Director Amit Khanna who made his debut with the romantic drama Tutiya Dil is back with a complete entertainer, Badmashiyan. He talks about the film, his cast and why romantic comedies are an easy genre.


Tell us about Badmashiyan. What’s the story behind the title?

The script of Badmashiyan was offered to me by the production house and I liked the story, especially the screenplay. The way it unfolds is really unique; it’s the kind of screenplay that will keep the audience at the edge of their seat. In the first 20 minutes, they might feel that the story is going in a linear pattern, but post that they will start understanding that it’s absolutely different. Initially it may feel like a regular Hindi film but once it starts you see that there’s a lot more to it. That is what made it so interesting.

I think the title was generally something that came up because all the characters were doing a lot of mischief. The Producer, Vijay Gutte and I got thinking and we simply translated mischief in Hindi which is ‘badmash’. And these days all titles are in this particular zone of ‘Khamoshiyan’, ‘Bewakoofiyan’ and in that zone we came up with ‘Badmashiyan’. So it just came about naturally, we didn’t have to brainstorm much.

Romantic comedies are still a tricky genre in Bollywood. How easy or tough was it to deal with this particular genre?

I feel that romantic comedies are one of the easiest and most accepted genres for the audience. Primarily because these are feelings that probably everybody has experienced in their lives; love is something that most of us go through. I feel that a normal person can relate to a romantic film far more than any other genre – like action or horror films. Hence it wasn’t very difficult to tackle this genre but at the same time making it interesting was key. Since everyone has a love story in their life, I didn’t want to show what they already have, it had to be a little aspirational, a little motivational, something that gives people another perspective.

At the same time you need to feel that warmth in your heart after watching a particular scene, experience that mushy feeling because that’s what a love story should aim at achieving. So that was a little complicated. Also our film has a lot of humor in it and making people laugh is very difficult. I don’t believe in slapstick humor and prefer situational comedies and that is what Badmashiyan is. The actors are not cracking jokes to make people laugh but the situations they are dealing with will make people laugh, they will find it entertaining.

Badmashiyan stars Suzana Mukherjee and Sidhant Gupta who featured in your previous film Tutiya Dil as well. Why did you choose to go with the same actors?

We had a very good equation with each other while working on Tutiya Dil. I think it is very important that a director shares a comfort zone with the actors. We were keen on taking fairly fresh faces, as the screenplay demanded it. So I thought it made sense to work with people whom I’ve earlier worked with and they have done a good job. They are both extremely hardworking and fit the part very well.

How did you zero in on Sharib Hashmi to play the character of a don?

When I saw Filmistaan I felt that Sharib is a very good actor. I feel that a person who is a good performer can do any part with the same conviction and level of performance. The idea wasn’t to cast a person who is a typical don – beefy, huge and scary looking. The character of the don is very cute and Sharib was cute and funny in Filmistaan. The character has several layers, which only an actor who is good at his job can manage. And I didn’t have any doubt about Sharib. He has pulled it off very well; caught on to the Haryanvi accent, he danced, did action sequences, he had multiple things to do in the film.

Did you have any workshops for the actors before the shoot?

We had a month long workshop before we started shooting. It was mainly for the actors to understand their characters. Also the characters played by Suzana and Sidhant are totally opposite from their previous film. Suzana plays a con girl in Badmashiyan whereas in Tutiya Dil she played a girl next door. It is a difficult character because she doesn’t have a conscience in this film, and it is a very difficult thing for any sensible girl of today to understand. Also I feel that nowadays actresses don’t get to do much comedy. Earlier female actors like Sridevi and Juhi Chawla were very good with their comic timing. These days girls rarely get roles where they are funny throughout the film like Juhi was in Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke or Kajol was in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. So we had to work on the comic timing too.

Sidhant played a sexoholic in Tutiya Dil while in this he plays a simple sober boy who believes in true love. So he had to underplay his entire character in the film and that was again a challenge. This is the first time I was working with Gunjan (Malhotra) and we had to build a rapport. Being a new girl she had to be moulded not just in acting but styling, grooming etc. But she got into the character beautifully. Karan (Mehra) was the last to be casted and we had readings with him. With Sharib it was more about working on the dialect, the body language and for him to gel with other people in the group. It was a good workshop.

What kind of music can one look forward to in Badmashiyan?

We have a lot of romantic songs in the film. There’s one by Ankit Tiwari called ‘Shaitaniyan’, that has received a very good response. Mohit Chauhan has sung a number called ‘Thode se hum thode se tum’ and we have unplugged versions of both the songs. We have a Haryanvi song picturised on Sharib, sung by Mika. And there’s ‘Kudiya baimaan’, a fun song. The songs are interesting and go with the script. They aren’t lengthy as we didn’t have a lot of scope for songs but have used them in the right way so that people don’t deviate from the story.

Which was the funniest scene to shoot during the entire film?

There is a scene between Sharib and another don in the film. That person had to spit out chewing gum and Sharib was standing in front of him, so he kept spitting on Sharib’s face. It was hilarious. At the end of his dialog, this person had to say a word, ‘Macho’. And he would keep forgetting the dialog and just say Macho and spit on Sharib. This happened around 20 times and poor Sharib had to keep touching up his make up. It was the funniest to shoot and it has turned out really funny too.

One reason for people to go and watch Badmashiyan.

Badmashiyan is not restricted to any age group, it’s a family film that offers comedy, romance, a little bit of thrill and drama. It is a wholesome, entertaining film.

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I’m working on my other film written by Niranjan Iyengar for the same production house. That should be starting sometime in the middle of this year.