It’s 14 years of ‘Jab We Met’. The film, its characters, storyline are quite relevant even today. People still talk about Aditya and Geet and they even call it your best film. How does it make you feel? Did you think that while shooting the film it would get such a fabulous response from the audience and critics alike?
During the shooting of this film, I definitely didn’t know that we will be talking about it 13 years later. I used to personally like this story and things in this film a lot but also I was a bit embarrassed because I thought it was very insubstantial. I feel great that people remember Geet and Aditya so much. I feel that there must be something in it that without my knowledge or interference has just transpired on-screen to receive the kind of love and accolade that it has. I feel that Geet is her own person and Aditya is his own person. Although, I love them… they are as much their own people as I am my own person I feel. Somehow I feel they exist somewhere and just are not the characters of a film. But yes, we didn’t know that…I think Shahid had a view that the film might do well but the rest of us were just consumed in working. We had no judgment about the fact that the film might be appreciated later.
How was it with Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor? How would you define them as actors? While shooting for the last schedule, they broke up. Did it affect the shoot in any way?
Shahid and Kareena, at that time, were very different actors from each other. It was a lot of fun actually for me as a director because Shahid was very cerebral and we used to discuss and talk a lot, he was all there and very committed. Kareena was equally committed but she was more coming from a place of heart and she used to take a lot of pain and effort in doing dialogues. I remember that she used to call me to the side and used to do dialogues a lot. She used to feel that she needs to get that right. But otherwise, the time spent was much less with Kareena than with Shahid in terms of like understanding the process etc. So, Kareena was more instinctive and I think both of them had their hearts in this film. I had a splendid time working with both of them. As far as their relationship is concerned, that’s personal and those things never affected the making of this film. As true professionals, they never let it.
As you did with ‘Love Aaj Kal’, has there been thought of creating a spin-off or a proper sequel with ‘Jab We Met’ too? Everyone wants to know what happens with Geet and Aditya after ‘Mauja Hi Mauja’.
I feel that a sequel of ‘Jab We Met’ should not be made because really I have nothing to say in that story anymore. Maybe in some other way or other characters can feature in something that has to do with ‘Jab We Met’. But I feel Geet and Aditya, I would hate to create more conflict in their lives (smiles). I would just want to leave them in a space in our imaginations which is an interesting space where they are together and yet they are exactly who they personally and individually are and yes, with their twin daughters as we see in the last frame of ‘Jab We Met’.
There are so many anecdotes that we have read about the film. How Bobby Deol was supposed to be in the film, how you decided to not make this film and go for ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Highway’. Any other exciting tidbits you would like to share?
Yes, there was a time when Bobby Deol was supposed to do this film but he was busy doing other films, so this didn’t get made with him. I had abandoned it and I was trying to make ‘Highway’ which I had also written by then and ‘Rockstar’. But that didn’t happen, so I came back to ‘Jab We Met’. Then I was trying to make ‘Cocktail’ at that point in time, I was going to direct it as well. But that didn’t happen too. So I came back to ‘Jab We Met’. It was always around and I would have made it. Two years passed like this and at the end of it, I met Shahid and Kareena. When I was sitting on the floor at Shahid’s house as I was narrating this film to both of them, I realized that this is how I used to make these small theatre plays while I was in school and there was no way that I was going to miss this for any other film.
If ‘Jab We Met’ gets remade today, who do you think can do justice with Aditya and Geet’s roles from the younger lot of actors?
If ‘Jab We Met’ was being made right now, I don’t know who I could have cast as Geet and Aditya because now Kareena and Shahid are so set in my mind that I wouldn’t want to change that. There are very talented actors who could have played Geet and Aditya in the present time. I can’t really venture to guess because I don’t want anyone but Kareena to be Geet and anyone but Shahid to be Aditya (laughs).