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Interview Hindi

Vidya Balan's very arrival lights up the sets: Tumhari Sulu director Suresh Triveni

Director Suresh Triveni, his cinematographer Saurabh Goswami, and production designer Dhara Jain visited the Cinestaan.com office to talk about their upcoming film, Tumhari Sulu.

Saurabh Goswami, Dhara Jain, Suresh Triveni (Photo: Shutterbugs Images)

The Cinestaan Team

The camaraderie between director Suresh Triveni and his team is evident the moment they walk into the Cinestaan.com office. From ribbing one another to talking about the commute, they share a team spirit that is as joyous to watch as, hopefully, their upcoming film, Tumhari Sulu, will be.

The film, starring Vidya Balan, Manav Kaul, Neha Dhupia and RJ Malishka, will be released on 17 November. Directed by Suresh Triveni, it tells the tale of a middle-class woman who turns into a late-night RJ at a radio station in Mumbai. Quirky, funny, and with Vidya Balan at the peak of her charm, the trailer has already created a buzz among fans and film lovers.

Quiz Suresh Triveni about the origin of this rather unusual story and he says, "The sole inspiration was to work with Vidya Balan. I will be very shameless about it."

The director came upon the idea when a colleague put him in touch with Vidya during an advertising campaign. After some initial brainstorming, he decided on the idea that crystallized into Tumhari Sulu. "The first meeting was just telling her how big a fan I am," he laughs. "It [getting the idea] was sheer desperation."

His team shares his adoration for the actress. Praising her, the director says, "When she walks on to the sets, she lights it up." Cinematographer Saurabh Goswami says, "Vidya can do anything. Make her do Mogambo, and she can do Mogambo."

Dhara Jain, the production designer, is all praise for the actress's grace. "She doesn't look through you. She acknowledges you and your work."

The film has Manav Kaul providing the foil for the charm of Vidya. Speaking about Kaul, Suresh Triveni says, "You need an actor like Sanjeev Kumar, who can do anything and get away with it. If I hadn't taken Manav, I would have made the biggest mistake of my life."

From the idea to the execution, Tumhari Sulu has taken about a year, going into pre-production in January 2017 and ready to be released in the second week of November. While it is no Sanjay Leela Bhansali production, the short gestation period is still exceptional for a film with a major star. The director credits the 42 days of preparation in the pre-production phase for the feat.

"My team was super instrumental in making that happen," he says, though he adds that he had to face a barrage of questions in the bargain. "If I had been in KBC (television quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati), I would have been a millionaire by now," he jokes.

The film is set in Mumbai and the trailer captures a brighter, more joyous side of the city that has not often found place in Hindi cinema. "We didn't want any claustrophobic areas because that is not our character Sulu," explains Jain. "The only brief I had [for capturing the city] was 'goodness'," adds Goswami. "That's what we looked for."

Watch the full interview below.

Tumhari Sulu is being released on Friday 17 November. You can predict the film's box-office performance here.