'I like directing because I would rather be the captain of the ship than be one of the officers.'
'Adult comedies aren’t critically acclaimed usually, but audiences love them and go berserk. Masti and Grand Masti are the proof.'
For director Milap Zaveri, Mastizaade has been a completely mad ride!
The filmmaker use to enjoy torturing his lead actress, Sunny Leone.
How, you ask?
Well, Ms Leone had to wear a bikini every other day for the shooting. And, in order to do so, she had to stay in shape.
But it was a daunting task because her director would keep eating pizzas in front of her every single day.
While the entire team had fun on the sets, days before the film's release, director Milap Zaveri hopes the audiences enjoy Mastizaade as well; he's clear it is meant for entertainment and not to educate or offend anyone.
He tells Jahnavi Patel/Rediff.com how Mastizaade happened.
How did you come up with the concept of Mastizaade?
I've dabbled in this genre with Masti and Grand Masti. I guess humour comes easily to me. I had a great partner in Mushtaq Sheikh -- he has written super hits like Om Shanti Om and two books on Shah Rukh sir.
We had to control each other because the ideas just kept flowing. Adult comedies aren’t critically acclaimed usually, but audiences love them; Masti and Grand Masti are proof.
The thought was to have a joke every minute... literally. Mastizaade's only objective is to make people laugh, not educate or offend them. If people say they’ve forgotten their problems during its two hour span, I would say I achieved what I wanted to.
How has the whole Mastizaade experience been?
Fabulous. Crazy. Full of masti right from the time we started the project. Rangita (Nandy, the producer) approached me a couple weeks after Grand Masti released. She wanted me to direct a film in the same zone as Grand Masti.
As a writer, it’s something I’ve done successfully so I thought, why not attempt the same genre as a director!
Mushtaq and I wrote the script. Then he wrote the screenplay and I wrote the dialogues. PNC (Pritesh Nandy Communications) loved it and Rangita had this brainwave of approaching Sunny Leone. I wasn’t sure if she would agree. We met her husband Daniel (Weber) first.
They have a screening procedure where the first meeting is with Daniel. If he likes the proposal and thinks the people are legit, he organises a meeting a few days later with Sunny. When Daniel heard the idea, he immediately called Sunny and told her he was bringing us up to meet her (they met him at the café under her house). He told Sunny the script was mind-blowing and she had to hear it right away.
Just like that, Sunny was on. One-by-one, the rest of cast joined in.
How was it working with Sunny Leone?
Mind-blowing... Before I started, some people told me she’s difficult. I am telling you, it has been a dream. She has never said 'No' to me. At no point did I suddenly I sprung a surprise on her saying, 'I want you to do this.' She was comfortable because she knew what she had to do. We got along like a house on fire, as did my producer Rangita. I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun on a film.
We used to meet after the shoot and I would torture Sunny by eating pizza everyday. She couldn’t eat it because she had to wear a bikini almost every second day. I hope people learn that Lily is actually Sunny in real life -- she’s like a geek, nerdy and clumsy, the way Sunny actually is.
Laila is the typical hot and sexy Sunny Leone everyone knows about, but Lily is the funny Sunny. After they see the film, people will say she’s damn good at comedy. If they come out saying Laila’s hot and Lily’s hilarious, I would be very happy.
you always wanted to Tusshar Kapoor, Sunny and Vir Das as your cast?
It was always Sunny, Tusshar and Vir . I have a good relation with Tusshar because I had done Shootout At Wadala with him as a writer. Vir, for me, was interesting because he is India’s biggest stand-up comedian and has never done a commercial entertainer or a masala film in his life. Tusshar, on the other hand, has done this genre before.
I was fortunate to get who I wanted because, when I met them (including Sunny Leone), I had just the first half of the story with me with an idea of what the second half was going to be. It's to their credit that they signed the film on the basis of what I had on the table.
Mushtaq and I had to make sure the second half was better than the first. It was a big responsibility. Touch wood, whoever has seen the film till now has said the second half is way better. Mr Nandy told me this is the first film in his career where people have come out saying the second half is better. I hope this is what happens with the audience as well.
Was it difficult to convince Vir, since he has not attempted this genre before?
