Cocktail format was not familiar territory for me: Homi
"I would have never written a story like this and that is what I felt when I was offered to do `Cocktail`. Dinesh Vijan, the producer of the film, told me about `Cocktail` that Imtiaz Ali had written. I heard the story and I was like why should I tell this story," Homi told PTI.
"Dinesh felt I will give a fresh take on this story because it is not a familiar territory for me. I did not buy his idea at that time. I told him I am not interested," Homi said.
But now that film`s release is just round the corner, the director says, "He (Dinesh) persuaded me for a month. Then I actually realised that I am not doing this film because I don`t know how to do it and I am scared of that. This format was not my format of narrative…doing songs, there was nothing psychotic in the film, it was just a nice beautiful love story. And one day I told him I am doing it." .
Homi made his directorial debut with psycho-drama `Being Cyrus` revolving around a dysfunctional Parsi family. The story of Saif Ali Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer `Cocktail` was penned by Imtiaz Ali, which Homi moulded in his own style while retaining the original plot.
On if directing someone else`s story was difficult, Homi says, "It wasn`t difficult…no not at all. It was definitely a change in concept of telling someone else`s story. Imtiaz had narrated the story…Dinesh and I developed the screenplay.
"That is when I started making all the moments of the film as mine. I started drafting scenes, characters. I pretty much stuck to the story that I was given. As soon as I made it as my film, the strangeness went away," he said.
On his sudden disappearance from the world of films, Homi said, "When I made `Being Cyrus` I did not make it with an ambition to be a filmmaker, churning out films. After the film was done, I went back to my life, did lots of things like travelling, reading, scuba diving, having a kid."
As for the the star cast, Saif Ali Khan was not the original choice for `Cocktail`, while co-star Deepika was offered both the roles of the female lead in the movie.
"Saif was not the first choice, Imran Khan was supposed to do it but he was not sure if he wanted to do it at that point of time. As Saif is the producer, he was going through the script, he read and loved it," Homi said.
"Deepika was part of the film and she was offered both the roles and she chose Veronica. We decided not to cast an actor for the role of Meera because I did not want someone to come with baggage. I wanted someone who would be naturally awkward and nervous in front of camera, because that is what the character is and I wanted to use it for the character. So Diana Penty was chosen," he said.
Besides, Saif, Deepika and Diana, the film also stars Dimple Kapadia and Boman Irani while Randeep Hooda makes a special appearance. "Dimple and Boman are also there in the film and it is not like they were in `Being Cyrus` so are part of this film as well. It was not a matter of familiarity but using talented actors who fit the bill," he said.
"Randeep is doing a special appearance. He is a terrible actor. He was completely happy walking in and doing a small part. It is pivotal role but a small one," the director said.
Homi admits that with `Cocktail`, he has now become more comfortable in the format of romantic stories. "Now that I have made it I feel very comfortable telling a story like this. I like the concept of love stories and playing with emotions because apart from this (love) being a universal theme…I feel love reminds us of how vulnerable we are," Homi said.
"I think when we make love stories we can revisit lot of things in ourselves also. Like while making this film, I felt there were lot of people who were a part of my life as the characters, the situations. So it gives you a sense of nostalgia," he said.