“You don't have to look like a buffoon to make comedy films,” says Priyadarshan, the Director responsible for a unique brand of comedy films with a dash of South Indian Sambar flavour. With twenty five years in the film industry (count South as well as Bollywood), he is one of the most prolific film makers around who has churned out quality films like Virasat, Gardish, Hera Pheri and Saza-e-Kaala Paani and cool comedies like Hungama, Hulchul, Malamaal Weekly and Bhagam Bhag. Ask him about his proficiency in Hindi language and he says with a twinkle in his eyes, “People like Tabu start making fun of me the moment I start talking in Hindi.” In this IndiaFM exclusive interview, Priyan Sir (that's how he is famously called) talks about his forthcoming films Dhol and Bhool Bhulaiyaa. Get stirring….it tastes good! You have a serious looking face, how come you make such hilarious films?
(Laughs) That's a major complaint. I'm too serious to be a comedy filmmaker they say. But I have also made serious films also. You don't have to look like a buffoon to make comedy films. I only enjoy humour but I'm not delivering it as a person. I enjoy humour in my films. Even my children and wife don't consider me a very enterprising person as far as cracking jokes or reacting in a lively way. I think all my sense of humour has come from Charlie Chaplin, Laurel Hardy and Mickey Mouse.
You've made serious films like Saza-e-Kaala Paani and Virasat. But now you are only making comedy films….
After Virasat, Gardish and Saza-e-Kaala Paani I burned my fingers with two films Doli Saja Ke Rakhna and Saat Rang Ke Sapne. I thought there were two ways. Either I have stay in Bollywood or run away. Then I thought that a lot of my comedies have worked in south so I thought this is the best thing. I also thought that Hindi films are lacking in humour so I started with Hera Pheri. And it started a trend that even today everyone is making comedies. But mind you…Hera Pheri 1 and not Hera Pheri 2…. (laughs again).
You are a successful director both in South as well as Bollywood. You've been making Hindi films for some time now….but how comfortable are you with Hindi language?
I can read and write but I can't speak. I can speak only to my drivers. People like Tabu start making fun of me the moment I start talking in Hindi. I can read and write because it was my second language in college. I understand Hindi completely.
The dialogues especially the one-liners in your films are always very interesting….
I tell my writers two things. I always insist that they shouldn't be bookish and write as if you talk in real life. I also tell artistes just to behave and not to act. In Malayalam films however exaggerated the subject may be, they want the performances to look real. That's what I tried in Hindi and it worked very well for me. After seeing Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Akshay said, Priyan, I'm feeling very good because I feel I haven't acted in the film. It's only reacting to the situations. That's how most of Hollywood directors do. They just like to react to situations. They don't like to perform. An actor's performance should never dominate the sequence. That's why I think dialogues are looking good.
Bhool Bhulaiyaa is looking very interesting. It doesn't seem to be trademark comedy….
After Virasat, I think Bhool Bhulaiyaa is the first film when I've changed my lensing and everything else. I went for bigger visuals. The subject has a serious note and I'm trying to prove that ghosts exist. Scientifically, psychologically every which way I've proved I believe. Dhol, if you ask me is a regular Priyadarshan time pass film. It was not meant for intellectuals. It's meant for children, paisa vasool kind of film.
How would you describe your latest film Dhol?
Dhol is basically a film for Coffee Day, Barista film. It's a film for youngsters. Even when I was in college even I thought about falling in love with a good looking rich girl so it becomes easier to become rich. Staying in rented house with four or five friends. Those dreams are getting realized through this film. Dhol is a comedy for youngsters.
Bipasha Basu recently said on a chat show that one actress who needs a makeover is Tanushree Dutta. How differently do you think you have presented her in Dhol?
Problem is that in my film, there's no romance. I wanted a particular kind of girl. I didn't want an innocent looking beautiful girl. I just wanted a girl who fits in this role where romance is not the most important thing. I thought Tanushree was the right cast. All these twenty five years all my heroines look good. When you are working with them you are in love with them. I always prefer people should have their original skin tone.