No. I think he wanted to do something commercial and, because of my legacy as a writer with Masti, Grand Masti, Housefull and Main Tera Hero, he had a lot of faith in me. He found my narration both interesting and funny. He was a little apprehensive but felt, if he had to attempt this genre, this is the film to do it with.
He also has a great relationship with PNC and Rangita because he had done Shaadi Ke Side Effects. He knew Rangita would make sure the film looked good.
Since Vir is a stand up comedian, did he have any inputs?
Vir has this thing called play takes. He does what I want him to do and, after that, he says, 'Give me a play take, let me do what I want to do.' He would improvise and come up with something totally different, which I think none of us were prepared for.
Many times, it was really good. There are quite a few places in the film where the eventual cut is Vir’s version. He didn’t change the dialogue much because, as a dialogue writer, I wouldn’t let him. But the way he said his dialogues or his body language would different. I gave him that freedom because I think he’s damn funny.
Was there any scene which was difficult for you to shoot?
The climax. It was an extremely elaborate and the whole cast was present, including Sunny in her double role. Technically, shooting a double role is more time consuming. It needs more planning. I had to schedule my shoot in a way that I would finish with Laila or Lily and then shoot the other sister. It's easier when it’s a simple scene but, with the climax, I had limited number of days because the location was booked by someone else.
Rangita tried very hard to get me the extra days. I would’ve ideally needed five days but only had three. I was like a mad man, trying to finish every shot as fast as possible, pushing the whole team -- assistants, action team, DOP, actors.
Did you have to make any changes because of the time constraint?
Yes. As a writer, the advantage is that you have the capacity to tweak something. There’s a scene where Tusshar and Vir are washing a horse and there is Shaad Randhawa too who is paralysed waist down and needs to be on a wheelchair. We were shooting an hour away from the hotel and, somehow, my team forgot to get the wheelchair.
Even though they said they’d go back and get it, I could not wait for two hours. I rewrote the scene on the spot and made Shaad crawl on the grass. Asraniji and Suresh (Menon) crawled with him as well.
There’s another scene where Tusshar and Sunny admit they love one another and Suresh, who loves Tusshar, is heartbroken. At that point, Suresh is supposed to break the bangles on his hand. The bangles we found in Pattaya were made of metal; no glass bangles were available there. On the spot, I changed the line to, ‘What nonsense! Dil toot gaya lekin choodiyan nahi toot rahi (My heart is broken, but these bangles aren’t breaking).'
Eventually, the climax turned out funnier. When you're pushed against the wall, you come up with something better, which has happened quite a lot in this movie.
The film had faced a lot of censor issues.
When we made the film, we knew there would be certain issues so I shot extra scenes. Whatever is there in the film now has been arrived at a consensus with the censor board. They’ve done their job and I’ve done mine to retain what I wanted to in this film.
All I can say is that people who’ve loved Grand Masti and have come to see Mastizaade, will get more than what they got in Grand Masti. I’m not going to fool people by putting things in promos when they’re not in the film because that only disappoints the audience.
Mastizaade is releasing just a week after Kya Kool Hain Hum 3. Will that affect the film’s box office collection?
I’ve written both the films. I think both are going to do well as the buzz for both films is very strong. I have a feeling this is going to be the naughtiest month in Bollywood history where audiences are going to go berserk enjoying both films.
Would you like to direct films other than comedy?
As a writer, I’ve done a lot. I’ve done Shootout At Wadala, Kaante, Musafir, Ek Villain, 24 (Anil Kapoor’s television show). As a director, I am yet to try different things.
The next film I’m making, Mubaraka, is a family comedy.
People want you to make what sells and works. I received so much success as a writer with Grand Masti, the logical step was to make the soul brother of Grand Masti. That’s how Mastizaade was born. If Mastizaade does fabulously, we’ll obviously, hopefully, make a sequel. But I’ll also explore other genres as a director.
What do you enjoy more -- writing or directing?
Directing. I would rather be the caption of the ship than be one of the officers. It requires more responsibility, stress and energy but it’s also more fulfilling.
It's in your control. You have a point of view about everything. Obviously, the blame is yours too. At the same time, the accolades are yours if the film works.