He is one of the kings of the romantic Bollywood film and you have seen his work as a director in Mujhse Dosti Karoge, Hum Tum, Fanaa and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic. We are talking about the fab director Kunal Kohli. It seems Kohli loves everything about filmmaking and wanted to try his hand at producing as well. After co-producing TPTM, he decided to go it solo as a producer and his first project Break Ke Baad is getting ready for release this week. Once again it is a romance, and the story Kohli says is very relevant for today. In a wonderful, and many times laugh out loud, conversation, Kunal Kohli talks Break Ke Baad and even more filmi things!
If you had to describe the story of the film what would you say?
It is a very relevant film for today. Not just for today’s youth, but also for today’s parents, because it speaks about the space we all need in our relationships, whether it is with our loved ones or our parents. That is what it is all about.
Why did you choose this film to produce?
I just liked it – it is that simple. I am not a moneybags studio, so I don’t think with a calculator and I don’t think with my bank balance. I think with my heart for my films, with everything in life actually. I just decided I liked that story and that I wanted to make this film.
How do you feel Danish has done as a first time director?
I better think he is good or I have to ask the question where the “beep” did I put my money (laughs). I better think he is bloody good (laughs).
Deepika and Imran are an unseen pair. What made you think they would look good together on screen?
Well, I think it is always nice to have an interesting cast for a film, whether it was Aamir and Kajol, or Saif and Rani or Hrithik-Rani-Kareena in Mujhse Dosti Karoge. I think it is always nice to come up with an interesting star cast and I have somehow been fortunate and lucky that I have been able to get a good star cast together for all my films. We went to Deepika and Imran and they were the only people who said yes to work with us… I am just kidding (laughs). We liked what we saw of their films, whether it was Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na or Love Aaj Kal, or so many other films like Deepika in Om Shanti Om. We liked what we saw and we wanted to cast the two of them together. I think someone should have cast them before this, but I am glad no one thought of it and we did!
They have a cute chemistry on screen. What was it like working with on set?
It was a lovely time working with them on set because both of them are very nice people. I think it is very important to make films with good people, and good films get made with good people. You know, everyone talks about chemistry between couples and why do these people work and why do these people not work, but you know chemistry is something that is written in the script. Yes, the actors do come with their additions to it, but if there is no chemistry on the script level it cannot come just by the actors.
This is your first film as a solo producer, so what was the experience like for Break Ke Baad?
See, I am obsessed with every aspect of filmmaking and being a producer is one of the biggest aspects of filmmaking, so I enjoyed it as well. There is no aspect of filmmaking that I don’t enjoy. I loved the process of being a producer because for me it doesn’t matter whether I am a producer or director or a critic as I was in Chalo Cinema as long as I have got something to do with films, I’ll love it! Like Raj Kapoor said, ‘Jeena yaha marna yaha iske siva jaana kaha‘. I don’t know what else to do but make films.
From your first film Mujhse Dosti Karoge to now, how has film changed?
It’s not changed. You know, how has hearing music changed, whether you are hearing music on a record or a cassette or on a CD or on a mp3 drive or whatever, music is music. They way you hear it might have changed, but the music is still the arranged music. So, whether the technical part of filmmaking has changed, ah, who cares about that, the fact is you are still making a film and that hasn’t changed. That is what is lovely about the process of filmmaking. The process of filmmaking is to do with the story. It has to do with passion, it has to do with heartache, it has to do with heart-burn, it has to do with intensity, and that is what it will always be.
Do you have a favorite song on the OST?
I do. I always do. I think my favorite song is ‘Ajab Leher Meri Padosi’. I love the words that Prasoon Joshi has come out with. I think Prasoon Joshi is a genius in our times. Right from Hum Tum, which was his first big commercial success and mine too, I think Prasoon and me have shared a wonderful journey. Whether it is Hum Tum or Faana or Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic, we have come up with some great songs and I think the music of Break Ke Baad is in that genre.
How is the music incorporated into the film?
This is background music because that is the way the director preferred it. If you ask me, I would always have lip synch songs, because I love the concept of lip synch songs. I love singing songs myself and I don’t like songs playing in the background. Whenever a song is playing in the background I want to sing it and I will make my heroes sing it. But Danish preferred to have background songs, so they are background songs.
What do you think is the best thing about Break Ke Baad?
I think the one thing they are really going to love about Break Ke Baad is that it is a film they are going to connect with in terms of thought process, in terms of look, in terms of attitude. The thought process not just in a relationship when you are in love with someone, but relationships when you are emotionally connected to someone like your parents, because it even talks about that part of life and relationships.
You not only used the classic posters and trailers to promote the film, you also utilized Facebook and Twitter. Would you say that has been effective, and would you use it again in the future?
I think Twitter and Facebook are important but not just to promote your film, but even to make social comments. Like I tweeted that I loved the promo of Yamla Pagla Deewana, which is a film with all three Deols. I am not just promoting my film on Twitter, I am promoting anything I like or any attitude that I have or anything I want to say. I spoke about Obama’s visit to India. I spoke about the Commonwealth Games. I speak about a lot of things that happen in our country. So yes, I do use it as a means to promote my films, but I also use it as a way to express myself.
What’s next for you as director?
I am doing a film with Saif, which I shall hopefully start next year. That is again a film on modern day relationships because I think that is something that I would like to address and something I would like to understand.
Starring Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone and directed by Danish Aslam, Break Ke Baad opens in the US on Wednesday, and in the rest of the world on Friday. Be sure to check it out and be sure to check out our interview with Danish here! We also have interviews with Imran and Deepika coming up so watch this space for more!