One morning this week director Vibhu Puri who is all set make his directorial debut with the period film Hawaizaada about India’s first aviator, woke up to be informed that he was making a film called Chenab Gandhi with Parineeti Chopra and Varun Gandhi to be produced by Mrs Smita Thackeray.
“That was news to me. I have a script called Chenab Gandhi which I was supposed to direct for Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The project didn’t happen. I’ve the script with me. But I haven’t approached any producer with it. Right now I am too consumed by the post-production and release of Hawaizaada to even think of any other film,” says Puri.
Puri says he hasn’t met Parineeti or Varun for Chenab Gandhi. “I met Parineeti two years ago for Hawaizaada and never after that. As for Varun, I’ve never met him in my life.So I think the stories about Chenab Gandhi are fabrications.”
Vibhu Puri is right now undergoing birth pangs of his first baby. He is the first filmmaker to make his directorial debut with a period film. “It was a tough call. I could have easily started my career with a contemporary story. But the story of Bapuji Talpade was something I needed to tell. It took four year of my life. I spent 16 months shooting it. Now when I look at it, all the effort was worth it.”
Vibhu hopes to revive the era of the musical with Hawaizaada. “Audiences have forgotten the pleasures of lip-sync songs. Actors are afraid to sing on screen.I was very sure that I wanted my characters to sing. But the songs have a different flavour and spin. Whether it is a mentor-pupil song filmed on Mithun Chakraborty and Ayushmann Khurrana or a romantic duet with Ayushmann and Pallavi, the tone is conversational.”
The director gives full credit to his cast for keeping the proceedings real. “Ayushmann surrendered himself to the role. I don’t think I could’ve done the film without him.”
At 2 hours 23 minutes of playing-time Hawaizaada clocks a periodicity that the director had to work very hard to create convincingly.
“Our scale and vision were epic. But the budget certainly was not,” admits Puri.