,I had no idea about Rannvijay apart from the fact that he is an MTV VJ. He fit the role that well. In fact,I think the surprise element of the film is Rannvijay because he has this Roadies image macho,rugged and adventurous.
You are also known for your 40-day shooting schedules for almost all films.
This one took 42 days (sighs),the first time I crossed the 40-day barrier.