Vipul Shah loves to experiment with different genres of movies. After making an edge-of-the-seat action thriller Aankhen, he made a heart-warming family drama Waqt. And now, he is working on a romantic comedy Namastey London. In conversation with the Bollywood director, we discover the cool, composed and immensely talented Vipul Shah.
Reportedly Akshay Kumar was instrumental in inspiring the plot of Namastey London
Akshay once told me an incident that happened to somebody in London, and I thought that was a very potent plot for a film. So I started writing the script on that plot. Of course I made a very different version of the plot, but it was inspired from the incident Akshay told me. Once I started writing it I found so many dynamics into it, and I found it very challenging and interesting. I think it has shaped up pretty well.
So was it Akshay's brainchild?
Yeah, in a way he narrated me an incident that took place in London and that became the base of the film. So in that sense yes, Akshay was instrumental in making this happen.
Why a title like Namastey London?
This is a film is about cross-culture, Punjab meets London. And basically whenever any Indian meets anybody the first greeting that we have is Namastey. So when our culture was going to meet the western culture and there was going to be a spark coming out of that, I thought Namastey London was a perfect title for that.
Was teaming up with Akshay for the third time (after Aankhen and Waqt) equally enjoyable?
I think it is very natural that when you are doing well and when you enjoy working with each other, you obviously tend to do more work together. Even when Akshay and I were working on Namastey London we were talking about what to make next. So that's a process. Till you don't really get into a fight, you enjoy working together. Besides, Akshay has evolved as an actor tremendously. Today I think he is one of the most bankable actors we have. He is very good with comedy; he is very good with romantic roles as well as emotions. So I think he has become an all rounder actor and which is fantastic.
Upen plays the role of an NRI, and he is an NRI in real life also.
I wanted him to play what he is, and he is playing a Pakistani boy that's the only difference. I think he has done a very good job. I wanted him to be absolutely natural. He is playing a Pakistani boy but he is born and brought up in London as a character. I think that adds a lot because when you are playing what you are or where you belong to, it makes the whole process far more interesting for you as an actor. And I think Upen has done his part pretty well.
Even Katrina plays her real life character of a London born girl
Yes, Katrina is playing the character of a girl who is born and brought up in London because I wanted somebody like her to play the part. When I met her I realized that she was the character. And for Katrina's father's character, I wanted some person who would look like somebody who is settled in London for the last 20-30 years, a Punjabi man who can look like Katrina's father, and I thought Rishi Kapoor was able to fit the bill. That's why I approached Rishji. So every character basically is always approached on the basis of the character that they have in the film.