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A fresh take on romance

As “Ugly Aur Pagli” comes calling this week, Anuj Kumar catches up with its director Sachin Khot



Action! Sachin Khot explaining a scene to Mallika Sherawat on the sets of “Ugly Aur Pagli”

Call it superficial or a reflection of society, stereotypes are breaking thick and fast at the box office these days. Be it representation of minority or trying out odd couples, filmmakers are finally pushing for a change. The latest to apply for the club is Ugly Aur Pagli releasing this Friday. “The idea is to turn the idea of romance upside down. Hindi cinema is full of scripts where romance is synonymous with mushiness, sweet nothings, roses and dates but here the female character is dominating,” says Sachin Khot, who is making his big screen directorial debut with the film after earning a name for himself as a television director with series like Shanti, Kagaar and Haqeeqat to his credit.

‘No slapstick’

Sachin insists when he says dominance it also includes physical authority. “She gives him an arduous task to perform to win her. And then the popular tagline ‘99 slaps and one kiss’ explains it. In fact there could be a contest for counting how many times she actually slaps him,” he quips. However, he quickly clears that every slap has a substantial reason and it’s not a ‘slap’stick comedy. “By the end people will realise that it is not frivolous comic stuff and there is a reason behind the dominance.”

Talking about how the audience will relate to the idea, Sachin says in metros one does come across such dominating women.

And women are always known to be emotionally stronger. The she and he in question are Mallika Sherawat and Ranvir Shorey.

“Not many actors would have agreed to be slapped so many times by his female co-star. Ranvir plays a lovable loser whom all can identify with. Similarly Mallika plays a simple girl quite unlike her image.”

But Pagli? “The title is not to be taken literally. It is how the society would perceive such couple.” Sachin feels post-Murder Mallika has shown a certain degree of thought in her choice of films. “People have a misconception that she has a studious approach towards acting. Here she has matched Ranvir, who is known for his improvisations.” The film also has a strong support cast led by Zeenat Aman. As for the oddity aspect, Sachin clears the film is not a continuation of Pyaar Ke Side Effects as a section of the media has reported.

“To me casting of the lead pair includes a combination of physical attributes and a certain on-screen chemistry, as has been the case always, but the most important part is it should emerge out of the writing, which is happening these days. The bottom line is believable characters.”

As a young director, Sachin is excited that audiences are opening up for change but at the same time feels that the viewer is stuck with comedy. “I am waiting for times when different genres are well received.”

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