“If Satyameva Jayate Was Life Changing For Me, Marjaavaan Is A Life Defining For Me”- Milap Milan Zaveri
In this interview, MILAP MILAN ZAVERI tells JYOTHI VENKATESH that Bhushan Kumar did not have any hand in my decision to cast Divya in Satyameva Jayate”
At the outset, writer director Milap Milan Zaveri is happy about the fact that his latest film Marjaavaan is slowly and steadily upping the collection charts at the box office. Talking about the film, he quips, “Marjaavaan is the most powerful love story that I have ever written in my life. In Ek Villain, I was only the dialogue writer though it was also quite a powerful love story. Marjaavaan is more like Tezaab which also was a powerful and violent love story. In Marjaavaan which is a very important phase in the film, the word “Mar” is what fascinated me when I set out to make the film. Everything in Marjaavaan revolves around Rakul Singh Preet and Tara Sutaria.”
The talk veers around Riteish Deshmuklh who is the blue eyed boy of Milap Milan Zaveri. “Riteish played the villain for the first time in Ek Villain whereas in my film Marjaavaan he plays a vertically challenged midget, who has 3 feet ka kameenapan and 6 feet ka akkad like Lilliput did in Subhash Ghai’s shelved film Devaa which had Amitabh Bachchan as the leading man. Riteish liked the vicious but at the same time fun villain that he played in Marjaavaan. Frankly speaking, I was scared to cast him in the role because he is very choosy and I was nervous that he would not agree to do the role if it is not better than the role that he had done in Ek Villain.”
Milan says that he has literally grown up on a staple diet consisting of films of successful main stream filmmakers like Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra, Ramesh Sippy, Sanjay Gupta and Mukul S. Anand. I am lucky that I got an opportunity to make films unabashedly in the same genre like say Satyamev Jayate and Marjaavaan. I did not assist any director before I made my debut film but only observed other directors at work when I was just the writer. It is what you can say Tarantino makes films with elements of Shaw Brothers”.
Milan continues, “When I direct, it helps me that I am also a writer as the writer in me allows me to change my scenes and adapt it differently. Like in Satyamev Jayate, in the Moharram scene, when John Abraham told me that I should empower the girl when she is harassed, on the spot I changed the scene and asked her to slap the cop, by setting out to work on improvise the scene as a writer.”
Milap confesses that while he was directing Marjaavaan, he did take suggestions from actors like Riteish Deshmukh and Sidharth Malhotra and improvised on his scenes a lot of times as a writer. “Riteish’s character as the midget came to me after I read some trivia on Devaa where Liliput was the actor. It was the inspiration for Riteish’s character as Vishnu whose arrogance in higher than the sky. Shraddha Kapoor was talkative ion Ek Villain but I made Tara Sutaria a loveable mute and deaf girl with no voice in contrast”
Milap adds. “Riteish always tells me that I am his life’s villain. At a time when I was typecast literally as a comedy director after Mastizaade, I made a film like Satyamebva Jayate, because an actor always longs to do challenging roles instead of playing safe. When the casting of Ek Villain was going on, it was I who suggested to Mohit that we should go in for Riteish to play the hardcore villain because he is the nicest guy in the film industry and it is simply difficult to hate him. It worked for his character. Riteish is not arrogant in life but has seen power. I wanted him to imbibe the confidence that he has in his day to day life and it worked for his character Vishnu in Marjaavaan.”
I ask Milap a question point blank. Why didn’t he set out to dare to cast Liliput himself in his film Marjaavaan when it was a trivia on the actor that had inspired him to pen the story of Marjaavaan with a midget villain? “That’s the way the cookie crumbles, my dear. It is only because of commercial considerations that I could not cast Liliput in the role that Riteish Deshmukh had played in Marjaavaan. Like it had happened with the casting of Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu in Saand Ki Aankh. It is the demand of the commercial genre that nobody would have come to watch my film if I had cast Liliput in place of Riteish Deshmukh.”
How tough was it for you to convince Siddharth Malhotra to play a character with negative shades in Marjaavaan considering that he has a lover boy image and in Marjaavaan he had to kill the girl he is in love with? I ask Milap, who shoots back immediately, “Siddharth had faith in me and surrendered to me. He is a sweetheart and made it a point to listen to me on the sets.”
What next, after Marjaavaan? I ask Milap. “I am very excited to once again work with John Abraham in Satyameva Jayate 2 after Satyameva Jayate, in which Divya Kumar Khosla would stage her comeback as a romantic leading lady after a long time opposite John Abraham. Let me clarify that poor Bhushan Kumar did not have any had in this decision of mine to cast Divya in Satyameva Jayate as the lead. It was Nikhil’s, Monisha’s and my idea that we should cast Divya in Satyameva Jayate 2, because she suits the role which will be great for her comeback. We gave Divya a proper narration and she immediately agreed to be a part of Satyameva Jayate. The first part gave me a voice and life in the film industry when I was lying low after my flops. Satyameva Jayate was life changing but take it from me, Marjaavaan is definitely a life defining vehicle for me.”
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