Jayanth: I instantly connected with Love Aaj Kal
Jayanth C Paranji has directed stars in big films like Chiranjeevi (Bavagaaru Bagunnara), Balakrishna (Lakshmi Narasimha and Allari Pidugu), Akkineni Nagarjuna (Ravoyi Chandamama), Venkatesh (Preminchukondama Raa and Premante Idera) and Mahesh Babu (Takkari Donga) in the past.
The director took a few years off from the Telugu industry and on his return, started working on the bi-lingual film Love 4 Ever. Meanwhile, Pawan Kalyan offered him a chance to direct Teenmaar, and he did.
In this exclusive chat with Radhika Rajamani, the director talks about adapting the film from Love Aaj Kal and working with Pawan Kalyan, Trisha, Kriti Kharbanda and Paresh Rawal.
You have got good reviews for Teenmaar. Are you confident about the box office success?
Oh yes. I was just talking to the distributor of Nizam, and he said the film is doing well. He's happy with the collections. The producer is happy and so am I.
Image: A scene from Teenmaar. Inset: Director Jayanth Paranji
'I loved Love Aaj Kal for the characterisation'
You came back after a gap. Why did you choose a remake?
Love 4 Ever got delayed because I was looking at a simultaneous release in Hindi and Telugu. I had seen Love Aaj Kal and I instantly got connected to the film. Kalyan (Pawan) saw it and loved it too. He insisted that I direct a remake of it and I jumped at the opportunity.
But I told him we needed to make changes. I had also made changes in Shankardada MBBS to suit the tastes of the Telugu audience.
I loved Love Aaj Kal for the characterisation. It's a mirror of today's youngster's mindset. There is confusion about their choices. I can see it all around me. What I loved was the fact that until you lose something, you don't realise its importance.
How did you get Trivikram Srinivas to write the screenplay and the dialogues?
Kalyan got him in. Both Kalyan and Trivikram are good friends. I have also known Trivikram since his early days.
In the Telugu adaptation, you made Arjun's character more aggressive, and added Italian dialogues, fight sequences for Michael. Is it keeping Pawan Kalyan's image in mind?
Yes. If I don't have any fight sequences, his fans would beat me up. So the fights were incorporated. His biggest hits have been love stories though. I wrote the character of Arjun keeping in mind that it should have a mass appeal.
The Italian dialogues were just for fun. During the discussions, we had Milan (in Italy) in mind. But by the time the script was ready, it was wintertime in Italy and so we had to shift to Cape Town in South Africa. We also decided on Kashi (Varanasi) as it was a holy city and was in complete contrast.
Image: A scene from Teenmar
'We styled Kalyan's charatcer keeping Amitabh Bachchan in mind'
The retro period in the film looked like the emergency times...
Yes, that was set in 1976. It was specific and we worked on his clothes. We styled Kalyan's charatcer keeping Amitabh Bachchan in mind. It was the time when early denims had just come in. For Kriti, we kept Neetu Kapoor in mind with the hair cut in front.
Kriti's heavy eye make-up is reminiscent of the 1970s.
Actresses like Hema Malini would look like that.
How was it working with Pawan Kalyan?
It was wonderful to work with him. We were supposed to do a film after my first film in 1997. At that point I had to do my second film with Chiranjeevi, and after that it took so many years to work with Kalyan.
He's a director's actor. You push him and you get a better performance out from him. I told him to be rooted for Arjun's character and for Michael, he should have this shuffle. I give actors room to improvise. At the same time, I ensure they don't step out of the lines. A lot of Michael's scenes were improvised.
Image: A scene from Teenmaar
'If I weren't a director, I would have learnt some musical instrument'
You have roped in Paresh Rawal again.
I'm a huge fan of the actor. He has worked in three of my movies. Earlier, he had played the role portrayed by Boman Irani in Munnabhai MBBS in my film Shankardada MBBS. I always wanted him back.
How did you zero down on Trisha and Kriti?
It was sheer coincidence. I was looking for a new girl and screen-tested many in Mumbai. I didn't find that innocence I was looking for. I happened to be in Suresh's guest house when I saw Kriti and was struck by her innocence. I knew I had found my Vasumati (the character played by Kriti). I was told she had done a film called Boni.
For Meera's role, I needed somebody who could perform. I knew Trisha could pull off the second half in terms of performance.
You seem to share a good rapport and comfort level with Mani Sharmaa who has scored music for a quite a few of your films.If I weren't a director, I would have learnt some musical instrument. I grew up listening to my mom playing the veena. I love music, I wake up to music, listen to music and then sleep with music. Mani Sharmaa and I get along really well. When I sit with him in nine out of ten times, we would have cracked a tune. Mani was a keyboard player with Mahesh who scored music for my first film but later on he passed away due to cancer. The audio of Teenmaar is a hit, which is a huge plus.
Image: A scene from Teenmaar
'I shouldn't do a film for obligation'
Quite a few titles were considered before Teenmaar was finalised. How did you choose this film?
It was Ganesh's idea, as he and Kalyan liked the title. It means a rhythm pattern for celebration. So the film's the tagline was 'Celebration of love.' I was looking for a soft title. We kept thinking of several names but nothing was falling into place. So we named the film Teenmaar.
You were making a love story before Teenmaar. When is the film releasing?
Love 4 Ever is shot in Hindi and Telugu and will release on June 9. It stars newcomers Randeep Malik and Mridula Sathe, and Farida Jalal and Jayanth Kripalani. The film is set in a vineyard. It's scripted by me and is a youth-centric film. Deepika has done an item number in the film.
Why did you take a break from Telugu films?
I needed a break. I shouldn't do a film for obligation (the last two films were obligations). The break got extended. I liked the script of Love 4 Ever and got busy with it.
Are you happy to be back?Yes. I am happy to be making films on my own terms.
Image: A scene from Teenmaar