Despite coming from an average middle class family, Kunal Kohli carved a niche for himself in Bollywood and became the blue-eyed director of one of the biggest film production houses of the country, Yash Raj Films.
And now with his upcoming release, Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, the ambitious filmmaker fulfils his long cherished dream of becoming a producer.
Releasing June 27, the Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji starrer is produced under Kunal Kohli Productions in association with Aditya Chopra.
"I told Aditya from the time we made Hum Tum that I wanted to become a producer and Aditya assured me that we would together produce a film,” said Kohli, who made films like Hum Tum and Fanaa.
Asked why he wanted to be a producer, Kohli said: "I always wanted to become a producer because I wanted to call the films directed by me as 'my' films and have authority over them. I wanted my films, whether good or bad, to always be mine. I wanted my name to appear as 'produced and directed by Kunal Kohli’."
"Besides, all the great directors that I derive inspiration from, such as Raj Kapoor, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Raj Khosla, Guru Dutt and Manoj Kumar were producers and directors. You find films like Roti Kapda Aur Makan relevant even today."
What inspires you in Khosla's movies?
"Human interest stories with real-life characters in grey shades inspire me the most. Like Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki in which you find all the characters in grey shades."
On being asked about his favourite directors among his contemporaries, Kunal said Rajkumar Hirani's work in Munnabhai inspired him immensely. He also liked Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Rang De Basanti.
The director says his experience as a producer was remarkable.
"Rishi Kapoor is making a special appearance in the film and he did not charge me any money simply because it was my first film as a producer."
Now that he has fulfilled his dream of a producer, the next thing on his priority list is to launch new directors and give a chance to newcomers.
He said: "I will give a chance to my assistant and associate directors. Since I came from a non-filmy background, I struggled a lot; therefore, I understand the problems of a newcomer."
Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic is the story of a business tycoon who never got love in his life and four orphaned children who are in need of love.
"The film is targeted at children as well as adults. It is something that I have not tried before. It is a film with a message."