Kaashvi Nair, daughter of director Shashilal Nair, has directed a one-hour-long film for MTV to be premiered this Sunday (August 24). Produced by Nikhil Advani (whom she worked with as an assistant director), Kaashvi’s directorial debut is a love triangle with a twist. Her name, Kaashvi says, means Russian Princess, and she volunteers, “my parents make me feel like one.” This Sunday will decide whether this youngster can stake a claim to a place in the TV and film industry.
When did you begin working with Nikhil Advani?
I think it was about six to seven years ago. After Chaandni Chowk To China, he was making a film,Chandbhai. I went for an interview, met the First AD and the moment I reached home I got a call saying, ‘Nikhil wants to meet you’ … and he signed me on as his Directorial Assistant. I assisted him on Patiala House, D-Day and Delhi Safari.
Did you ask Nikhil to let you direct the short film for MTV, Shaadi Vaadi And All That, or did he choose you for the job?
Well, he told me that he wanted me to sit in on a meeting with MTV. In the middle of the meeting, he announced that Kaashvi is going to direct the film. And I went like, “Whaaaat?”
Why did you choose a love triangle – it’s a much-visited concept.
It is but it finally depends on the treatment. Besides it was MTV’s condition that it had to be a love story. So my co-writer Maahir Zaveri and I came up with this sweet concept that encompassed a love triangle.
Have you ever been entangled in a love triangle?
How did you conceive it differently?
It is very youthcentric. It is in the very ‘us’ (youngsters) zone. The guys are independent and ambitious; the girl is quirky and lives on her own terms.
Sounds like the girl has elements of your personality.
Yes, she has. Apart from the clothes there are also other minor things about me that reflect in the character.
You are fortunate to have been given the chance to direct a film at 27. Did you feel a sense of awe?
Surprisingly, no. Once you go on the floors, there are so many things to be done you just don’t have the luxury to sit back and think ‘I am directing a film!’ In fact, if anything, once the film was ready I felt a surge of relief that I had completed the job. I knew I had cracked it once I had the story in hand after a week of continuous writing.
Your father Shashilal Nair has directed Jackie, Dimple and SRK. Has he consciously or subconsciously been an influence on you?
Obviously. I grew up in the world of films. Ever since childhood, I knew I wanted to be a part of this industry.
What sense of discovery, if any, did you feel when you worked with the three young actors?
Once I gave the three lead players, Mishal Raheja, Vishal and Auritra Ghosh a brief, they just delivered and even imparted subtle touches of their own. I once asked Auritra to behave a bit weird and she did it so well, she had the whole crew in splits. If I were to enumerate each one’s strengths I would say, Auritra took my breath away with her spontaneity and bubbliness, Vishal Karwal has a very hard-working streak and Mishal is very endearing which was in perfect sync with his character. In fact, when Mishal walked in, we knew we were sorted.
Are you ready for a full-length feature?
Yes, I am. I want to put it out in the universe because direction is what I want to do.
Mishal Raheja, who crested the charts of popularity with ‘Laagi Tujhse Lagan’, plays one of the three principal characters in Shaadi Vaadi And All That.
You are doing a Nikhil Advani short film, Shaadi Vaadi And All That.
Yes. It is directed by Kaashvi Nair (daughter of director Shashilal Nair), and she is a diminutive dynamo. I am playing a lawyer who falls in love with an actress who is engaged to an actor. It is essentially a love triangle with a twist.
I believe that Nikhil Advani has also cast you in another short film.
It’s a short film about Indo-Pak relationships. This is part of six short films being directed by different directors, including Nikhil Advani, for Zee TV. I presume he liked my work in Shaadi Vaadi And All That and decided to cast me in one of the roles.
We have seen you largely in intense roles like that of Dutta Bhau. Do you miss out on doing light hearted/comic/romantic roles?
I miss out on it tooooo much. I am dying to do a fun character. In fact, my yet-to-be-released film, Budget Trip, has me in an out-and-out fun character but that film is taking long to release. I want the audience to see me in a light-hearted avatar. I am dying to do a comedy.
– Dinesh Raheja/Priyanka Raheja, Bollywood News Service