In the king of all debuts, filmmaker Abhiraj Minawala is all set to release his maiden directorial venture 'Loveratri' in September this year. Starring debutants Aayush Sharma and Warina Hussain, the Salman Khan production is one movie to watch out for. A love story in the background of Gujarat's famous and beloved Navratri, Minawala speaks to Asian Voice and tells how he brought everything together. No stranger to Bollywood, Abhiraj 's first stint with the industry was as assistant director in 2009's 'Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year'. He has since then, went on to assist in several major hits, including 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan', and 'Sultan'.
When asked why he took so long to make his directorial debut, Abhiraj says, “The way I had started was I had just gotten out of college and had begun working. I was always interested in making movies. Then came my first day with Yash Raj Films. So did a second film with them, a third, as I kept going along, I learnt more and more things. The one thing I learned when I was there and working with various star casts, was that the more time I'd give into preparing myself, the better was the outcome. With your first film, you only get one chance. And in that one chance, you have to prepare yourself of how you're going to go. So I wanted to prepare completely. This entire time I took was to make sure the first time I come on solo, on my own, I am completely prepared for all comments.
About the script, It appeared as if the true blue Gujarati in him spoke to him. “Naren Bhatt, writer of the film, and I had just met and I found us interesting because I am also a Gujarati. This was around filming the end of 'Sultan'. Salman Sir had spoken to me a couple of times about what my plans are for the future and I had told him I am working on some scripts and looking for the idea. He told me to let him know if anything comes up. So when the story came, I went up to him. Aayush at that time was assisting me, and on hearing the script, I felt he was very much fit for the character.
About the abysmal and over-the-top, exaggerated portrayal of Gujaratis by the film industry, Abhiraj was quick to state that that was one of the reasons he chose to work on the particular culture. “That was one of my main ideas, you know, to work on a film which was a culture close to me, and I understood,” he said. “Every time, well, most of the time, the way Gujaratis have been depicted in Hindi films is in a caricature way. The way they speak, move, dress. And I have always known that I want to change it, you know, break that. Which is the main thing I told Salman Sir that I want to treat it in a very real way so that there is no larger than life character. Gujaratis are jolly and fun people. So that humour that just comes across, that is important. There is no over-the-top characters who are loud in your face. None of that.”