Vikram Phadnis: The most beautiful part was that Hrithik believed in the subject!
A chat with Vikram on Hrudyantar, what it means and why he chose Hrithik Roshan among a galaxy of his star friends, to act in the film…
So that’s why you did not take up a commercial potboiler subject for your first directorial?
Yes. Because I wanted to tell a story and Hrudyantar tells that story. I have written it. It explores the marital crisis of a couple whose life revolves around their daughters and holds the marriage together. The film is the journey of the family and how through turbulent times the family learns to value relationships …When you come out after watching the film you will take back something with you and not feel that you spent Rs.150 on a ticket but went back feeling empty. That was the main reason to write a sensitive subject.
Is it a real life story?
It’s not based on any real life story but it is based on situations that I have seen and around me – friends and family. It is not an inspired story from my parents or friends or cousins but when people will see the film, they will identify with some character or emotion they have been through.
What does Hrudyantar mean?
It means a change of heart. Everybody has some Hrudyantar moment in their lives and that what this film is about. The heart and soul of the movie are the relationships. Normally when you make a film, your main two protagonists drive the story but here it is a story of a husband and wife, father-mother, mother-daughter and father-daughter and the two sisters so it’s a story of relationships and not two people.
As a producer why didn’t you produce a Hindi film instead of a Marathi film?
I wanted to start somewhere. Marathi is my mother tongue. Regional cinema today has got great standing and great talent. The talented actors I have today in Hrudyantar from actors like Mukta Barve and Subodh Bhave has made me so happy that I took that decision to make it in Marathi! When you see the film you will realize that you need to have this kind of talent to bring out the characters.
Were you anxious or nervous on the your first day on the sets?
No… Strangely I was neither. Shah Rukh Khan did our mahurat on December 10 last year and the next day was the first day of shoot. I slept well on 10th but when I reached the set on the 11th I just knew it would be fine. The fear is to start and once you start you don’t look back and I didn’t. I remember my first shot which was with one of the small girls. It’s etched in my memory forever.
Any challenges you faced?
No challenges as such but just the fact that the film didn’t start for more than 12-13 years… I started writing the film in 2003-04 and the fact that it didn’t start then but when it did, it just took off – I feel that the film came at the right time. Hrudyantar came with its own destiny.
Shah Rukh gave the mahurat shot and Hrithik Roshan and Manish Paul are playing cameos. Do we expect to see a galaxy of other stars in cameos?
No. Hrithik, Manish and Shiamak Davar who is also in the film are playing themselves. I didn’t choose to have a galaxy of stars to make my film because this is a subject I wanted to sell. I have Mukta and Subodh and it doesn’t get bigger than that in Marathi cinema. They have come after nine years and they are outstanding characters.
Why did you sign Hrithik? People feel he’s choosy where his films are concerned…
Because Hrithik plays Hrithik in the film and I couldn’t replace him with anybody. He is the only Indian super star we have who plays Krrish – the only Indian superhero we have. Hrithik agreeing to be a part of my film was a big thing for me.
Was he tough to convince?
Not at all! Hrithik called me home one day at 9 pm and said I have 15 minutes so come over. He sat with me till 11.30 pm and said ‘Vikram come what may, I am going to be a part of Hrudyantar. We just need to work out the dates but there is no way that I am not going to be doing this film!’ I just walked out from there in a daze… I went for something but he gave me so much more! Hrithik told me, ‘I will support the film any way I can – I will tweet, do the poster and trailer launch and he just kept his word. Forget as a friend, the most beautiful part was that he believed in the subject.
How is he to direct as an actor?
Outstanding! I can’t wait to direct a full-fledged film with Hrithik. You have to see what he plays in Hrudyantar to believe it.
It just didn’t take off and because it wasn’t happening I was just trying to push it. There were production hassles, we were not getting locations abroad, the budget was not coming together – everything was just falling apart one-by-one and one day I just thought that if something is not happening I should not push it. Then I started writing in Marathi…
I don’t know whether my next will be in Hindi or Marathi… I guess I will figure it out once I start writing it. It’s going to be a romantic film. People ask me if I am happy with the support I have got from the film industry – let me just say, I feel that I am bless. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. That’s all I can say.