What do you call a person who started his career as an electronics engineer and ended up being the real life version of 'Edward Scissor Hands'? Well, before you start your guessing game, let us unravel the answer that he is none other than Shirish Kunder, who started his 'Bollywood ka Safar' as an editor with Sudhir Mishra’s Calcutta Mail and reached dizzying heights with his 'then-director now-wife' Farah Khan's smash hit Main Hoon Na. He also showed Bollywood as to what creative 'sets-appeal' is all about in Jaan-E-Mann. If that was not enough, then, he took yet another step towards making his career come a full circle, by forming his own production banner called 'Shirish Kunder Film Company Pvt. Ltd.', under which he is going to produce his films.
Shirish, who no longer edits professionally by the way, made an exception for his wife Farah and edited Om Shanti Om which is releasing in November.
In an interview with IndiaFM, Shirish Kunder talks about Om Shanti Om and his directorial ventures. Is it true that you are directing a film titled, Prince of India under your own production banner?
Yes, it’s absolutely true. Prince of India will be my next film after Joker. And I am producing both these films.
What is the name of your production banner? Is your brother also co-producing films with you?
My brother Ashmith is a writer-editor. He is not a Producer. I have formed my own production house called ‘Shirish Kunder Film Company Pvt. Ltd.’
Who all have been signed for the film, Prince of India other than Akshay Kumar?
I haven’t begun casting for Prince of India yet. Akshay Kumar has been cast for the title role of Joker.
What genre do these films fall into?
Joker is sci-fi action-comedy set in a futuristic era. Prince of India is an epic action-drama set in a period era. So, with my next two films, I will be exploring two diverse eras.
What is the status of Joker?
Joker is in the pre-production stage. Being a visual-FX oriented film, every single shot needs to be worked out intricately. It is a very time consuming process, and hence the long pre-production time. The whole of 2008 will be dedicated to it. Joker is my dream project. I cannot afford to go wrong with it.
Who are you likely to sign other than Akshay Kumar in the film?
Akshay Kumar is the only actor finalized for Joker so far. Am still making up my mind about the others - A Super Villain (who needs to be brilliant in action), Heroine (should be a terrific dancer), A cop (second lead), and a host of supporting actors. I am very finicky, and take a lot of time deciding on the smallest of stuff. Also, I like working with people who are very passionate about their work. And forming such a team takes a very long time.
What is the story all about? Could you tell us something about Akshay Kumar’s role?
Akshay Kumar plays a superhero in Joker. All I can reveal at this point is that Joker circulates around Good v/s Evil… Superhero v/s Super villain… Adrenalin pumping Action-Comedy!
Do you think being the director and the editor of a film helps in executing the film better and easier? Would u be editing as well?
Yes being an editor helps. An editor’s vision is very clear and shoots only what is required. In fact, knowledge of any additional craft is an added advantage to a director. In my very first film, I had single handedly did the Story-Screenplay-Dialogues-Edited-Background Music Score and directed the film. No one in India has achieved such a feat before. But now that I also have the additional responsibility of a producer, I do not intend to edit my films anymore.
Are you planning to have any special tie-ups with corporate houses?
Yes, I intend to, and I am close to finalizing a deal with a particular corporate house. We are working on the details now.
Which other films are you likely to make under your production banner? Are you planning of roping in other directors as well?
Yes, I am in the process of meeting some directors and developing scripts. I want to make many films, but I cannot practically direct all of them. So I am looking for like-minded people with whom I can creatively collaborate.
Coming back to your two films, who will be composing the music for the films?
I am still deciding on that. Haven’t made up my mind yet.
When are both your films going on the floor?
Joker will go on floor in Jan 2009. Prince of India will start in the second half of 2009.
When will they be releasing?
Joker will release in 2009. Prince of India in 2010…
You have also edited Om Shanti Om, Farah Khan’s soon releasing film?
Yes, I have. I do not professionally edit anymore. But Om Shanti Om was an exception I made for Farah.
What is Om Shanti Om all about?
To sum it up, Om Shanti Om is an excuse to entertain.
How is the music of the film?
I love it. It’s a complete album, with songs of every possible mood.
Which is your favourite track?
What’s your take on Deepika Padukone as an actress?
I think there has been a long gap since Aishwarya last came in. Deepika has filled that void.
How was it working with the crew of Om Shanti Om?
Most of the crew is the same as Main Hoon Na. I have worked with them earlier. So it was cool working with them again. Now it’s like working with your family.
How do you see Farah’s career graph moving?
Success and more success... Her career graph is growing vertically.
And how about your career graph?
Mine is growing horizontally. I am constantly exploring newer avenues.
What are your expectations of Om Shanti Om?
It’s a sure shot blockbuster.
Why should audience go and watch Om Shanti Om?
If the audience is looking for hardcore entertainment, they have no other choice this Diwali.
Any other project in the pipeline?
There are lot more interesting things coming up. Will be sharing some exciting news soon.