Mumbai: Director Sharat Katariya got the idea for his upcoming, ’90s nostalgia-filled love story Dum Laga Ke Haisha, from a poster about unusual and weird sports.
“I got the idea from a poster about unusual sports and one of them was wife-carrying competition. I thought it would be interesting if the husband was thin while the wife was on the heavier side. Somehow, the thought stayed with me,” Sharat said.
Starring Ayushmann Khurrana and newcomer Bhumi Pednekar, the YRF film, releasing on Friday, revolves around a mismatched couple (Prem and Sandhya) who try to find love after their arranged marriage.
Sharat, whose writing credits include Bheja Fry, Bheja Fry 2, Hum Tum Shabana, Sunglass and Titli, made his directorial debut with 10ml Love.
The director said he decided to revisit the “bizarre idea” when things were not moving in his life.
“I was pretty low when I wrote the story. I had just directed ’10mm love’ which did not do well and I thought I did not have it in me to direct. I decided to focus on writing which came naturally to me. When Maneesh (Sharma) read the story, he liked it and told me to direct it. He later decided to back it,” he told media.
Sharat said it was a conscious decision to set it in Haridwar and in the 1990s when Kumar Sanu’s voice ruled Bollywood.
“The character of Prem is a huge Kumar Sanu fan. The singer is his sole inspiration. I remember when Kumar Sanu came on the sets, everyone right from Ayushmann to Bhumi lined up to get their pictures clicked with him like typical fans. In that sense, it is very nostalgia-inducing,” he said.
Pednekar, who worked in the casting department of Yash Raj Films, is making her debut with the movie and Sharat feels she fits the bill completely.
“I wanted someone who will look the part and not just be a pretty face. Bhumi was Shanoo Sharma’s assistant. Seema Pahwa, who plays her mother’s role, mentored her. Bhumi travelled with us to Haridwar and took to wearing sareeS and jewellery like local women. She was plump when she came onboard but she went onto gain 10 to 15 kgs more for the part,” he said.
Sharat feels it is Khurrana’s best performance.
“I have laughed and cried watching Ayushmann on the screen, he is so good in the role. He is the soul of Prem. It was just a story on paper but he brought life to it. He is really humble and modest in person.”
Narrating an interesting story behind the cassette store that features in the movie, Sharat said they wanted over 1 lakh cassettes for the film but they would just not find it anywhere.
“In the ’90s cassettes were big but were about to phase out. My character owns a cassettes shop but the business is not doing well. We wanted a great number of cassettes but it was impossible to find it anywhere. Then we had a miracle of sorts which could only happen in a place like Haridwar. We found a person, whose father had a cassette shop that was closed after he died. It had great number of cassettes and the mix tape recorder. It was the shop of our story.”