Vikas Bahl, who dons a producer, director and a writer's hat, believes in making a happy film, which will make his audience happy. And the director is all set to make people happy with his third film, "Shaandaar".
He created magic on-screen with his second directorial film "Queen", and he is now gearing up for the release of "Shaandaar", which features Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt in the lead role.
Ahead of the release of "Shaandaar", Vikas talks to IBTimes India about the idea of making a film on destination wedding and its cast.
Here are excerpts from the interview --
How did you come up with the idea of a destination wedding?
I think no one was inviting me for a destination wedding ever, so I thought lets go and have our own.
While working on Shaandaar, did you feel that your story would be welcomed or appreciated.
Well, you never know whether the story would be appreciated or not, but that is the story you want to tell at that point in time and you put in your best efforts to get it right. But basically we want to make a nice happy film, it doesn't take life too seriously, it doesn't have too many issues, it's just a nice way of looking at life. I thought if you make a happy film, chances are there that people would like to watch it.
What was the idea behind casting Shahid Kapoor, Pankaj Kapoor and Alia Bhatt in the lead roles?
Well, Shahid was the first person I spoke to about the idea and he loved it, he pursued it as much as I did and made sure that we do something like this. And then we decided that the whole film should have a fairytale feel and it should be a destination wedding, but slightly in a magnificent world. We wanted a little princess for this fairy tale so Alia was the first person, probably the only person we could think of.
After that we wanted to cast someone as Alia's dad and while it might seem like we wanted to cast Pankaj sir and Shahid in a same film, honestly he was the best person to play that character. I was very nervous going to him and I know that he would smell the fact that if I to cheat on casting, so he told me 'you just give me the script and like every other film I will read it and I will get back to you whether I want to do it or not'. Nothing else will convince him to do that and like a professional he got back to us in like two to three weeks and he did the film.
And what about Sanah Kapoor?
Actually, she came for audition without telling any of us who she is and what she does, and she was the best and after that we got to know that she is Shahid's sister.
So how was your experience working with Pankaj Kapoor, Shahid and Alia
I think they are really fabulous actors, they are so committed to films that they push you and they are so experienced, their experience helps me make a better film. They are constantly coming up with ideas, thoughts, constantly adding to the scenes and characters, so I think all of them are just fabulous to work with.
"Queen" was a standout amongst the best movies and it also won several awards last year, so is there any pressure on you to deliver a hit with Shaandaar?
I think all my pressure has gone now because "Queen" has done so much good for me that now I can just go and make all the films I am making without worrying about their fate.
Buzz is that Kapil Sharma is working in your next movie, how true is that?
That is not true, but Kapil is a very dear friend and I really want to work with him at some point of time.
You have often been associated with serious topics like "Udaan", "Black", "No One Killed Jessica" and now you have directed films like "Queen" and "Shaandaar". Why the sudden the shift from serious to fun movies?
I have produced these films, I produce what my directors like to pick, and I am fan of their work. I wish I was as capable as them to make films like 'Lootera' or 'Dev D' or 'Ugly', but I love producing different films and I love directing different films.
So which role do you like the most -- producer, director, or writer?
I love producing and marketing films, which Anurag, Vikram, Abhishek and all these people make because they are just fabulous directors and I just can't make those films.
Direction is addictive, but I haven't done much of it till now.
And writing is the most liberating thing in the world. You can just let your imagination go wild, pick up your pen and paper, and keep writing.
What were the reactions of other Phantom producers - Anurag, Vikram and Madhu Mantena - when you showed them the script of "Shaandaar"?
I think they really enjoyed it. We had a really nice time when we wrote it and they were like you are mad.
How did you approach Karan Johar with the script?
I told Karan that is the story I want to make and after two hours he was just giving me ideas on what all happens at destination wedding, I made my notes, and I went out. I think we just bonded over the idea of doing a film like this and a lot of ideas came from Karan's experiences.
So what are your other upcoming projects?
Right now I have produced Udta Punjab, so I am very excited about that. Vikram has started his next film, Anurag is doing his next film, so I am mostly excited for producing those films.
And as a director I would be making a short film in probably December or January.