Hello Folks! In this week’s Blab with Sandy interview section, we have scriptwriter, dialouge writer and director Akarsh Khurana with us. Akarsh Khurana is turning a director with the film Karwaan which stars Irrfan Khan, Dulquer Salmaan and Mithila Palkar in the lead roles. Lets dive into the exciting blab I had with him:
Sandy: Hello Akarsh ji! Hope you are doing great!
Akarsh: Hey Sandy. Yes. I’m doing well. How about you? 🙂
Sandy: I guess I’m doing well too! 🙂 Could you tell us about your background? How and when did you enter into the creative aspects like screenwriting and filmmaking?
Akarsh: I’m a graduate in Statistics, with post graduate diplomas in Advertising, Marketing, and Film. And I run a theatre company, which is now 18 years old. After college, I spent three years in a corporate job, but realized that I wasn’t catering enough to my need to create. So I quit, with the intention of focusing more on theatre, and pursuing some writing work.
My father is an established actor, writer, and director, so I guess I inherited some of his interests. I worked with him on a few screenplays, and then began assisting his partner Robin Bhatt on projects. And it was thanks to Robin Bhatt that I got Krrish, which I co-wrote and was a direction assistant on. This was way back, 2004-2006.
Sandy: You have worked as a screenwriter for films like Krissh, Kites, U Me aur Hum and others. You have also worked as a dialogue writer for Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani and 2 States. Now, you are turning a director with Karwaan. How has your journey been from being a screenwriter to becoming a director?
Akarsh: Hussain Dalal is the award winning dialogue writer of Yeh Jawaani and 2 States. He is a close friend, and I could not possibly steal his credit. He is extremely talented, and has written the dialogues for Karwaan as well.
Very early in my screenwriting career, I also became an assistant director. Also I had been directing for the stage since I was 16. So I don’t think it was a journey from one job role to another. Both existed simultaneously, and organically.
Sandy: Karwaan seems to be a breezy slice of life kind of movie. What can the audience expect from it?
Akarsh: I think Karwaan is a fun ride, with emotional undertones. Audiences can expect to engage with three very interesting characters, who undertake their own internal journeys while they’re on this strange road trip together.
Sandy: What made you choose South star Dulquer Salmaan for a role in Karwaan?
Akarsh: Shubh Shivdasani, the associate producer of the film recommended Dulquer. I was aware of him, and had watched and loved Charlie, but when his name came up I watched a lot more of his work. But meeting him sealed the deal for me.
We met in the lobby of a hotel in Chennai. He was easy, smart, unassuming, attentive, and just came across as a wonderful guy. He also has a knack for taking on unusual characters and scripts. We got really lucky.
Sandy: How was the working experience with Irrfan Khan?
Akarsh: To begin with, intimidating. Not because of the person he is, but because of who we see him as. But three days into the shoot, a comfortable relationship had formed. There was a lot of professionalism and respect in the way the crew dealt with him, but he always remained accessible and co-operative. Also, he’s just a delight to watch when he’s performing. He is rightfully one of the greatest assets of the film.
Sandy: Mithila Palkar is also a part of Karwaan. The film seems to be a coming together of characters from different walks of life and same is the case with the actors too! Dulquer, Irrfan and Mithila belong to different region of cinema. Few anecdotes on it:
Akarsh: It was never planned. It just helps that all three of them have their own different audiences. I personally feel it widens the reach of the film. Irrfan Sir, of course, is a nationwide phenomenon. But it was surprising to see the amount of awareness there was for the other two. Crew members from Delhi knew Dulquer and had crushes on him.
Many people have seen O Kadhal Kanmani because it is a Mani Ratnam film, and they know him from there. Now with Mahanati, he has also conquered the Telugu imagination. Dulquer’s friends from Kerala were aware of Mithila and her work. School kids in Ooty recognized her from her web series. I think it is a very interesting convergence.
Quick Shot Round:
- Theatre: Comfort zone
- Favorite Films: Too many to list
- Which genre excites you the most: Meaningful comedy
- Mithila Palkar: Rising star
- If you had to rename Karwaan, what would you name it: I wouldn’t
- Day shoots or Night shoots: Day
- If not a filmmaker: Everything else that I am
- A film(s) which you regret watching: None! There’s always something to learn
- Remakes: Which remake did I like? Peter Jackson’s King Kong. Which film would I like to remake? The Descendants.
- Actors you would like to work with: Everyone I haven’t worked with yet. As long as they’re nice people.
- Screen writing, Dialogue writing and Direction – order them in your preference: Direction, dialogue writing, screenwriting
- Actor(s)/Actress(s) whose work has impressed you recently: Jaideep Ahlawat, Vicky Kaushal
- Karwaan: Passion project
Sandy: What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
Akarsh: I’m not sure. I’m scheduled to direct another film for RSVP, but that is not before next year. I think a web series may be working out for me to direct. Also a new theatre production opens in August.
Sandy: Would you like to convey anything to the readers about Karwaan?
Akarsh: I think we’ve made a nice film. Please give it a chance.
Sandy: Few words about Hyderabad Local
Akarsh: I have great respect for any publication / online magazine that manages to maintain its own personality and identity in the crowd of similar establishments surrounding it. Hyderabad Local manages that. More power to you.
Editor’s Note: Wishing Akarsh, Irrfan, Dulquer, Mithila and the team of Karwaan a breezy journey filled with memorable moments at the Box Office!
Interview by Sandeep Rao (Sandy)