face-to-face The delay hasn't dampened the expectation about the Shahid-Kareena starrer ‘Milenge Milenge,' says filmmaker Boney Kapoor. harshikaa udasi

B oney Kapoor is a determined man. He knew he'd be able to release ‘Milenge Milenge,' which has waited for over two years to see the light of day thanks to the rift between its lead stars, Shahid and Kareena. “It's very rare in the industry to fall in this kind of trap, but it happened. Maybe it's their last film together and fortunately or unfortunately this had to be it. I would say the curiosity to see them together could draw audiences,” says the ever-at-ease Boney Kapoor about the film.

‘Milenge Milenge' (releasing July 9 in 1,200 screens worldwide) is the story of a couple, polar opposites, who meet each other in Bangkok and how they drift apart. Years later, destiny brings them face-to-face once more and creates hope that they might reunite. “Strangely it is their (Shahid and Kareena's) story. People are hoping this pair which had a wonderful chemistry might just come back together. I began making a love story four years ago and they happened to part ways. This definitely hurt my film but come to think of it now, I feel the publicity (though I could have done without the break-up) is a plus point for my film,” he smiles.

With portions of the film remaining to be shot and no promotional matter, ‘Milenge Milenge' remained in limbo till the actors decided to put aside personal differences and finish what was left. But promoting the film together is not possible at all. Boney is all praise for his actors, “Sadly, Shahid is in Scotland and had informed me beforehand about it. But he has given us in-camera shots about the film as well as done the photo shoot and the promotional video. So has Kareena. The film is looking very current.”

Marketing strategy

The producer maintains that it is the content of a pure love story with elements of misunderstanding and repentance that will be the crowd-puller. Yet he has put in a definitive marketing strategy which does not hinge on its lead actors, unlike most films. “Anyway I feel the trend is to make actors speak and they keep repeating quotes to all sections of the media. We are bringing in some fresh ideas such as getting people to realise the warmth of forgiving, forgetting and reuniting with your love,” says Boney. The film's strategists are putting together road shows, events and contests emphasising on the message — A Time To Forgive, where, besides other merchandise, white roses will be gifted. The events will be promoted as strongly as Valentine's Day.

He was the first producer to take a star overseas to promote his film and to introduce film merchandise in the country. “Way back in 1987, I organised for Anil to go to Sharjah for a cricket match that was telecast on DD. He sat in the commentators' box in ‘Mr India's' get up along with Sunil Gavaskar. Film promotion of this kind was unheard of then. Even with ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja,' we introduced the dolls as merchandise. I think we can revolutionise film marketing once more, this time not focussing on stars,” says Boney.

Sridevi's comeback

After ‘Milenge Milenge,' Boney is releasing another waiting-in the-wings film, ‘It's My Life,' starring Genelia D'Souza and Harman Baweja. The man may be making the most of what he has, given the options, but hopefully his future movies might give him more leeway to show off his dynamism. In the pipeline are sequels of hits such as ‘No Entry' (titled ‘Be Positive'), ‘Mr India' (titled ‘Mr India 2') and ‘Wanted' (titled ‘Most Wanted'), besides a film with wife Sridevi. “I am roping in a new, very talented director for this one. We will make it a typical-Sridevi film which her fans are going to love!” he says of his wife's comeback.