Director Punit Malhotra talks about juxtaposing an urban love story in his next film against a rural setting.
'My debut film 'I Hate Luv Storys' was a contemporary love story in an urban setting. While I’ll always be more comfortable with romances that deal with issues related to the youth with my background— this is, after all, my grounding — I was keen to explore a story with more layers.
Most of our population lives in villages and this fact touches our lives at some point of time.
'Gori Tere Pyaar Mein!' has become a medium for me to tell a love story but also share a social message with my audience. I came up with a way to narrate the story of two young lovers (played by Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor) from the city and juxtapose it against the rural backdrop.
A rural setting for a contemporary love story is an age-old formula, used even in films such as 'Maine Pyar Kiya' and and 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.' But unlike these films, where the backdrop changed once the hero travelled to the village, the 'gaon' is integral to the love story and is the cause of conflict between the lovers. The girl, a social worker, decides to walk out of the relationship because her boyfriend can’t understand her need to travel to remote villages.
The village, however, doesn’t make the film dark. It instead lends it a fun element when the hero goes after the girl, and tries to survive in the village without electricity and water.
It was also imperative for us to ensure that the drama doesn't override the humour since it's meant to be a rom-com. To do so, we had to revisit the screenplay several times. There was a dramatic character earlier whom we had to eliminate in order to maintain that balance.
There are as many as 100 drafts to the film — the film has drastically changed since the first draft. In fact, I could make a different film altogether with that one. The whole film is far more layered now, something we could do because of the rural setting in the story.
At the same time, it’s a Dharma production and the portrayal of a village will never be hard-hitting. It will always be a tad glossy. It was a challenge to keep this fact in mind and not show life as it would be in a village.