Director Shashank Ghosh has passed the remake test with Khoobsurat. Bradley Fernandes discovers what makes him the hatke filmmaker
Ad man turned filmmaker Shashanka Ghosh has made off-kilter movies like, Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II (2003) and Quick Gun Murugan (2009) in the past but for him they remain mainstream films. He never even imagined in his wildest dreams that he would ever be asked to remake a cult classic. It took a lot of emotional arm twisting on producer Rhea Kapoor’s part to make him agree to redesign Khoobsurat. To everyone’s relief (and even his own), the film turned out to be heartwarming, winning plaudits from the press and performing well at the box-office as well. Even Rekha, for whom the original was a path-breaking film, seemingly liked it. Shashanka is now itching to make an original film with Sonam Kapoor and Fawad Khan. He usually takes long sabbaticals between films. We only hope, we don’t have to wait for five years for his next…
“I pick up work that interests me”
Before films, I used to direct and write ad films. Later I helped launch MTV and Channel V. I was also creatively involved at Channel V for eight years. After quitting that I directed my first film Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II. Between Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II and Quick Gun Murugan, there was a six-year gap. Between Quick Gun Murugan and Khoobsurat there was a five-year gap. In these gaps I only picked up work that interested me.
“Rhea Kapoor wanted me to direct the remake”
Swati Shetty from Disney called me up and said there was a film to direct. The producers were Anil Kapoor and his daughter Rhea. When I heard the concept, I loved it and it took us six months to develop it. But that didn’t work out. Four months later, Rhea called me to say that she was planning to remake Khoobsurat. She was adamant that I direct it. She bluntly told me, ‘I’m not doing it without you.’
“Films are like actual worlds, which pull you in”
When I trust someone I follow them blindly. This time I was following a girl half my age. Rhea kept saying, ‘I want a pretty film, I want a chic-flick’. I kept wondering why she’d hired a 50-year-old man. But she entrusted me with the movie.
We took a long time in writing the film and it was justified. Writing a good script is important. I remember what lyricist and writer Jaideep Sahni had once told me. I had bumped into him and asked him ‘Kya kar rahey ho’ and he replied, ‘I’m working on XYZ’. After four months I bumped into him at a book store and casually inquired, ‘Woh XYZ film ho gayi?’. He’d said, ‘Array duniya bana raha hoon, thoda time toh lagta hai (I’m creating a whole new world, it’ll take time)’. His reply has stayed with me to date. For Jaideep they are not just films, they’re a completely different world and I believe that.