Samar Iqbal’s latest directorial venture Tara Vs Bilal has released today. The film, which is co-produced by John Abraham, stars Harshvardhan Rane and debutante Sonia Rathee. The Free Press Journal caught up with the filmmaker for an exclusive chat.
Samar, who helmed the Vidya Balan-starrer Bobby Jasoos (2014) is back with an entirely different genre with Tara Vs Bilal. He shares, “I am very fortunate enough to start my career at YRF. I have been part of many of their projects as a storyboard artist. From the Dhoom franchise to Fanaa, working on these films was my real schooling. I grew up watching Yashji’s (Chopra) films — Chandni, Lamhe, etc. and deep down in my heart, I wanted to make romantic films. Yashji started the trend of family-oriented movies that had a message too and subconsciously, it was inherited in me. With Tara Vs Bilal, I wanted to tell that kind of a story.”
He adds, “My first feature Bobby Jasoos was not only about spying, but also about a girl, who wants to break the stereotypes. Tara Vs Bilal is not just a rom-com, rather it is a story of two very layered people and their family dynamics. Essentially, I wanted to show romance but in 2022. How Yashji was always ahead of the times, I am just trying to be one percent of him.”
Samar throws light on why he cast Harshvardhan and Sonia as Bilal and Tara. “I have known Harsh for a long time. He is tall, good looking and has an intense persona. The character of Bilal isn’t that intense but when my co-writer and I got to know Harsh better, we realised that he has fantastic comic timing. He is damn witty and we both could see Bilal in him. Though he is a very shy guy, he opened up with us,” he reveals.
“For Tara, we wanted someone very spunky. When I saw Sonia’s viral videos, I just loved her energy. When I met her, I discovered she has an accent and my character Tara is from Delhi. While auditioning, she was phenomenal and none of my friends found out that she is a NRI. Including me, even John was very sure of her,” Samar explains.
On a concluding note, Samar opens up on how his film is socially relevant in today’s day and age. “I feel, in today’s time, no one wants to know the story of Batman, rather people want to know about Joker. People want to get into the depression lying beneath the laughter. In our love story, there are conflicts. Bilal is conflicted and damaged inside and essentially, I wanted to bring out that. Why Tara and Bilal fall in love is because they never got love. Why people hate love, because they saw a different version of love. I wanted to show the dark side of love. The film also highlights various issues that need to be addressed,” Samar signs off.