Ways of the devious mind

New-Age Directors

Ways of the devious mind

Anushka Sharma and Kapoor in ‘Badmaash Company’.

As money cascades in, and stakes and risks rise, crisis time comes. Riches have come too early, values have taken a beating and relationships are affected. Yash Raj Films’ Badmaash Company, releasing on May 7, explores all these aspects.

The four friends are Karan (Shahid Kapoor) the genius; Bulbul (Anushka Sharma), the small-town girl; Sikkim boy Zing (Meiyang Chang); and Chandu (Vir Das), who dreams of superstardom. The film marks the writing and directorial debut of actor Parmeet Sethi, who also began his acting career with a Yash Raj film — Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge in 1995. “For me to get that break then was a struggle. But this time, Adi (Aditya Chopra) loved my script enough to want to make it immediately!” says Parmeet.

The director tells you that “blessings from above” made him write this film in six days flat, and that he always had a weakness for movies with a lot of suspense, like Catch Me If You Can. “I also adore Hitchcock. When Adi’s mother Pamela Chopra watched the film and told me that I had a devious brain, I asked her whether it was a compliment or whether I should apologise!” quips Parmeet.

He reveals that all the characters in the film have aspects of his real (but law-abiding!) friends and that he now understands what a woman undergoes during childbirth because “giving birth to a film is no different. It gives so much pain, you go mad, but the creative satisfaction makes it worth it!”

Parmeet has never assisted anyone, but has been a strong observer as an actor. It was the American way in which he wrote the script, complete with cuts that convinced Chopra that he should direct the film.

Laughing about rumours of problems with Shahid Kapoor, he says that Shahid “is very focussed, quick on the uptake, and offered good suggestions. As an actor-turned-director, I know that actors need space and must feel involved in a film. This is what I gave everyone. Suggestions were welcome and also used if they fit my own focussed vision.”

“All my actors have surpassed my expectations, but yes, I must mention Anushka Sharma, who is a revelation after her simple-girl act in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi,” adds the director. “It is difficult to say whether Bulbul, her character, talks more or she does! It was her non-stop talking that convinced me about her when Adi sent her to my office. While she was talking away and even asking me, ‘I talk too much, na?’ I quietly messaged Adi under the table, ‘Thanks. I have found my Bulbul!’”
“My interpretation of the film was that more than a con film it was a journey of four friends, a coming-of-age film and had a strong emotional base besides being very fresh and interesting,” says Shahid Kapoor, the Badmaash gang’s chief. “It’s scary, the way Parmeet’s mind seemed to have thought up the scams here. They can be easily pulled off in real life, but I’ve been told that they were all based on newspaper reports.”

Admitting that he had regretted doing at least seven films since his debut in Ishq Vishq (2003) and wished that he had been a part of films like 3 Idiots, the Dhoom and Munna Bhai series and Krrish, Kapoor stresses that his way of looking at his profession has changed completely since his first film.

“I was a kid then, man!” he says, his smile crinkling his eyes. “I was on a mazaa aa raha hai trip. But now I love attempting something new, I am not scared of a film’s outcome. And if I had an espionage network in place, I wouldn’t see any harm in approaching a filmmaker if a great role or project were being planned! What’s wrong with doing that?”

His continuous association with Pritam seems to be designed, as the composer is also doing his father Pankaj Kapur’s Mausam. “Pritam is the best today in knowing the pulse of the audience, and we have a great track-record with not only this film’s excellent music but also with Jab We Met and Kismat Konnection,” he says.

Vir Das, the popular English standup comedian whose successful show ‘Walking On Broken Das’ is set for a multi-city tour, plays Chandu, the filmi member of the group. “I always take roles that are way different from my show, so that I can get into a new zone as an actor. Even while shooting in Bangkok, I would do shows at night.”

Meiyang Chang, the ex-Indian Idol, who portrays Zing adds, “Shahid, even after our workshops, took the initiative of ensuring that we all bonded. He told us that it was important to see real chemistry in the film and that as a bonus, our relationship would remain in real life!”  Confessing that he was upset that he has not sung on the film score, Chang says that acting is a new high for him. “Getting a film from Yash Raj Films is something that even a big star dreams of, and now I am going to keep acting!”

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