'Katrina looks very sensuous in Chikni Chameli'
He has seen much of the world through his lens and is very excited about his upcoming project Agneepath.
Director of Photography (DoP) Kiran Deohans, a soft spoken man with a perpetual smile on his face, has recently finished work on Karan Johar 1990 remake and is now busy with his advertising production house.
In this interview with Sonil Dedhia, Deohans shares his experience of shooting Agneepath, working with Sanjay Dutt and Hrithik Roshan, and tells us what went into the making of Katrina Kaif's hot item number Chikni Chameli.
On Chikni Chameli
I knew music composers Ajay-Atul before Agneepath. I loved their music in Marathi films and it was a pleasure to be a part of their music production and shooting a song like Chikni Chameli.
There was a lot of pressure on director Karan Malhotra because it was difficult for him to get a song that would be the big vehicle to take the movie forward. I guess he spent more than a month to decide on a tune.
Finally he had a meeting with Ajay-Atul and together they decided to transform the Marathi song Kombdi Padali into Chikni Chameli.
In the film, there is a point when Kancha Cheena (Sanjay Dutt) organises a performance for Vijay (Hrithik Roshan). Katrina performs to an item number in Mandwa which has been transformed by Kancha Cheena into a very mysterious village. The song happens inside Kancha's den. If you see the song, it is very dark and misty but at the same time it is very sensuous.
The song was supposed to be shot in Diu where we had created the sets of Mandwa but unfortunately we couldn't, and we had to do it in Mumbai. We shot the song in seven days.
Katrina Kaif has done a fantastic job. She looks very sensuous and has infused great energy into the song.
Three big contributions to the song came from Karan Malhotra, who was the mind behind Chikni Chameli, Ganesh Acharya, who is the perfect choreographer for the song -- I like Ganesh for his clarity of thought and the speed at which he works -- and I made my contribution too (smiles) because I had to look at what Karan had in mind and visually present it and take it ahead.
I am very happy with the song. It is an attractive song but at the same time it doesn't look like a Munni or Sheila. It has its own flavour.
Image: A scene from Agneepath. Inset: Kiran Deohans
'Sanjay Dutt never made us feel like he was a star'
On working with Sanjay Dutt
I have known Sanjay Dutt for a long time but had never worked with him. I had shot with him for one day as an assistant cameraman 15 years ago but unfortunately the film got shelved. He recently asked me to shoot for his film Knock Out, but due to prior commitments I was not able to take it up.
We got along very well on the sets. We bonded so well that he asked me to do his next film. I had heard that Sanjay doesn't come on time, but here he was right on time for all the shoots and stayed back right till the end. He was very co-operative in every kind of positioning I wanted from him in front of the camera.
I think he is one of the most comfortable actors to work with. He is a big star but I don't want to call him a star because he never made us feel like he was one.
Image: A scene from Agneepath
'Hrithik has become more relaxed over the years'
On working with Hrithik Roshan
This is my third film with Hrithik Roshan (after Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Jodhaa Akbar). Over the years I have seen that Hrithik has become more relaxed. He still works hard and gives his best.
Since we have worked together we are more open to each other. We both know what we want from each other. A lot of times we talk about cinema and other things.
I am interested in wildlife adventure, reading, philosophy, and I can talk to Hrithik about all these topics because he is a very well read person and takes keen interest in learning new things. You can have a conversation with him about anything because he knows about it.
He also understands editing, post production work and to a certain extent he also understands lighting. At least what looks good on his face (smiles).At the same time he has some pre-conceived notions about his face and how it should look on screen. But he was very open to suggestions and wouldn't mind if I needed any changes in any scenes. I have always enjoyed working with Hrithik.
Image: A scene from Agneepath
'It's hard to believe that this is Karan Malhotra's first film'
On working with director Karan Malhotra and producer Karan Johar
Actually, Ravi K Chandran was originally director of photography, but due to certain differences in opinion between him and the director, Ravi left the project.
I did this film because of the two Karans (smiles). One is Karan Malhotra, a very dear friend of mine. He was creative assistant to Ashutosh Gowariker on Jodhaa Akbar where I was the director of photography. He was very comfortable with me and he decided that I should come on board to complete the project.
It is hard to believe that this is Karan Malhotra's first film. He has been working as an assistant director for almost 15 years and has assisted on films such as Pukar, Main Hoon Na, Jodhaa Akbar and My Name is Khan.
What I like about him is that he knows his script thoroughly. He knows what he wants from his actors, music composers, action director and all the other departments. He understands the finer points of film making. He understands the visuals that he wants to have.
I had worked with Dharma Productions and Karan Johar in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham 11 years ago. It is the best production house I have ever worked with for a feature film. It was like a homecoming for me.
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Image: A scene from Agneepath. Inset: Karan Malhotra