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Entertainment – Q&A Ashutosh Gowariker

Shilpa Jamkhandikar
MUMBAI (Reuters) – If there’s one thing common in Ashutosh Gowariker’s films, it’s their length.

Both Oscar-nominated “Lagaan” and the historical romance “Jodhaa Akbar” were over three hours long. Gowariker’s latest film “What’s Your Raashee”, about a boy who must choose the perfect bride in ten days, is no exception.

The director told Reuters in an interview he hoped to make a shorter film some day.

Q: When you announced “What’s Your Raashee”, you had said you wanted to make a light film after “Jodhaa Akbar”. Has it turned out like that?

A: “No, it certainly hasn’t. It was a very tough shoot and this was a genre that I was very new to. But I had a very nice basis to go on, which was Madhu Rye’s novel ‘Kimball Ravenswood’. Also, this was a kind of an experiment, so I was prepared.”

Q: What was the inspiration behind this film? Is it similar to the serial ‘Mr Yogi’?

A: “Actually a Gujarati play based on the novel. I don’t really remember the serial, although I remember that the late Mohan Gokhale played the main character. The novel itself is so rich in texture that it formed a great basis for the script.”

Q: What were the changes you made from the original?

A: “Well, there were a lot of characters from the novel that I couldn’t accommodate in the film, because that would have made it a little too long, even for my good (laughs). There were very small changes, nothing very big.”

Q: What is your idea of romance? What kind of romantic stories do you like to watch?

A: “I like romances where it isn’t so much about the wooing but about just being together, just hanging out. Maybe you aren’t doing much, maybe you are just reading book or something, but I like those kind of romances. Maybe earlier I would have liked the wooing, but now I prefer the companionship.”

Q: There is a very interesting storytelling technique in ‘What’s Your Raashee’, which is one actor playing twelve characters. Was that how you always imagined it?

A: “Yes, in my mind, Priyanka was always playing twelve characters, because I wanted the audience to be clear in their minds that ultimately Harman would choose Priyanka Chopra only. If there were twelve different girls, beauty and fairness could have become a criterion and the audience might have attributed his choice to the looks of a particular girl. Once you are assured that he will choose the same girl, you can sit back and watch the different characters at play.”

Q: Looking back, do you think you would have made any changes?

A: “I think in the film industry there is no scope for remorse. Once a film is made it is gone, into eternity and there is nothing you can do about it. I think fifty years later, when ‘What’s Your Raashee’ is discussed, it will be talked about as a film that is good, but a little too long.”

Q: Are you okay with that description?

A: “Yes, I am okay with it as long as people think it is good. As far as the length was concerned, the story structure was such that there wasn’t much I could do. Even the songs, I felt that a song to characterise a girl would go well, and I went with that.”

Q: Length is something that always comes up as a topic of discussion when it comes to your films. Why is that?

A: (Laughs) “I know, but what can I do? I make long films I admit that. The subjects I choose are such that they demand more time. Someday, I will make a short film. As an audience, you are used to a three-hour running time and I know I am exceeding that, but I am not the only one. ‘Sholay’ was more than three hours as was ‘Mera Naam Joker’ and ‘Sangam’ and ‘Mohabattein’. But someday, I will make a short film, when I find a subject like that.”

Q: What is next?

A: “Next is ‘Khelenge Hum Jee Jaan Se’, a thriller set during the 1930 uprising. It stars Abhishek Bachchan, and I am still in the middle of finalising the rest of the cast.”


September 28, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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