Interview Hindi

Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz script made me smile, cry and left me with a warm feeling: Onir

Director Onir and lead artistes Geetanjali Thapa and Zain Khan Durrani speak about love in the age of WhatsApp and Tinder. 

Shriram Iyengar

It is not always that you associate director Onir with a bright, refreshing, romantic film.

Onir has been conscientious in picking subjects that are steadfastly different. From My Brother... Nikhil (2005) to I Am ( 2011) to his last, Shab (2017), the director has dug deeper into the struggles of identity and individual freedoms.

However, with Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz, Onir enters the happier space of a modern epistolary romance between two young people in Kolkata.

Starring Geetanjali Thapa and introducing Zain Khan Durrani, Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz tells of an accidental call that results in the two finding each other.

Scheduled for release on 16 February, which happens to be the Valentine's Day weekend, the film offers a quirky take on the insecurities and fears surrounding modern romances in its trailer. 

"It was something that fascinated me. Made me smile, and made me cry, and left me with a warm feeling," Onir explained when asked about the script.

While the film itself is set in the world of Tinder and WhatsApp, it does have a touch of the old soul to it as the two leading characters continue to converse through their WhatsApp accounts, a neo-technic replacement to letters and carrier pigeons.

India recently hit the headlines for becoming the country causing WhatsApp servers around the world to crash at New Year's eve. Thapa, laughing at the connection, confessed, "It is the thing now. It makes you smile, it makes you laugh. I absolutely love a lame joke anyday." 

Durrani, who is making his debut as a leading man in the film, confessed that he shares a common love for poetry with his character. "It [poetry] is a brilliant way to keep a secret and, at the same time, a part of you goes out into the world," he said. 

The retro feel of the film is most evident in its song 'Pehla Nasha Once Again', a modern take on the iconic song from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992). Onir points out that it was the 'anthem' of romance back in the 1990s and so an obvious choice. The filmmaker's task was made easier with the backing of his producers, Saregama's Yoodlee Films. 

"When I found out that they had that song, I said this not only has to be a part of what he [Durrani] plays as an RJ [in the film], but becomes the theme of the entire film," the director said. 

With the film set for release next week, the director confided that he is in a more happy space now. "I think your work, very often, reflects what you experience," he said. "And right now, I am in a very happy mode of giving my love to everyone, and that comes across in the film." 

Watch the full interview with the director and the two lead artistes below.