The acting offers I got didn't excite me: Punit Malhotra

By Subhash K Jha

Mumbai, July 3 (IANS) Manish Malhotra's nephew Punit Malhotra, whose directorial debut "I Hate Luv Storys" released Friday, says that he came to Bollywood to be a leading man but did not get good acting offers.

"I thought being Manish Malhotra's nephew would make thing easier for me. But it did not. The kind of acting offers I got didn't excite me. So I decided to assist (director) Karan Johar. So you see, I can't bring myself to hate love stories even if I tried," he explains.

Apparently, Karan had assured Punit that his starry dreams would one day be realized.

When Karan suggested that Punit write a script, he instinctively turned to the world he grew up in. Situated in the movie industry, 'I Hate Love Storys' (IHLS) takes tongue-in-cheek potshots at the romantic cinema of the likes of Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar and even Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Quite naturally, Punit is concerned about how the industry bigwigs would react to the spoofing of these romantic greats.

Sighs Punit: "I respect all the names you've mentioned. I've grown up watching their films. I can't say that I'm a diehard romantic like my producer Karan Johar. Or that I believe in love at first sight. But I am not cynical about love like my hero, Imran Khan in IHLS."

"Though the film begins by using these points cynically, my hero comes around to believe in true love. I hope these near-legendary filmmakers would take the references to their cinema in the right spirit," he adds.

Easier said than done! Filmmakers are making not-so-discreet inquiries about what Punit is up to.

Understandably the debutant is shaken but not stirred. "I'm sure everyone will understand how much I believe in true love after watching the film. Sammir Dattani and Sonam Kapoor's characters have been named Raj and Simran after Shah Rukh and Kajol in 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge'. They are shown to be so much in love that it seems ridiculous to someone who hasn't experienced such passion. When Imran's character Jay enters this world, he's quite amused and cynical, but he comes around," he explains.

On the other hand, he adds: "Sammir Dattani's character is a complete romantic at heart. I do believe in true love and I hope that comes across."

For his next film, Punit has decided to cast Imran and Sonam besides himself. "It's too early to comment on my next film. But I will say one thing. After a huge romantic hit like 'You've Got Mail', Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks came together again for 'Sleepless In Seattle'. That too was a big success," he says optimistically.

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