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'Ishq Vishk has no intellectual pretensions'
Subhash K Jha | May 09, 2003 12:56 IST
He has made over a hundred music videos. Prominent among them are Alisha Chinai's Made in India, Shweta Shetty's Johnny joker and Baba Sehgal's Dil dhadke.
Now Ken Ghosh is treading new ground. The video whiz turns big screen director with Tips' Ishq Vishk (Shahid Kapoor, Shenaz Treasurywalla, Amrita Rao). The film releases today, May 9.
Talking about his film's vibrant spirit, Ghosh says, "Ishq Vishk is as young as you would expect a film about a 19 year old to be. My narration goes with my leading man Shahid Kapoor's thinking process. He doesn't think like a man. Therefore, this isn't a very deep film.
"It isn't frivolous either. To my surprise, during the two previews we had, people cried. This was not because the humour [of Ishq Vishk] was bad," he jokes.
But Ishq Vishk seems to suffer from a Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Rani Mukherji, Salman Khan) hangover. Ghosh disagrees, "Apart from the fact that both films are set in a [college] campus and they both are about two girls and a boy, there is no similarity. But yes, Shahid does faintly resemble Shah Rukh Khan."
The music video pro has both the necessary technical know-how and the support of his producer, Tips Films, backing his film. "The narrative for a feature film is a lot tighter than [it is for] music videos. For two years, I stopped doing music videos altogether. The narration in a music video is frivolous. Minute dialogues come into play. It is a different ballgame," he admits.
Ghosh says making a feature film proved quite an experience. "I had to forget everything I did as a video maker [while making Ishq Vishk]. What I retained was the economy of expression and resources. I learnt to be comfortable with newcomers. Seventy per cent of the people I worked with were people facing the camera for the first time. I am experienced with the inexperienced."
Ghosh hasn't entirely given up on music videos either. "They are safe bets. The recovery is immediate. At one point, the Ishq Vishk soundtrack was selling as much Kaanta lagaa [a hit pop number by D J Doll], whose investment was comparatively low."
In the present scenario, where a hit is proving elusive, audiences aren't too excited about seeing newcomers. The enthusiastic filmmaker begs to differ. "Newcomers make audiences curious. At the end of the day, it is the product that matters. I have confidence not just in the Shahid, Amrita and Shenaz, but also my other newcomers like Vishal Malhotra, Yash Tonk and Daman."
In fact, he says, eight of Ishq Vishk's 11 cast members were selected through a nationwide MTV star hunt. "Shenaz was discovered at a pub. I went up to her and asked her if she wanted to do a movie. I saw Amrita in several advertisements. As for Shahid, I would go to the extent of saying that, even if Ishq Vishk doesn't do well, Shahid is here to stay."
When it came to the songs, Ghosh took a back seat and let choreographer Ahmed Khan take over. "I wanted a filmi feel for Ishq Vishk. Even in Anu Malik's music, I looked for that quality. During my first music sitting with Anu in Khandala, he wanted to give me 'something different.' I said 'no thanks'. I wanted everything to be filmi. A music company was producing my film. My three protagonists had been seen in music videos and advertisements. I didn't want my soundtrack to sound like a non-film album."
Interestingly the idea of Ishq Vishk was conceptualised from an article in The Economic Times. "I read that India is one of the youngest countries in the world; the average age here is 30 years. Ninety per cent of the film-going crowd in India is between 19 and 25 years old. That got me thinking. I wanted to target the teen and post-teen group," explains Ghosh.
The film's release was delayed endlessly -- initially, owing to the cricket World Cup and later because of the deadlock between producers and distributors. "There have been so many setbacks [resulting in delay in the film's release] that I have become numb. Neither Shahid nor me are getting much sleep. I am aware of the slump [in the film trade]. But I have been in showbiz for 15 years. Not a year has passed without doomsday predictions. I feel this year is going to be better than others. We already have four semi-hits. Hopefully, Ishq Vishk will be the fifth."
He adds fondly, "Sometimes, when I look at Ishq Vishk, I love it. The next day I find 50 things wrong. My film has no intellectual pretensions. It is a fun film. It is written by a bunch of guys who are 30 plus. Anyone who has attended college will identify with this film."