'People were curious about Dulquer even before Karwaan'
While agreeing that Irrfan Khan's presence was a big draw, director Akarsh Khurana also believes Dulquer had an impact on the film's reception
Actor-writer-director Akarsh Khurana hit the road and shot at places like Ooty, Coimbatore and Bengaluru for his second Bollywood directorial, Karwaan. But he has no complaints as he likes to shoot a film at a stretch. Though he is not choosy about the kind of actors he wants to work with or shooting locations, this is the one thing that he prefers to do as the director.
"I like to just go and finish it in one schedule rather than stretching it out over a long period of time. All the energy and attention remain focussed. You spend some time and finish a film rather than going out of it and coming back to it. It's a nice kind of an environment that you create because relationships are formed. That is something I prefer, but of course it is not always possible," he says.
The filmmaker made his Bollywood directorial debut with High Jack this year and quickly followed it up with the road trip film. While High Jack failed to create fireworks at the box office, Karwaan, which is presented by RSVP in association with Ishka Films, has been getting an "overwhelming response" from the audience.
"I know people who watched it twice on the weekend. They are connecting to it. They are saying lovely things about the film on social media. It has been overwhelming," says Akarsh, who has written for films like Krrish, Kites and Humshakals.
Karwaan released along with the Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-Anil Kapoor-starrer Fanney Khan and Mulk on August 3. About the decision to not change Karwaan's release date to avoid the clash, he says, "It's very difficult get an empty Friday. At the end of day, you just have 52 Fridays and there are so many films. Unless you have a very big film, there is 90 per cent chance that you will be sharing a Friday with another film. In an ideal world, you'd like your film to come out alone but it's not always possible. So you make the most of what you get."
Talking about the film's strong characters, played by Irrfan Khan, Dulquer Salmaan, and Mithila Palkar, Akarsh says, "I think the characters are working with the audience. At least one of the three, if not all. People seem to be enjoying the mix of humour and emotions."
While agreeing that Irrfan's presence was a big draw, Akarsh also feels Dulquer made an impact. "I think even in the states where Dulquer has not had a film released before, there was a lot of curiosity about him," he says.
After completing two projects in quick succession, Akarsh is looking forward to a well-deserved break. "My priority is to take a break. I ended up directing two films back-to-back. So in the last two years, I spent most of my time either shooting or in the edit room. It has been non-stop. I also did a web series for Balaji, and there was acting work here and there. So, my wife and I are going on a vacation in September."
After this break, Akarsh looks to get back to work. "There is some talk going on about a web series. I am not looking at web series and theatre as an actor but as a writer and director. There is no plan of acting work in the near future," says the director, who adds that he is in discussion for his next film. "Web series... I am hoping it to be a bit of a thriller and dark subject. It is interesting, kind of a romantic thriller. It will be a new genre for me. So, I am hoping that I can do it. All of this will fall into place in October or November."