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It was all about the youngistan spirit as the Yaariyan team hit Dubai on 8 January. A Bollywood college-based romance/adventure film directed by Divya Khosla Kumar, it stars Himansh Kohli, Serah Singh and Rakul Preet Singh in the lead roles. The movie marks the debut of the director as well as the leads. Here's what we asked them when we met...
You have directed music videos before and done a bit of acting as well. How did the idea of directing come about?
Divya Khosla Kumar: After I got married to Bushan Kumar, I started working behind the camera. I learned cinematography and editing and then I started directing music videos. I have done around 20 of them for Adnan Sami, Pankaj Udhas and many more artists. Eventually I trained in direction and production. I wanted to use my creativity and my talent in film so finally I started working on the script and now Yaariyan is ready for release.
What made you decide to choose newcomers for Yaariyan?
Divya Khosla Kumar: The story of Yaariyan features characters who are around 20-21 years old so I wanted to remain honest as a filmmaker and didn't want to cast anyone from Bollywood just for the name. So I started holding auditions everywhere and it took me over a year to finalise the cast. It was difficult as they were not trained actors. So, I trained them personally in workshops for 6-8 months. A lot has gone into it from their side and finally the movie looks fresh.
Tell us about your role in the film
Gulshan Grover: I play a good guy in the film, a man the students call 'Jimmy Sir'. Yaariyan is extremely significant for me. It is truly a film with the youth, for the youth of all ages. Working with a bunch of youngsters, understanding their ways and interpretations of various things and working with a young director like Divya was truly a learning experience for me. I have personally have a lot of faith in the youth of today. I feel the generation today has it far more difficult than it was for people in the past. Today the competition and the expectations are huge and you have to prepare yourself and be ready or else there are a lot of people waiting to replace you
What was it like working with Divya?
Rakul Preet Singh: We call her “The Sweet Hitler”. Well, to put it in one word- she is a perfectionist. There was no way we could be late on set or not do our job right. She was strict when it came to the shooting but post packup, she was like a friend. So, she struck a great balance.
Gulshan Grover: I have worked with many directors and why Divya was different is because not only did she have a younger, fresher way of looking at various scenes and situations but also when we were shooting in Sikkim and after working an entire day in -8 degree weather, what amazed me about her was her passion, her commitment and her ability to motivate everyone and not just by talking but doing as well.
Shreyas Pardiwalla: What was beautiful about working with Divya was that she had a lot of ideas and it was not like she wanted to select from those ideas, but she tried to implement each and every idea in her own way and that was amazing. As a newcomer, it was a learning experience for me to work with her and I can only thank her for everything.