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|April 29, 2000||
'It's good they are generating this interest'
Arjun Sablok's only claim to fame was the fact that he was Yash Chopra's assistant. Until, out of the blue, he was selected by Pantaloon to direct their first every foray into Bollywood, Na Tum Jaano Na Hum. What turned heads everywhere, though, was the casting coup -- heart throb Hrithik Roshan and the Deol girl, Esha.
My film is a love story. I can't really give the plot away. But I can assure you that it's a family entertainer. You can watch it with your family, take your date to see the film without feeling embarrassed by it. The film has no villains. It's a triangular love story with Hrithik Roshan, Esha Deol and Saif Ali Khan. The film's story is based on a lot of real life happenings. We've just given it a cinematic spin.
With Hrithik and Esha, you have a casting coup.
I haven't taken Hrithik and Esha because of the interest they would generate. I have taken them merely on their reaction to my script. When I narrated the script to Hrithik four months ago, he had goose pimples. He cried by the end of the narration. And then, he called me up and told me he can't get it out of his mind.
Initially, I had no plans of casting Esha. It was only when I was shown some photographs that I thought I would try her. I couldn't meet her, of course. I had to narrate the script to Hemaji first and then she narrated it to Esha. They both felt it was a good story. It was only after that that I narrated the script to Esha. She had a similar reaction to it. That's how I knew she was just right for the role. The funny thing is, she asked me whether she would be able to do the role. I assured her she was perfect for it.
It's good they are generating this interest. It means people are going to come and watch the film, which is what I want. But what I am really looking at is their performance and acting. That will make me more happy.
What are their roles like in the film?
I can't really discuss their roles at length. All I can say is, they suit my characters very well. I don't think many know this, but Hrithik has this very vulnerable quality in him. Despite his hunk-like, strong image, he is very vulnerable and childlike. Just like the character of my film.
Esha has this very girl-next-door look. Her character, though, very modern, has the right morals and values. Just because she goes to a nightclub, it doesn't mean she is a bad girl. Esha is a very shy girl. And she and Hrithik have the right chemistry.
How did you get this project?
I've known the Pantaloon group for quite sometime now. I have done quite a few commercials for them. One day, we were just sitting and discussing some stuff. Suddenly, they asked me to make a film. They asked me when I could start it. I told them if I had to make a film, I'd have to finish doing the script first. And that's how it started.
What was working with Yash Chopra like? Will your film have the Yashraj trademark?
Funnily enough, I haven't been Yashji's chief assistant director at all. In fact, I have been everything but that. I have actually cut and pasted in the editing room. Seen to the continuity, costumes and hung the camera. I even went to Roshan Taneja to learn acting. I believe that, to be a good director, you need to learn everything.
Yash Chopra is the king of stories and scripts. I have learnt from him that you need to have a strong script. My films definitely won't have the Chopra trademark but, since it is a love story, my opinions do match theirs. What I learnt from the Chopras' is the dedication and efficiency one needs to have in order to make a film. He has an unbelievably efficient staff. I hope to be that way too.
Arjun Sablok spoke to Sharmila Taliculam.
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