What’s your latest film Dev D all about? Isn’t it based on the film Devdas?
Yes it is basically the same story of Devdas; however the main change is placing that same story in context with today’s day and age. So we have the same kind of obsession and all other feelings, but this time with more of the materialistic addictions to boot.
As I said, the main change is the situation that we are portraying the story in. So, it is a whole new alien world with a lot of unknown stuff happening that we all know about, whereas the story is the same as that of the book. The change lies in the circumstances and the environment.
You character ‘Dev D’; doesn’t it sound like a hip way of saying Dev-Das?
Yes it does. Basically it is a contemporary take on Devdas with the typical spoilt and pampered brat kind of character, who is obsessed with Paro and in later stages; it is this obsession that changes to addiction.
What was it like shooting for this film?
Working on Dev D was great. Anurag has been my old friend and I loved working with him. He is a very spontaneous person. And it is this spontaneity that pushed me to be myself. Anurag wouldn’t say anything even when I played around with things, which actually encouraged me a lot.
Can you recall any tough moment while shooting for the film?
The overall shoot of the film was tough, so to say. There were times when the work hours got really long and the going was slow. Some shots were tough while others were easy, some days were really good while some just simply bad.
The workload and the pressure that came along was hard and really tough to deal with. Later, there were days when it was just hard to go out there and shoot any scene. The reason for this ‘pressure’ is because the film is not superficial and that it really digs into the topic to reveal raw emotions.
What is your opinion of Anurag as a director?
Anurag is not just a good friend, but also a very talented and a great person to work with. He is really hard working and has a clear vision of what he wants. Overall, it was really exciting to work with him.
How well do you think Dev D will fare considering the fact that it is a satirical piece and also that there are two female newcomers in the lead?
I don’t define film on the basis of commercial and non commercial, because, that way, it becomes easy for me to do my job. We basically segregate our films for own comfort. Creativity to me is about putting 100% into what you are doing and Anurag does just that.
But I feel that this film will work commercially as ‘UTV Spotboy’ is producing it, which, I feel is a step towards commercial success. The film has a great director and it is a great product overall. Having said that, the film’s commercial success depends on how far we go in selling this film to the public.
What was going through your mind when you read the script?
I had a lot of things playing on my mind with this script like the urban drug cult, youth, how they are mislead etc… Dev D allowed us to narrate this same thought to the people.
Do you think this film will stand out in the cluster of other films at the Box-Office?
To tell you frankly, when I was doing the film I asked my friends a couple of questions, spoke about the story and a couple of scenes. However, they never guessed which book I was talking about. So, in a way, it is really different from Devdas and yet at the same time is basically the same.
How about your co-stars?
My co-stars were very hard working and natural actors. And the nicest part is that they fitted so well into the parts. Essentially, they are very different but their approach to the task in hand was very similar.
Dev D is said to be having very highly sexually explicit content. What’s your take on this?
If you look closely, you will find that there is hardly any sexual content. You can compare it to other Bollywood films and you will surely see the difference.
The problem of the ‘sexual content’ arises because other films that are made are larger than life. So, we digest the sexually explicit content in item songs.
In fact I am stupefied and surprised when I see Bollywood and its films that are so in your face with their item numbers and the skimpy clothing. Dev D is an honest and true telling of a tale of sex without any distortion.
Of the film’s music, which tracks do you like the most?
In all, there are 18 tracks in the album. And my personal favourites are ‘Mahi Mennu’, ‘Nayan Tarse’ and ‘Emosanal Attyachaar’.
Talking of ‘Emosanal Attyachar’, it has been catching up lately. What’s the concept behind it?
‘Emosanal Attyachar’ is basically my character’s view of what is being played out on him. The song plays with the plot and story in such a way that it enhances the scene but refrains from breaking the flow. ‘Emosanal Attyachar’ is one track which puts a smile on your face, but doesn’t trivialize the story. It’s what I would call as an ‘unexpected track’.
Is Dev D satirical in nature?
Absolutely not, it is not a satire in any way. Instead, it is a dramatic feature with lots of dark dry humour. The reason we have this humour is because the film deals with a heavy script and an uneasy topic. It just becomes easier to digest this mix with a little humour.