Bollywood Comedy is a Take on Everyday India and All of its Quirkiness
By: Simran Mody
April 26, 2011
If opposites attract, then Bollywood stars Lara Dutta and Vinay Pathak are meant to be co-stars in Shahshant Shah’s Chalo Dilli, despite differing personas. A love story of two opposites finding attraction in each other, similar to Paula Abdul and Arsenio Hall in a famed Hollywood music video in the early 1990s, both the star and producer of Chalo Dilli believe the film is ultimately a tale of the real India, and each protagonist is representative of the country’s great individual diversity.
“The film is about two opposite individuals. It is the situation that brings both of them together. But there is no chemistry. There is no love story,” the film’s producer, Krishika Lulla, told the Indian press during promotional interviews. “In this journey, we tried to add humor and human relations. It is not necessary that it be a love tale...two people can be friends also.”
A co-production between Eros International and Big Daddy Productions, Ms. Dutta thinks Hindi film fans want to see something other than the run-of-the-mill dapper male falling in love with a gorgeous supermodel female.
“Generally, the audiences want to see an unusual star cast -- a question of why only these two actors were chosen for the film and what is their purpose in the film,” Ms. Dutta said, adding that she was thrilled to work with Mr. Pathak in Chalo Dilli. “It is an added plus-point for me when I got to know that Vinay is acting in it. I wanted to work with him.”
Ms. Dutta was not the only person who was happy with her pairing on this project; Ms. Lulla, too, was thrilled to work with Mr. Shah when the director approached her with the script of Chalo Dilli.
“When the director came to me, I was very happy with the script. For me, script is the USP (unique selling proposition) of the film. The film also says, 'Don’t go by the looks of a person; see his or her heart,'” Ms. Lulla, who recently worked with Ajay Devgn and Kajol in the surprise box office hit Toonpur Ka Superhero, said.
Speaking of script, Ms. Dutta pointed out that the film’s storyline will easily be relatable to audiences, especially since Chalo Dilli is far from a heavy-handed, preachy production common in many Bollywood movies.
“The film is about learning some truth about life, coming in contact with real people, real situations. It is not a social message film or anything like that. It is a fun and simple story,” Ms. Dutta stated to the press. “I can’t tell you if she falls in love with him or not, but it's a real story. In this journey, we had tried to add humor (and) human relations.”
As to whether audiences can relate to Ms. Dutta’s character, the stunningly good-looking actress says the journey she embarks upon with Mr. Pathak’s character is what will draw moviegoers to her on-screen alter ego.
“I play Mihika Banerjee. I will describe her as an upper class elite -- a completely obsessively compulsive disordered perfectionist,” Ms. Dutta told the press. “She finds herself on a journey with Manu Gupta (Mr. Pathak), who is a Chandni Chowk resident running a sari shop in Karol Bagh. He is a burping, farting, pan-chewing, lower-middle-class sort of man.”
And who cannot relate to an everyday common man finding himself entangled in a story with an “upper class elite” woman with top-notch beauty, right?
Not only does Ms. Dutta think this odd couple is more in tune with audiences than with what other Bollywood films happen to present, she also believes producers and casting directors are starting a new trend of creating “unusual” groups of actors headlining any given production.
“If I have to remember an unusual star cast, I would say Wake Up Sid, that had Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen,” Ms. Dutta pointed out to the press, displaying her mastery of Bollywood film history. “In our film as well, Vinay and (I) come from different film backgrounds. What sparks audience's interest is the reason we have been paired. It acts as the USP of such films.”
As for other elements of Chalo Dilli audiences may enjoy, at least according to Ms Lulla, is the film’s most advertised item song in “Laila O Laila.”
“It’s the song that people still enjoy whenever and wherever it is played,” she stated to the press. “We have kept the beats as it is, just given a rustic look to it. Zeenatji has loved the song.”
Eros International/Big Daddy Productions' 'Chalo Dilli' is released on April 29, 2011.