Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye is a a sweet and nice film: Samar Khan
Journalist-turned filmmaker Samar Khan has something 'meetha' (sweet) to offer in his directorial debut Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye.
The film, which released Friday in theatres, talks about "the need for sweetness in all relationships", says Samar.
The title comes from a very basic culinary craving.
"In our country we end all meals with 'meetha' and start and end every new venture with sweets. My writer Rohit Malhotra had just finished writing the last scene. I looked at him and said, 'Yaar, kuch meetha ho jaye!' (Let's have something sweet).' That phrase stuck."
Says Samar: "My experience in television helped me to economize. When you do television you've to be precise with your time and space. I was very clear about what I wanted to do in the film."
He denies that his film was inspired by Steven Spielberg's Terminal. "There're only two similarities. One, they're both situated at airports. Two, both their directors' names start with 's'."
The film was shot at an airport in Malaysia. "We got permission because Malaysia is keen to promote tourism. It was a small airport where only a couple of flights came and went every day. Our art director Sabu Cyril decked it up like an Indian airport."
Kuch Meetha.... is about a group of characters who are stranded at the airport.
"Audiences have seen nothing like this. I tried to break away from as many clichés as possible. Arshad Warsi links all the stories and he himself has a story. But there're other characters who are just as important."
"I needed 18 actors within the budgets that I was working in. I got access to the stars because of my association with them. But it wasn't that easy to convince them about seriousness as a filmmaker."
"Would I be able to make a film? This is what they wondered. Once they heard what I had in mind and that Shahrukh Khan had agreed to be in it, they were more agreeable."
He lights up at Shahrukh's mention.
"He has given my project a certain credibility. But nowhere have I used his face in the advertising. Big stars hesitate to put in a guest appearance because their presence gets blown out of proportions."
"All my actors trusted me. They knew I wouldn't compromise them in any way. The star of the film is the script. There's something sweet and nice about the film."
"I want to break the myth that journalists don't make good films. I feel journalists have an advantage over other filmmakers. They're more observant and they've a knack for writing."
"On top of that I've experience on television. Even though I haven't assisted anyone I've been observing everyone from Sanjay Leela Bhansali to Ram Gopal Varma at work.
"I've picked up tips from both Karan Johar and David Dhawan. I'm an amalgamation of everyone and yet I'm my own person. I don't think people will pounce on my film. I haven't done anything here that I didn't believe in. Kuch Meetha.... is the kind of film I'd like to see."
Asked about other journalist-turned-directors, Samar says: "I don't believe in Khalid Mohamed's style of filmmaking. But Kunal Kohli's Hum Tum was very nice. So was his first film Mujhse Dosti Karoge."
When I point out that Kohli's Hum Tum was not original Khan retorts. "Fair enough. I'd rather see an engaging rip off than a bland original. Rather Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin than Rog or Kisna."
Samar believes the film market is open to new ideas.
"Whether it was Mukul Anand, Madhur Bhandarkar or Farhan Akhtar, innovative directors are always welcome. I understand commercial cinema. I won't be innovative at the cost of audiences' sensibilities. Ultimately cinema is for entertainment. And I'm being pitched with other very innovative films including Kamal Haasan's Mumbai Xpress. It's a challenge to get audiences to come see my film."
So has it been easy to make his first film?
"Like my cameraman Samir Arya told me the other day, 'God has been our co-pilot in this journey. Compared with what other new directors have to go through, it's been relatively easy for me. My producers Shemaroo and I were first-timers. We were learning to swim together. They too gave this project their best shot."