Global terrorism forms the crux of Rensil D’ Silva’s debut directorial venture Kurbaan

Just under a month left (November 20) for the release of his debut directorial effort Kurbaan, Rensil D’Silva is not spending sleepless nights! If at all he’s burning the midnight oil, it’s to ensure that his gallant effort has no last minute slip-ups. “Many times I have seen the best of films totter on their last leg. I am just spending my energy, making sure the quality of our effort remains the best,” says Rensil of his romantic thriller starring real-life couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, in their first-ever romantic pairing, and Viveik Oberoi. Currently the director and screenplay writer is adding finishing touches to the music video of Kurbaan Hua, a song that’s already up on the popularity charts.

Kurbaan tells the story of Avantika (Kareena), a Psychology professor in New York who meets Ehsaan (Saif) when she is in Delhi to look after her ailing father. The inevitable happens — they fall in love and get married and leave for the U.S. What happens in the U.S. in the backdrop of global terrorism forms the crux of the film. “Kurbaan is Karan’s idea. To be fair, it is cross genre; part romantic, part thriller. I am very confident of the product. Thanks to Karan, the project has got the mounting it deserved. I got my dream cast. But I never felt pressurised. Not on the sets, not now as the release date nears. My goal was clear — try to achieve the screenplay,” says Rensil, a renowned advertising professional best known for his fantastic screenplay for Rang De Basanti (RDB).

Wider reach

Rensil thinks the appeal of the film lies in its concept. “The love story also encompasses international concerns over terrorism so it gives me a wider reach as a filmmaker. Also it’s not linear,” he says. So should one expect something on the lines of RDB’s back and forth treatment? “In RDB, we had the liberty to go back and forth in time, but here it is different. If I am cross-cutting, it is between locations and scenes,” explains Rensil.

Global terrorism seems to be most filmmakers’ chosen topic. In the recent past, YashRaj Films’ New York was based on the September 11 twin tower attacks. Last year, when Kurbaan (then called Jihad tentatively) and New York were yet on the floors, there was wild speculation that the two films were based on similar lines. Then again, Karan Johar (whose banner Dharma Productions is producing Kurbaan) is directing My Name Is Khan built on the premise of global terrorism. “I’d actually say there are very few films based on this topic. It is an international concern and filmmakers are reflecting this. But besides New York and MNIK, I can’t think of other names. Personally, if I were to categorise New York, it would be a drama and though I haven’t seen MNIK, I assume it is also a drama. I don’t think the themes overlap at all,” says Rensil.

But Kurbaan has been in the news for more than one reason. If the first visual of a bare-backed Kareena and a bullet-wounded Saif had audiences shocked, there is now a buzz that the couple’s on-screen smooches may be the highest ever for Bollywood. Ask him if he likes frivolous talk like that scoring over the film, and he says, “I was part of the ideation team that decided the first poster so I should be the last one having problems really. I am very practical. We always knew a visual like that will draw attention. Every campaign needs an icon and it definitely works that Saif and Kareena are a couple. But the bullet wound and colour coding of the visual made a huge impact and conveyed that it was about romance and bloodshed.” But as much as the Saifeena duo would help keep the buzz happening, wasn’t he worried that larger-than-life stars would overshadow his film? “Never. As I said, this was my wish list of actors. For each and every role, including Viveik’s, Dia’s and Kirron Kher’s,” he says.

Rensil will begin work on writing Shekhar Kapoor’s languishing project Paani and is also writing the screenplay for a Mani Ratnam film. “I have two other very exciting stories for which I am developing screenplays. Hopefully I will get money to direct them,” he smiles, when asked about producers queuing up outside his house.