Love over biryani

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Mumbai: Here’s a recipe for success. Take a Hyderabadi girl and a Lucknowi chef, add some biryani and a plot line that makes the Nizami and Awadhi culture fall head-over-heels in love with each other, and you have Daawat-e-ishq.

Talking about the film and Hyderabad as his city of choice, director Habib Faisal says, “My wife is from Chennai and her Urdu is very different from what is spoken up North. I found that it holds true for most of the cities down South.

The dialect caught my interest. Hyderabad because, it is a cosmopolitan city, with the right mix of modern and an old city feel. You have your mohallas co-existing with your malls, this was what I was looking for,” says Habib.

“One important element in the film is food. I’m not giving it all away right now. You know how there have always been those sweet arguments between Awadhi and Nizami people about whose biryani is better? That banter between them, despite each biryani being very different? The film deals with sweet rivalry between the cultures and a face-off between the two.”

Ask him what was his best experience of working in the city, and he says, “We have not shot a single scene within a film studio. Everything was shot on the roads of Hyderabad. We have the Necklace Road, areas around Charminar, the old city, Hitec City and many malls.”

He adds, “Shooting in Hyderabad was easy. The best thing is how people are not shocked or surprised to see a shooting take place. People just went about their work. That added to the authenticity to the shots.”

Habib informs that apart from Parineeti Chopra, Aditya Roy Kapur, Anupam Kher and a couple of others, everyone else in the film are Hyderabadis. “We even had Elahe Hiptoola as our diction expert. Elahe and I would surprise each other with our Urdu.

Since I’ve spent a long time in Bhopal, my Urdu is very different from Elahe’s who is a local here. So we would both speak the Urdu we know. It was fun.”

With half of the plot in Hyderabad, Habib made sure he got his research right. “Elahe would take us around the city. My research was more about visiting the place and watching and learning. The accent, the language and how people would behave formed a major part of my research.”

“But, I’ve made sure that the film is not very localised. Since I wanted someone from Chandigarh too, to connect with the film, I have shot the film both from the eyes of a local and a visitor,” says Habib.

In Daawat-e-ishq, Parineeti and Anupam Kher are acting as Hyderabadis. “It is fun watching actors do roles that they have never portrayed. In my earlier movie, Do Dooni Chaar, Rishi and Neetu Kapoor played a middle class couple, characters they had never played before. That’s what I’m looking for and that’s what this cast is all about too.”

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