– Yaser Khan
Talk about a perfect rom-com that connects youth like no other romantic fantasy will and Luv Ranjan is a name that’ll be on the top of your tongue. A director who perfectly captures the true essence of a guy, a girl and the friends around them in a relationship, Luv’s films have been appreciated by both critics and the audiences. ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’ is the director’s fourth film which deals with the two most important people in a man’s life when in a relationship, his best friend and his girlfriend. The film tracks the war between the best friend and the girlfriend.
We sat down with director and producer Luv Ranjan who chatted with us on his upcoming film, his journey to fame and his future in Bollywood. Let’s take a look at what he had to say:
Q. Is there a reason behind casting the same trio Kartik Aryan, Nushrat Bharucha and Sunny Singh in all your films?
Luv Ranjan: I ask myself why shouldn’t I cast them. I’ve started a journey with these actors. I haven’t found a reason to not work with them. My first film with them Akash Vaani didn’t work. I got all the more reason to give them a good film to do after having seen bad times together. It also has to do with the small town mentality of mine. They are hardworking actors. They have a trust factor in me. In future I may write a script where these actors don’t fit in a character. Then I may not cast any one of them.
Q. The monologues mouthed by Kartik Aryan are a rage. Can we see that in this film as well? What is the thought process that you go through before shooting these monologues?
Luv Ranjan: That famous monologue cannot be abused. For me as a filmmaker and for him as an actor, it cannot get boring to have it in every film every year. I can tell you this much that you have not feel the presence of it but not in the same form. ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’ series is a rant with a Boys Vs Girls situation, whereas ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’ is not in the similar zone. Dialogue writing is not given the value that it deserves. There’s a lack to understanding of the depth of a dialogue. It’s not about what’s being delivered, it’s about how it’s being delivered. It’s important to get it phonetically right, replacing a key might make a sentence sound different. Writing a monologue is a deal of drafting content of around four pages where the actor cannot get stuck delivering it. Even if the actor has a great ability to memorize the dialogues but if the writing isn’t proper, delivery becomes an issue. The flow needs to be right. We used to read the dialogues loud to listen to it and see if it’s sounding right.
Q. Among the many hit films you have, there’s a film like Akash Vaani TOI which hasn’t worked, what do you think must have been the reason?
Luv Ranjan: In this industry the Monday after the weekend of a film decides what he/ she is doing next. Sometimes you want to make a film but the timing may not be right. When I made Akash Vaani I was advised to make it as my third film rather than the first one because in today’s time we understand women’s issues better than before. It would have been accepted better if it released in the recent times. Sometimes the society decides what works and what doesn’t. A filmmaker calculates where the society stands at, when making a film to understand where it is heading. I may not have the ability to make a first film that garners 100 crores but my 23rd film could be a 100 crore film. I may make the third edition of ‘Pyar Ka Punchnama’ with a woman’s perspective.
Q. The situations in your films are so relatable, do you extract these stories and gestures that we see onscreen from your personal life?
Luv Ranjan: More than the characters it is the situation that most of us can relate with. As a writer I take nuisances from the characters I see in front of me. It’s a little bit of yourself, your friends and maybe a stranger who you observe at a coffee shop with his girlfriend. The Best friend Vs Girl friend theory is observed among us all. Even married people tend to change with the amount of response they need to give their partners and the attention their partners require. A best friend knows you inside out for a really long period of time as opposed to someone you fall for and may not know you as well as your best friend. Best friends may understand each other too well that they might have internal jokes that the other understands without having to say much and the lover gets left out in the scenario. A best friend has to understand that the attention is going to get divided because they is someone equally important in their friend’s life. Every outing cannot be with the three folks coming together. It’s a delicate balance.
Q. Tell us something about your background and how did films happen to you?
Luv Ranjan: I am a son of a businessman from Ghaziabad. My dad got into politics and we were distributors of LPG gas. Till 12th I was a science student. It wasn’t something I wanted to do but I took it because my friends were. After my 12th, I decided to get into civil services. I took an admission in Hindu college a for civil services course. I used to watch a lot of films at that time. My mother was a writer in Hindi and started doing it when we all grew up. I started reading all of her books. I started writing in 9th and my mother used to support me. During my civil services course I used to surf this college website for material and there was a section for career guidance in it. I ended up reading about film making there and got a list of things to do. I learnt a few things about making my writing skills correctly by reading a book. I came across a course that my parents wouldn’t mind me doing and it was related to Production, Direction and TV journalism. My dad agreed to send me there. After my studies there, I came to Mumbai to find a house to later on start my career in the city. By the 2nd day I got a shoot work but couldn’t find a house. I was staying in a hotel. On the shoot, as assistant director advised me to not make a film for the next 2 years but work in a production to observe all that’s done to make a film. That’s the best piece of advise I got.
