Raj Mehta is making his debut as director with Askhay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kiara Advani and Diljit Dosanjh starrer Good Newwz. The director has been working with Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions for nearly eight years. Prior to that he has assisted directors like Prakash Jha and Shashank Khaitan, Shashank has also produced this film. In a conversation, the filmmaker speaks about his journey in the industry and what kind of precaution he had to take while dealing with sensitive subject like IVF.
How did you choose this subject for your debut film?
Writer Jyoti Kapoor told me about this story, it is her story and I think at the time of writing it, she was also going through this process of IVF. It is inspired from the actual incident, which she heard. It was her idea. I liked the premise of the film and then we had to work bit on the script. So when I got this star cast, I felt responsible and wanted to give it a commercial touch. It was initially a personal story of a couple trying to have baby, we brought humour and more emotions into it. We also had made sure that the process of child birth would be suitable for family audience. The goof up of sperms was there in the story.
Were you always wanted to have these stars in the film?
I wrote character of Deepti Batra by keeping Kareena in mind. I am lucky that Kareena was the first person to hear the script; she said yes to the film right away and was the first person to come on board. She is not doing too many films like she used to do before, plus she has a child to take care of. She is quite choosy about the kind of films she is doing. She took a day to think about the project.
This is a sensitive subject so did you do thorough research for it?
We have taken care of the fact that we should not show anything wrong because it is a film about IVF. But since it is a commercial film, we have not gone into details of the process. We wanted to show that the couple who is going through this project should look real. We met few doctors and visited IVF centres; we had kept one doctor on the sets so that he can tell us if we are showing something wrong. Nowadays we have to make sure that nobody should get hurt or raise an objection. We thought a lot about it, we had to be careful as it is a sensitive issue. Hopefully we have not offended anyone. But I am sure somebody will wake up and will have an objection about something. It is true that creativity goes for toss a little bit in all this.
Did you always want to be a director?
I am from Delhi, there used to be premiere of films at Siri Fort. I remember there was premiere of Saudagar and Dilip Saab had come along with Manisha Koirala and Vivek Mushran. After that I was addicted to films. Then I went to US for further studies and I would watch all films in New York and would read all magazines. But since I don’t belong to film family had objected me to enter in this field. I convinced them and went to film school. There was this Indian producer who knew Prakash Jha sir, so I requested him to introduce me to someone. Then I assisted him for Aarakshan, I worked with him on few films and then was working on Aurangzeb when I met Shashank. He asked me to work with him and this is how I reach in Dharma.
What is the story behind changing a spelling your film’s title?
Honestly Karan nicely put it all on me, although the idea was mine. I and music curator Azim had gone and told him that if we change the spelling it will be better for us. But it was not like we told him to do it because we cannot say that to Karan. He was fine with it. I had consulted a numerologist; I had done this in the past. I go this person, who is from Mumbai, he is lawyer by profession but he does this as a hobby and we know him for a long time. Some of his suggestions have worked for us so trust him.