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Interview: Abhiraj Minawala: Casting Salman Khan in my film is a dream I’d wish to accomplish soon!!!

With the debut of the star cast, Loveyatri also marks the debut of such a phenomenal director like Abhiraj who managed to uplift the film with all new faces in it to the trending position. The film is scheduled to be released on 5th of October. Meanwhile we had a word with the director of Loveyatri, Abhiraj Minawala.

In an interview with cinespeaks, Abhiraj answers…

Q. What was the reason of taking up Loveyatri as your first project?
The film is written by a Gujarati person. I came across the story through Salman Bhai. He gave me the idea and as it is I’m very close to the sate, I could completely relate myself with the film. And I felt that it’s a huge and impressive project to start-up with.

Q. How did Salman Khan and you collaboratively came to the conclusion of the plot of Loveyatri?
I met Salman Khan while he was shooting for the sultan, we had a brief conversation at that time. We discussed that I wanted to direct a film. For a year, there was no plans for Loveyatri, accidentally I met him in Yash Raj Studio’s as he was shooting for Tiger Zinda Hai. He asked me whether I’ve some ideas of the films. I narrated him a few scripts, he appreciated all but he suggested that I should take off with something like-hearted. I tell him that I’ve a plan to do a film based on Gujarat. That was the time when he realized that I’m a Gujarati. I said the story and he came on board. That’s when the journey of Loveyatri began.

Q. Were you nervous while narrating the script to Salman Khan? And were you getting him on board as an actor?
Fortunately, I hadn’t narrated him the script, it was done by the writer. But meeting him, I wasn’t having that sort of nervousness as it is I already worked with him on Sultan, and I had a really good equation with him. I was far more comfortable to have a conversation with him. I had no plans of getting him on board as an actor as it is I’m the first time director. I can’t ask for the biggest superstar which he is to work for me as an actor. So obviously. I haven’t earned that space where I can ask him to act for me. Besides, One fine day, I wish to direct a film which will star Salman Khan.

Q. How difficult was the casting process for you?
Aayush Sharma was looking for a few scripts just like as I was doing. I had an interaction with Salman Bhai over the call, while he was shooting in Abu Dhabi for Tiger Zinda Hai. He asked me about the casting process and threw a few suggestions on my way. I was planning to cast Aayush Sharma, but I didn’t know him that well. I had a few glimpses of him during Sultan. The next day I met him and that’s when I learned that even he has read the script. HE liked it and came on board. Prior to this, I met Ram Kapoor when I initially read the full-fledged script. I gradually learnt that Ram Kapoor is so relatable, he is from the same school, same town and have same thoughts. He quickly hoped into it. After watching 2 States for the second time, I was planning to get Ronit Roy on board. I realized that there are no dates available, still I managed to meet him. He liked the film and discovered a way out to do this film.

Q. Was Loveyatri the initial script or you were planning for something different as your directorial debut?
I was planning to start with Action-comedy or Sports drama but eventually besides Salman Khan, I shared the idea with few more people. One of them was my mentor, Manish Sharma, so even he suggested me to start with something different. Action Comedy needs huge budget which is not suitable for a debut. Post Loveyatri, I shall take up several different genres. These are the genres which I grow up watching. Having said that, I don’t wish to restrict myself to one kind of genres, but it should be entertaining at the first place.

Q. Besides your debut, it’s a debut film for Aayush and Warina as well. So were they nervous on sets while shooting, also how did you built a bond with them?
They’re the finest actors as far as the debut is considered. We’ve attended several workshops together to create a bond. I used to call them for several readings and used to spent as much as time possible with them to create a faith and trust level. I wanted them to get in a comfort zone and this technique helped us a lot.

Q. What was the piece of advice which you received from Salman Khan?
Salman Khan never visited on the sets, he gave me full liberty to shoot the film in my own way. The only thing which he advised me was shoot a film which is a clean family film. He also advised me to follow my instinct and that how I went further and shot Loveyatri.

Written by: Aakash Gala

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