Q. The subjects that you make have been gracing the web series platform of entertainment. Would you take a direction towards making a web series?
Luv Ranjan: When I came up with ‘Pyar Ka Punchnama’ there were three other youth centric films from major production houses in line. Somehow our film went onto do the best. The concept of web series came after the first installment released and a lot of films came themed around the same subject. I know that this formula does work with the audiences and brings in money as well. For sequels I feel unless you have a story that can surpass the previous film, there’s no point making it. As a filmmaker, there’s an excitement to have audiences come to a theatre. The idea of people watching my film in train or anywhere else hasn’t appealed to me.
Q. What is the reason behind this tongue twisting title ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ke Sweety’?
Luv Ranjan: Honestly I couldn’t come up with a title. Eventually it came down to what the film is about. So I started playing with the character names. I came up with the title first in English and then converted it into Hindi.
Q. What is your favourite genre to make?
Luv Ranjan: It will be surprising to say but Comedy is my least favorite genre. 8 years back if a friend of mine would know I would go onto make comedies they would have laughed. I’m a drama person. My ‘Pyar Ka Punchnama’ series films get dramatic and serious in the last 20-15 mins. For me the high is the last 30 mins. As you grow older you’re bound to lose touch with the youth. There are new slangs everyday. I have two writers who are younger than me. For the third installment, I’ve gotten them onboard. Even if their script developing skills aren’t great, I know that their ideas are new and I can get freshness out of them.
Q. What do you have to say about the recent box office shift which effected a number of films because Padmaavat decided to come on the Republic weekend?
Luv Ranjan: As a filmmaker I’ve not reached a level where I can book holiday dates. There are hardly 9-10 holiday dates which the big actors are playing around with. There is a maths to filmmaking and distribution. If you come with a big film, they’ll take a number of screens, it’ll be stupid to pitch your film with it. I had done it during Akash Vaani which released with Race 2. There’s a certain audience who will go watch only a big film, coming with that is injustice to your film. Aiyaary and we were coming on 9th February because our screens would get divided equally. Theirs is a thriller and ours in an entertaining comedy. We would have our audiences. The Padmaavat shift affected PadMan’s release and the dynamics changed. I would rather have people watch my film 2 weeks later than them not watching it at all. Coming with Hitchki also wouldn’t be an issue because the size of the film is smaller. It’s about two films existing at a distribution level.
Q. If we aren’t wrong, your next film as a producer is an Ajay Devgn starrer. Tell us something about it.
Luv Ranjan: Yes, I shall be working with Ajay Devgn. It’s my second production. It was a story about a 26 years old guy but it isn’t the same anymore and now Ajay fits the role. He’s an actor who started doing multiplex kind of films when multiplexes weren’t in existence with films like Zakhm and The Legend Of Bhagat Singh. I want to do an urban film with him. You get to see him in a space you haven’t seen him in before.
Q. Songs from ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’ are a big hit. What is the criteria that you follow to select your songs?
Luv Ranjan: Every film has two kind of songs. There are ones to promote the film and there are those which take the story forward. The thought is to take my stories forward. This is the first time I’ve taken songs from different composers. For the songs that promote the film, the thought is to select those that become a Hit for the listeners. You tend to focus on its shoot for such songs.
Q. The treatment of the song ‘Dil Chori’ is being compared to the song ‘Badtameez Dil’, why do you think this comparison is being drawn?
Luv Ranjan: Badtameez Dil must also have had its roots from some classic song. You do wear a suit to a party right? If that’s the point of comparison. If it requires I can give that song a thank you credit. I had never done a party song. There are not many colour palettes possible. It’s an engagement song and the girl is wearing a saree and the guys are wearing black suits.
Q. Would you say your film are very male centric?
Luv Ranjan: It’s all about perspective. In the conversation between men and women, I can show you the coin that displays a male perspective and it’s flip that displays a female’s perspective.