All is Well is a complete package of wonderful actors
Varun Bajaj, son of the experienced filmmaker Shyam Bajaj, is all set to release his first production, All Is Well. In an exclusive chat, the young producer talks about his experience putting together the family drama.
How did All Is Well come into being?
My Dad, Shyam Bajaj, had met Umeshji (Shukla) during Dhondte Reh Jaonge. We connected and wanted to work together. We were working on a couple of scripts but then Umeshji got busy with OMG – Oh My God!
Post that we got back to our discussions and he suggested the script of All Is Well, a family oriented drama weaving a social message at the end. It was the kind of film we all wanted to make. So we first took it to Bhushanji (Kumar, T-series head, for co-production). And then approached Abhishek (Bachchan) and Rishiji (Kapoor).
Being your first solo production – under your own banner Alchemy Productions – did you choose a family drama genre project because of the wider appeal?
We were looking for a good script, that was the most important thing. A lot of effort and time went into this script. All of us knew we wanted to make a movie that leaves the audience with something to ponder over. So, we went ahead with this script.
How involved were you in the casting process of All Is Well, as nowadays the stars govern the box-office numbers?
Since the time Umeshji was scripting this film he had Rishiji in mind and after the first narration we knew Rishiji and Abhishek would be prefect as father and son. We are all there to support the director but at the end of day the director is the captain of the ship. So, we all agreed with him and felt that Rishiji and Abhishek could carry the film.
While Abhishek Bachchan has had a few hits in the recent past, he is not a Khan or a Kapoor or Kumar to guarantee big openings. As a producer weren’t you skeptical about him as the hero of All Is Well?
We are not skeptical at all and strongly believed in the script. There are some great actors in the film like Abhishek, Rishi Kapoor, Asin, Supriya Pathak and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub. So, we are not looking at it as a solo hero film, we are looking at it as a complete package of wonderful actors. And of course, the script being another hero in the film, we were pretty confident of what we were making and who we were casting.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while making this film?
The biggest challenge was when the movie got stalled because of Smritiji (Irani), obviously. We all had to pull ourselves back together and knew we needed to finish this film. We faced lots of ups and downs but that’s what film-making is all about. But we stuck together like a family in this roller-coaster ride.
Being your first venture, are you nervous?
What is your expectation from the audience with All Is Well?
First of all, we really want the film to be accepted by the audience and that’s the biggest challenge. We really hope the audience go to the cinema halls with their families and they return as better, happier families.
In the future what kind of films would you like to make as a producer?
I completely believe that one should never shut any doors and say I don’t want to make this kind of film or that kind of film. If there is a good script, whatever genre it is, if one is convinced, then one should make it. The most important thing in film-making is what attracts your sensibility and what you believe in.
Are there any other films planned under Alchemy Films Production?
Yes, we are working on one more film with Umesh and another one with Remo D’Souza.
Given that your father is an experienced filmmaker what tips has he given you regarding this industry?
I think the most important thing in this industry is to remain calm and patient. And that’s one of the few things that I have derived from his personality. It’s very easy to lose your cool as one is working with so many people and there is so much stress. But his calmness and patience, which I took from him, helps.
You have made a short film, any plans of direction?
Yes, definitely in the future.
Did you always want to be in the movie business?
I grew up in a film environment and was constantly on the sets of my dad’s films. So, I think this is the only thing I know. I studied direction for a year at New York Film Academy. This is all I want to do.
Any plans of acting?
No, I will leave that to the experts.
What kind of films influenced you as a child and, later, as a budding filmmaker?
I think there are loads of films. In film school we watched a lot of cinema, but as a child I watched a lot of Satyajit Ray and Amitabh Bachchan movies. I think during my growing up years he’s (Amitabh Bachchan) been my biggest hero and a strong inspiration. It’s quite crazy that my first production stars his son.