Shraddha Kapoor, Divyendu Sharma, director Shree Narayan Singh talk about Batti Gul Meter Chalu
Shree Narayan Singh's newly released social drama Batti Gul Meter Chalu stars Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and Divyendu Sharma.
Shraddha Kapoor’s latest film, Batti Gul Meter Chalu, released on Friday, after the much lauded Stree. It seems the box office success of Stree has taken some load off her chest as she is honest enough to admit that it has been a while since she got those congratulatory messages. The constant reference to Stree only indicates that Shraddha was desperately on the lookout for a hit that had eluded her for a while.
So overwhelmed is the actress by the success of Stree that she believes that she is still promoting the film while the meet is actually meant for Batti Gul Meter Chalu. When asked about her character, she mentions that she plays a designer with her own set of notions. “My character believes that she is the most amazing designer in the world and her designs are the best in Tehri Garwhal region. She is under the impression that her designs are at par with those of Rohit Bal and Manish Malhotra and the fact is they are just the opposite. She has actually no sense of fashion but has a very strong conscience," says Shraddha.
Shraddha believes the the shooting for the film was a refreshing experience as she neither had to die in the climax nor was she asked to get wet in the rains. “It’s my first socially relevant film and deals with an issue that small towns face today. We are not aware of the kind of pressure that people in small towns face with regard to electricity. Batti Gul Meter Chalu is a relevant film and I felt very happy when I became a part of it.”
Quiz her if severing ties with the Yash Raj Films banner has done good to her career and she takes a long pause to answer the question. “I don’t know if it did good to my career but I did one film with them and that was pretty much what it was. Whatever has happened in my career, be it the hits or the misses – I take full responsibility of it all. I am happy and relieved. It’s not a yes or no answer actually. Aditya Chopra is a very important person in my life and he is someone who believed in me when no one did, after Teen Patti. There might be a lot of speculation about this but I really want to say that he is one of the most important persons in my life. Him and Mohit Suri offered me films when no one wanted to cast me. I gave so many auditions and was cast for films but eventually, I was replaced in most, even after cutting cakes and all. Imagine someone saying, 'I have a film for you.' It’s a big deal and he is that person," Shraddha says.
Apart from Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha, Divyendu Sharma too has a pivotal role in a saga that revolves around electricity issues in small towns. Divyendu, along with Shraddha and Shahid, forms the coterie of best friends in the film. His death in the film was given out in the trailer itself but he admits he was okay with that creative decision. “They had explained to me when I had read the script that me dying has a purpose in the film. The conflict in the film starts from there. It was a creative call that the director took and maybe he wanted to raise the stakes and underline the turning point of the film," explains Divyendu.
After having delivered two back to back hits with Chashme Baddoor and Pyaar Ka Punchnama, the actor disappeared from the horizon for a while. He reveals that it all happened because he was not interested in getting slotted as a comedian. “I have been very fortunate that projects have always came my way. When you give two back to back hits, projects always come your way. Having said that, my only fear was that I did not want to be slotted as a comic actor. It’s very difficult to say no to big films but such things do happen in the initial phase of your career. Either you say yes to those films or say no, and experiment other things, and show your artillery as an actor. I opted for the second, which is the hard part, but so be it,” reveals the actor.
Woven in the plot of Batti Gul Meter Chalu is also the theme of privatisation of state-run boards, which Divyendu also feels strongly against. "We chose the government and then later, they turn around and say that this guy will now run the whole thing. It basically amounts to cheating. This is the basic problem I have with privatisation. It is only when the government starts failing they go for privatisation. It also means you are failing the public and then failing me as a voter," reasons Divyendu.
One peculiar thing one notices about Divyendu is the fact that while Luv Ranjan, director of Pyaar Ka Punchnama, repeated most of his actors from his debut film in subsequent films, Divyendu was missing all along. “He very much wanted to repeat me and he was the only person who understood my point of view. I still remember him telling me that Liquid has a very strong image and he knew what my fear was. It was a big thing for me when he said that he understood me and suggested me to go out there and try. Had I been a limited actor I would have been more than happy to accept all the offers that came my way, but I believe in my merit of pulling off other things too.”
Shree Narayan Singh, the most important pillar of Batti Gul Meter Chalu, has a difficult task to match. Batti Gul Meter Chalu is also an attempt by the director to prove that the success of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was not a flash in the pan. The director, who started in the film industry as an editor, believes he will never lose his connect with social films. “I am very comfortable telling stories that have a social connect. I come from a small town where people have small problems and those problems hold no significance for people living in big cities. I have encountered such problems umpteen times and thus that connect will always be there," he says.
The director reveals that when he was given the responsibility to direct the film, Shahid Kapoor was already on board. He informs that the makers had already signed Shahid for the film, which was earlier titled Roshni. “I thought of meeting and telling him casually that I was looking for a different route through the same story. When I started narrating to him what I had in mind, we both were on the same page after five minutes. I had liked the core idea of Roshni and later on, incorporated changes into its plot.”
After the success of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, nothing has changed for Singh as he still stays in a rented house. “The 100 crore rupees, which the film managed at the box office, did not come to my home. Producers are making merry but these things don’t worry me at all. Had I worried about such things, I would have owned a bungalow by now,” he says. “I prefer doing things my way as per my terms and conditions. When I am capable enough I will buy my own flat. My daughter everyday travels from Goregoan to Bandra for her school and I am in no position to pay a rent of one lakh rupees to shift to a house near her school,” adds a nonchalant Shri Narayan.
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