‘We don’t want to lose out on its cult value by rushing into something just for the sake of making Part 3.’
Before Abhishek Pathak directed one of 2022’s rare blockbusters, Drishyam 2, he was busy with a path-breaking career.
He’s responsible for making Kartik Aaryan a star and for giving Vidyut Jammwal a platform to show off his mind-blowing action.
In the concluding part of an interesting conversation with Rediff.com Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharya, Abhishek Pathak says, “Dad (Producer Kumar Mangat) has been a part of the film industry for almost three decades now. Seeing that world together, watching Ajay (Devgn) sir perform, I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
- Read the first part here!
You have directed a film before, back in 2009?
That was a short film, Boond, which was well appreciated.
The idea came to me while watching the news at home.
I was fascinated to see a teacher, who was holding a gun while giving lessons to his students and learning that it was because of a fight with his brother over a hand pump in the common area.
It triggered me that water, which is so easily available to us, can become a reason for brothers to kill each other.
Boond, which delved into the issue of water scarcity, bagged 14-15 international awards, an IFFI recognition and a National Award for Best Short Fiction Film.
Standing with all the amazing talent and receiving the award from the President of India was such a thrill.
I was only 21 when I made it, having just returned from the New York Film Academy.
How did the journey into film-making start?
Dad (Producer Kumar Mangat) has been a part of the film industry for almost three decades now.
Seeing that world together, watching Ajay (Devgn) sir perform, I knew this is what I wanted to do.
I started early, at 17, working as a production assistant, an AD (assistant director), went to New York to study film-making, made a film that won a National Award, then bumped into Luv Ranjan at a common friend’s wedding in 2008-2009.
We connected immediately, spoke about what kind of films we wanted to make and in Mumbai, he narrated a script which I loved and wanted to produce immediately.
But Aakash Vaani was an expensive film, and since it was taking time, Luv wrote Pyaar Ka Punchnama.
And it was an instant hit?
No, despite our conviction in the subject, no one came to the theatres for the first few days.
On Sunday, I told Luv that if this film doesn’t work, I had no idea what else to make.
Around Tuesday-Wednesday, through strong word-of-mouth, collections started picking up and the film ran for two months straight.
It continued to find viewers on satellite, OTT and the Internet, going on to become a cult film.
You then went back and made Akaash Vani?
Yes, it’s very close to Kartik (Aaryan), Luv and me.
We made an honest film, it was well appreciated, but we didn’t get the numbers.
No Smoking with Anurag Kashyap was another brilliant script.
That also did not work in the theatres. Maybe it was ahead of its time, but I’m proud of both the films.
Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 did well too. When is Part 3 coming, given that Kartik is a big star today?
Luv is busy with his new film and Kartik has other commitments too.
We need to sit across and discuss how to go forward, but that can happen only after we get a great screenplay.
Pyaar Ka Punchnama is a big franchise for all of us and we don’t want to lose out on its cult value by rushing into something just for the sake of making Part 3.
You’ve spun another franchise, Khuda Haafiz.
That’s inspired by a true story which is so personal and real that while hearing it, I could feel for the couple and all that they had been through and knew immediately that I had to make this film.
Chapter 2 grew out of their continuing journey. We will see if we can come up with another brilliant idea to justify its return.
Will you continue to direct?
Absolutely, that’s the idea.
I am juggling several ideas, writing my own, some which I am discussing with others. Let’s see what emerges from all the brain-storming.
Apart from films, what else interests Abhishek Pathak?
I love music.
I play it a lot when I am alone.
At one time, I used to write songs, but I don’t want to pursue that as a career.
I am very involved with our label, Panorama Music.
And I always make time for the gym. Fitness is important to everyone.
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