Actor Shahid Kapoor and director Shree Narayan Singh are ready for the release of their film Batti Gul Meter Chalu—a quirky take on electricity Mafia rampant all over. The film featuring an ensemble cast of Shraddha Kapoor, Yami Gautam, Divyendu Sharma and Pankaj Tripathiis set in a small town of Uttarakhand.
Director Singh, whose last film, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was a stupendous hit, says he relates to such subjects because he was born and brought up in a small town. “The film is about electricity theft and is a huge problem in small towns. People in metro cities haven’t faced these issues. Since I was born there I think in those terms. I can’t make larger -than-life films, I believe they are fake. Everyone has a different way of thinking. Even my sets are very normal and simple. ”
Shahid who is still basking in the success of Padmaavat, says, “We need to work on such issues and the country is keen to watch works based on social problems. We have been fed on larger-than-life stories so far. But Indian cinema is going through a change now. Films like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Dangal, and Padman are now being made and they are doing exceptionally well at the box office. Singh has made this a fun film but it deals with a very serious issue, which does not exist in functional cities like Mumbai.”
About his role, Shahid says, “I play Susheel Kumar Pant aka SK, who is a rogue lawyer. He has no interest in going to the court and he likes settling matters out of the court and make some money. It’s an imperfect raw character.”
Divyendu Sharma will be seen essaying the role of Pankaj Tripathi, a decent guy, who runs a factory.
Shahid says, “But my character is someone who takes his personal pain into account and blows out a small story into an interesting one, but when it becomes too large to handle, he realises that it’s beyond his capacity yet he fights for it.”
Singh says Shahid was already a part of the film even before he entered the scene. “Writer Vipul Rawal, who wrote Rustom, had a story titled Roshni. It was with producer Prerna Arora of KriArj Entertainment. She had narrated the story to Shahid and he liked it. When Prerna approached me with the script I told her the concept is good but we will have to work on it to add some humour to it. I spoke to Shahid and he also liked my concept and we worked on it. That’s how the film happened.”
The director says the casting usually comes about after the script is complete. “I have to see, which actors will fit in the script. Shahid was Prerna’s choice and he’s a great actor. I met Shraddha and she also loved the script. Yami and Divyendu were also perfect for their roles.”
Shahid likes the director’s way of working. He says, “Singh knows how the life in smaller towns is. Whenever we used to clean the messy sets, he would not allow us to do it because he felt that is how families live normally there. He believes the location of the film should look real. We have shot the film in New Tehri, which is a very clean place. We tried to stay raw.”
This is Shahid’s second film with Shraddha Kapoor. They were last seen together in Haider five years ago. About working with her again, he says, “I think Shraddha is a talented actress and her character of Lalita Nautiyal is a naughty one. She is great fun and exceptional.”
Shahid, who was on paternity leave following the birth of his second child, a boy, says, “I will start prepping up for Arjun Reddy. I am growing beard for the role. It’s a love story set in Delhi. I am also doing actor Raja Menon’s next, which is based on former boxing champion and Asian Games Gold Medallist Dingko Singh. I am playing Dingko Singh, a cancer survivor, who went through 13 rounds of chemotherapy.”
Meanwhile, director Singh is set to make a love story with producer Sajid Nadiadwala. “It will once again be a quirky love story.”