You may not know her but Barnali Ray Shukla happens to be a part of some of the highest profiled films India has ever produced. To her credit, she played Assistant Director to Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya amongst many other fabulous films. After dabbling in production and assisting many directors in their own endeavors, Barnali is all set to make her debut as a direct with Kucch Luv Jaisaa. The film stars the fabulous Rahul Bose and Shefali Shah, is set in Mumbai and takes place in a day.
And while the title of the film contains “Luv”, this is hardly your run of the mill romantic film. It is hardly that, in fact. To speak more about her upcoming film, Barnali sat down with B’Khush to talk all things love and movies!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your tryst with films.
Maybe if I hadn’t been a topper in academics it would have made me realize my calling earlier. It all started really from wanting to tell a story. And a story that I hoped would be carried a little longer than we carry parking tickets. Back in high-school and college, one is programmed to choosing the careers which are deemed 'right' for us but to know what’s your calling you have to unprogram. That unprogramming is what I call is the preparation to making one’s film.
You’ve worked with a lot of prominent filmmakers in the past. How has that experience been for you and what did you take away from working with them?
While assisting Mr. Ram Gopal Varma on Satya, the direction bug took shape. I was sure that I was someday making a film and his best piece of advice to me, “make films continue writing and don't assist in more than two films.” Ekta Kapoor’s powerhouse energy and unstoppable belief in what she is doing is contagious. Also one thing to learn from her is how she is a total ‘rebel who belongs’ which is an awesome combination for film-makers. And Anurag Kashyap was responsible in making me believe that I can and someday I will. It’s another story that I don’t even have his phone number!
Now of course, you have your own film readying for release. Tell us about Kucch Luv Jaisaa.
Well it’s my first, as a writer-director with the most adorable cast and a super producer, Mr. Vipul Amrutlal Shah. And there is nothing that can change the fact that like a first-born this will be special. It hasn’t been a cake-walk but now that it’s all behind me, being the optimist that I am, I think I wouldn’t change any experience or learning (or un-learning) that was related to this film right from the inception. Years of toiling and writing and trying to meet investors (read producers) and then finding one and working towards the making of the film has been a roller –coaster .
It is a one day story of two people meeting by chance at a coffee shop and then going onto a day-adventure which is not just an adrenalin rush. They are different as chalk and cheese and share nothing, but their birthdays. Raghav is a criminal on the run and Madhu is a housewife having a day out. And then what happens when they meet is Kucch Luv Jaisaa.
What prompted you to make a film of your own?
A desire born in my early years in Mumbai, was fired by observations that content is being noticed and there is a weather to make films which appeal as stories and not just for star-appeal.
Why did you choose to make a romantic film?
In the classical sense of the word, this is not a romantic film.
What is the plot inspired by?
The communication between the oddest of strangers sometimes can bring forth to light a lot many things that are seemingly unanswered. Why are there things that, we probably can’t talk to our spouse about but maybe to a stranger we can, as there is no baggage of a relationship.
How did you manage to bag Rahul Bose and Shefali Shah for the film?
In Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya, I was an assistant director and Shefali was part of the ensemble cast. Celebrated for sure for her performance. And I was lucky she agreed to do my film.When the script was put together, Madhu, I realized could be played by 3 women: Meg Ryan, not a choice, as this is a Hindi film. Madhubala , but then, she is no more. The third closest option was Shefali.
Rahul Bose wasn’t the first choice. Raghav, the criminal on the run, wasn’t the obvious Rahul Bose that we have seen in our movies. I may be wrong, but in India, more often than not, we tend to blur the line between the actor and the real person. Rahul Bose thus has gone that extra mile to be ‘Raghav’ and I am now unable to see anyone else playing the part with this ease. I’m grateful to them both for believing in what they read and read between the lines.
How would you say their performances have turned out in the end?
I’m happy! I can promise you that I am not the only one feeling that way.
How does the music of the film fit in with the film?
A lyrical interpretation of the silences in the ‘relationship’ which brews even without letting us feel that how it has crept in between Madhu (Shefali Shah) and Raghav (Rahul Bose). And there is an ode to freedom, very rockish. There this cheeky look at a growing loveless marriage which once had the fragrance of love is all in music.
What obstacles, if any, did you encounter while shooting the film?
The Sun really! This film is shot in real locations in and around Mumbai and the story is set in the day and we shot outdoors primarily so when the sun played truant, we were unhappy. Also, the law–enforcement department in this city is not conducive to shooting on roads. Despite permissions from the various government bodies, the production team were always on their toes to keep the shoot going.
What will we be seeing from you in the future?
Inshallah, an action drama,which is a bilingual and another is a youth-based story of ambitions, love, money and how the combination of the three are going haywire for youngistan.
Is the film relatable and will audiences be able to the film and situations?
Kucch Luv Jaisaa is identifiable and that’s a doing of the premise and the characterization. Hope earnestly that audiences see themselves in the film.
How do you hope the film will be received?
Keeping fingers crossed, rather will tell you, when I uncross them.