Interview: Harman Baweja
Dads launching sons are
nothing new in filmdom, but barely anyone does it now because of the spiraling
economics of the day. And your father has staked his all in an extraordinary
debut for you.
A film like Love Story 2050 needed foreign locations, visual and digital
effects, grandeur and a canvas that made it very steep budget-wise, and
dad's last film Main Aisa Hi Hoon has not done well.
But then, to begin with,
dad (producer-director and now writer Harry Baweja of Dilwale and Qayamat
fame) wanted to make such a film and it so happened that I fit the role
and was going to start out as actor. He had written the story at the turn
of the decade, but since our banner had to be established and we needed
basic security like a house and money, he made all those hardcore commercial
yes, I agree that he could have made the same kind of film for my debut
and played safe, but that's where he also thought it would be the perfect
launch for me and had the confidence both in my abilities and in his own
Were there troubled
Yes, so many stressful
moments were there. But we stuck together as a family - my mom (Pammi)
was associate producer and my younger sister Rowena was chief assistant
director and has co-written the script. Though dad has given so many successful
films, the last film's non-success counted against him and there were times
when we did not have the money to shoot the next day - but we sailed through
somehow because we were determined and united.
What kind of relationship
do you share with dad?
Dad's a typical
Punjabi father! He and I can have our share of fun and be buddies and he's
no dictator. But suddenly a point comes when I realize that I cannot cross
a certain line - he is dad and I am his son! (Laughs) On the sets I never
went pretentious and addressed him as "Sir". He was - as he is at home
- always "Papa" to me.
What is Priyanka
Chopra to you?
We are very good
(Laughs) She is
a very close friend. And hats off to Priyanka because when she saw she
had a great script, she had no ego about the fact that we had first signed
Kareena Kapoor and shot with her for a week. Priyanka is very special.
What's with your nasty
comments on Kareena Kapoor?
I never said anything
like that. Kareena and Hrithik Roshan - with whom I am unnecessarily compared,
for he is a superstar and a dancer without parallel - are all people I
know from childhood days. We are all part of the industry.
You have signed
up for four films. That must be quite a kick for someone who has not had
a single release.
The greatest high
for me is not the number of films but that I have got great scripts and
filmmakers, like Sanjay Leela Bhansali with Bachchan-saab as my co-star
in Chenab Gandhi, Ashutosh Gowariker in What's Your Raashee?, a fabulous
script like Ajit Pal's Victory, which is Manmohan Shetty's first film as
a producer and Anees Bazmee's film with Boney Kapoor.
And how would you rate
yourself as an actor?
I am okay for a
first film I guess. (Laughs) Do you know that I was happy with the earlier
scenes I shot for Love Story 2050 but not about the later ones, and I told
dad about it and said that I thought that we should re-shoot some of them.
And dad refused to re-shoot!
He said that he had been observing me and found that I was growing as an
actor throughout, and that was the reason why I was not happy as I went
along, because my own bar was growing. He said that that if we began to
re-shoot it would never end as I would keep feeling that way all the time
and then the film would release only in 2050! (Laughs) He reminded me that
any actor got a certain 'discount' from an audience in his first film and
if they even thought that I was 'not bad' for a first film, I will have
But when did you
realize that you wanted to be an actor and nothing else?
At 16, midway through
my Hotel Management! I told dad that it wasn't working for me. He was okay,
but said, 'It's not going to be so easy for you, son.'
So I began to assist
dad and then went off to USA to do simultaneous courses at the UCLA in
Santa Monica and the Lee Strasborg Academy. In the first, I learnt comprehensively
about filmmaking and all its aspects including acting, while the second
was about theatre. I was there for two years. Then I came back and again
But wasn't Hindi
cinema a completely different ball-game?
is not much difference in the learning. You have to adapt what you have
learned to our cinema. But there are things we must learn from them, like
their way of planning everything so well. As for the acting grammar, they
are very real out there. It is rightly said that in Hollywood you act whereas
in Indian cinema you project! When I told dad that I could not relate to
the singing and dancing, he looked at me and said, 'Hey boy, you are treading
on dangerous lines there. Then you will be stuck in L.A. You have to do
Indian cinema!' And that's when I came back!
And have your views
been modified since?
I even took part in the music sittings with Anu Malik! I also learnt dancing.
Dad was right, you know.