At an age when most youngsters are still unsure of what careers to opt for, Apurva Asrani made his foray into the world of glamour and greasepaint.
He entered television at 16, before moving on to cutting promos for films like Ram Gopal Varma's Daud.
Soon, he had Varma -- Ramuji -- asking him to join his camp. By 21, Apurva had already made his mark, with his sharp, sleek editing of the realistic and trend-setting Satya (1998).
Today, at 25, the National Award-winning editor is awaiting the release of his directorial debut, producer Vashu Bhagnani's Out Of Control.
There is no sign of anxiety. He appears a confident and satisfied youngster, who has worked his way to success.
Editor-director Apurva Asrani is surely in control of his life and career.
How has Out Of Control turned out?
Very well. We are very excited. There is a very good energy to it. It is very simple and has turned out very funny; a very good comedy. If you can leave your thinking cap at home, one can really enjoy the film.
That sounds very much like a David Dhawan quote.
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The promos show it is similar to David Dhawan's Saajan Chale Sasural or Gharwali Baharwali or even Biwi No 1.
It is a universal story. There are just about four or five stories in the universe that filmmakers keep making. I don't think people should be obsessed with making films with stories no one has made before.
The magic lies in telling stories that everyone knows, but differently. The theme should be relevant to everyone's life, but the characters should have a unique story.
Each character should have their individual identity. Their perspective on the film should be unique.
Satish Shah, who plays Flower in Out Of Control, has a unique story. He is not just there for the sake of comedy. He has his own role that comes out in the film. Amrish Puri has his story. Hrishitaa too has her story.
About similarities with films -- superhit films -- like Saajan Chale Sasural or Biwi No 1, yes, there are some. The theme worked before. I am sure it will work again.
Was it comfortable working on a film that was started off under another director?
At the point at which I come on into Out Of Control, I did not expect to be credited as a director. I had worked with Vashu Bhagnani on Om Jai Jagadish as an editor. We were good friends.
When he asked me to take over this film, and when I saw the film had such a good story, a catchy script and a humble cast, I accepted.
We had one common goal -- to make a good film. We did have some teething problems, but we gelled very well as things went along.
Did you have to reshoot scenes to maintain continuity and the look-and-feel of the film?
No, there weren't any scenes that were already shot. The change in director happened after the film was set up. I came in before the first shot was canned.
But two people have been credited with directing the film.
Yes. Ramanjit Juneja's a very senior person with whom Vashuji had already set up the project. I came in right from the first schedule in Switzerland.
How was it working with a cast that has some inexperienced people, lead actors with just a film or three to their credit?
Actually, it is a very clever mix. It's got some actors who have just one or two films to their credit, and some others who have done about 100 films. The interesting part is the older, experienced actors helped the newcomers who may not have known what level to take.
On the other hand, the fresh, young actors gave the experienced actors a new perspective. When you work as a team, you all help each other.
If you look at Ritesh Deshmukh's performance, it doesn't look like his second film (after Tujhe Meri Kasam). He is so good with physical comedy, which is so difficult -- something we expect only a Govinda to pull off.
Ritesh has done an amazing job. Even Hrishitaa has done a good job. Without resorting to heroine adaas, she has got into her character very well.
Even a fresh element like Brande Rodrick with her professionalism brought in some energy that spread throughout the young team.
You seem to have started very young.
I started working with television in 1994, when I was 16. Then, I moved on to work with Ramuji on films like Daud, Satya and Kaun. I won a lot of awards for editing Satya.
That gave me the push to work with many accomplished directors like Kalpana Lajmi (Kyon?) and Hansal Mehta (Chhal), which continued to bring me accolades and new projects.
I also received the National Award for the Sunhil Sippy's English film Snip.
These 10 years of editing gave me the experience of seeing where these great filmmakers may have succeeded or failed and to learn free from their work.
Now, when someone like Vashuji shows faith in my work and asks me to direct his film, I can put all my experience into practice.
How come Ram Gopal Varma did not offer you a film to direct? Almost everyone in his camp seems to be getting a project now.
Actually I was supposed to do a film for him. Before he started doing all these films, this conglomerate, I was to make a film on the lines of that Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Asrani film. Anand? I forget the name.
Yes. I was supposed to do a film like Abhimaan for Varma Corporation. But I had to go to London for another project and the film never got made.
I think when you work with a mentor like Ramuji, you should also look at doing projects outside, branch out and do good work and come back some day.
What are your expectations from Out Of Control?
The promos have come out very well. The buzz is good. I expect young and old people to come and watch the film and have a good laugh. I want them to lust after Brande, and fall in love with her because she is such a good human being.
I am overwhelmed with the huge hoardings that I see all over, with my name on it. It's the best present a 25 year old could get.
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