Dinesh Vijan hit bull’s eye with his very first film as producer of Being Cyrus. He’s now launched a production company along with buddy and colleague Saif Ali Khan called Illuminati Films.
Illuminati Films is all set to release their maiden venture Love Aaj Kal, in association with Eros International.
Directed by Imtiaz Ali, it is one of the much awaited releases of the year. The film stars Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukoue, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh and Rahul Khanna.
In this conversation with Businessofcinema.com, Vijan, whose excitement is clearly visible, speaks about Illuminati Films, his partner Saif, Love Aaj Kal, his director and the entire experience of making Love Aaj Kal…
Since you are so upbeat about Love Aaj Kal, let’s start with the film. Tell us where the film has been shot?
We started the film in London and moved to San Francisco then came back from there and started the marathon India schedule. The movie has been shot in places like Kolkatta, Delhi, Patiala, Mandawa in Rajasthan, and Mumbai.
What is Love Aaj Kal all about?
The film has two chapters one is a contemporary love story, which is Love Aaj set across London, San Francisco and Delhi and there is the 1965 portion set across Delhi and Kolkatta
How did you come up with the title Love Aaj Kal?
We took some time to decide on the title. It was initially just production number one and then it was called Aaj Kal. Then we felt something was missing so Love got added to that, which sounds better and also sums up the film as in Love Aaj and Love Kal.
How did you zero in on Imtiaz Ali to direct the first film for Illuminati?
We couldn’t have asked for a better director to start our production house with. Imtiaz is a great guy, very easy to work with. The dialogues of this film are unique and fresh. I had met Imtiaz after Socha Na Tha, even before Jab We Met became big. Saif and I spoke about him and we met and decided he would be the one to direct our first film.
How has the whole experience been shooting this film?
Love Aaj Kal marked the beginning of many things – first collaboration with Saif, birth of Illuminati Films and building the Illuminati team. We chose approach, sincerity and right attitude over experience, we wanted to develop our own people because those are the people who are going to stay with us.
What really stays with me is the way different people, different teams across three countries: UK, US and within India aligned themselves over email, long distance calls and of course on the ground to make this film happen. At one point schedules were being decided over conference calls with the director in London, crew in India and the production team in San Francisco. It was a really memorable experience.
We are one film old today and the whole Illuminati team has learnt a lot from this film.
How would you describe Love Aaj Kal?
Personally, I think Love Aaj Kal is one of the most relevant films to come out in a long time, it looks at relationships in a very new light and a very new language and I think that’s what’s special about the film. I think every person who watches the film will identify with the film, I’m very proud to have made it. For me Love Aaj Kal is like a first child and will always be very close to my heart. I believe it’s started the journey of film making for Illuminati with great aplomb…. And as they say well begun is half done!
How is it working with Saif as a partner?
Saif is a dear friend. We met professionally and we had professional equations even before we became friends. We have clear departments. The business side is taken care of by me, creatively he’s very good with the handling of the publicity like creating the promo and the posters… that’s what he enjoys. There is no duplication between what I do and what he does. I can’t do what he does and what I do is something I don’t think he wants to do. We work well as a team.
What are your future plans for Illuminati? Has Imtiaz signed a three film deal as is the norm these days?
We do not believe in signing a three or four film contracts with anyone. We will be looking at working with other directors too in the future. At Illuminati we offer a great atmosphere to work in.
Our next project Agent Vinod is slated to go on floors by September and we plan to release it around June – July 2010. We also have some other films in the pipeline. There’s a film by Homi Adjania after Agent Vinod.