The loud screams and camera flashes signalled that the Teri Meri Kahaani stars Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra had arrived at the Vox Cinema Mall of the Emirates on Wednesday night. They were joined by their director Kunal Kohli for the world premiere of their film, which explores the concept of soulmates while moving back and forth between 1910 and the present day. The actors play three couples in different lives at different times.
Chopra, dressed in a sparkly off-white gown, briefly greeted fans from a distance before being escorted by heavy security into the cinema, along with Kapoor.
"Hello Dubai! Thanks for coming. We are very excited to be premiering here," she said. "We had a great time making the film." Kapoor also shared in the excitement, saying: "It's so nice to be here in Dubai, and we hope you enjoy the film."
We sat down exclusively with Kapoor to talk about all things love and cinema.
Tell us about Teri Meri Kahaani.
It's an entertaining, breezy and romantic comedy set in three different time periods. It's a two-hour film with three stories, so it's a triple role each for both Priyanka and I – we have 40 minutes to tell each tale, so to speak.
It's not a very heavy film; it's light hearted and not about reincarnation or rebirth. It's just a film showing a slice of life of two people – how they met, what happens between them in 1910, in a small village in Lahore, pre-independence. Then there is the 1960s, which is set in Mumbai, about a struggling musician who falls in love with a huge superstar, and in 2012, where we are both campus students. How it all ends is for you to discover.
What was it like teaming up with Priyanka again?
I am so happy. It was a lot of fun working with her. The last film we did was Kaminey three years ago. It was a dark and edgy kind of film and people seemed to like us together. Although we had just eight scenes together, we were noticed. In Teri Meri Kahaani, there is a lot more for us to do. It's also a different genre from Kaminey, so I'm happy we're attempting something new.
What was it like playing three different characters?
It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed playing all three. And, because it's not a very heavy film, we were quite spontaneous in how we played it out. It's always fun to do something where you are not planning too much and you are just enjoying yourself.
My favourite character is the one from 1910, because he's the most entertaining of the lot. He is a little brattish and a bit of a flirt who hits on women all the time and is always up to some kind of fun, so I enjoyed playing him.
What was your reaction when you first read the script?
I got the script later, actually. Kunal discussed the idea with me and he developed it into a screenplay, and I really liked it. I thought all three of the characters were different, offering three varied flavours to the audience.
It was exciting as an actor as well. I was looking forward to doing it because romantic comedies as a genre can get a little repetitive, and Teri Meri Kahaani has a fresh concept.
Kunal said he introduced the 1910 characters because he wanted to bring the romance of that era back to Indian cinema. Your thoughts?
He has made two of the most successful love stories in the last 10 years – Hum Tum and Fanaa – so it's no surprise. The audiences like his love stories and this film will be no different. I think love and romance are a very beautiful part of life and I don't think it will ever leave Indian cinema, where some of the most successful films have been love stories.
How would you describe the development of Bollywood movies in recent years?
It's amazing. If you look at the numbers of films, it's almost doubling each year and the audience is growing. There are also new types of films being made and new directors offering new concepts. There is also a lot more scope as an actor to try different things, so I think it's a wonderful time to be in Indian cinema.
Which celebrities would you most like to work with?
So many. There are many talented directors and it would be difficult to name just one or two, but I am a huge fan of Raju Hirani – he makes phenomenal films, so I would love to work with him at some point. There are so many actresses I haven't worked with, such as Katrina Kaif and Sonakshi Sinha. I am working with Parineeti Chopra now. I haven't worked with Deepika Padukone, either.
What new projects are you working on?
I am doing three films. The first is for Yash Raj Films, directed by Maneesh Sharma, who made Band Baaja Baaraat. This will be the next film I'm shooting. Then there will be a dark film with Bijoy Nambiar, who directed the critically acclaimed Shaitaan. Then, a film with Prabhu Deva who just released Rowdy Rathore – we will be doing a fun project together.
What genre are you most comfortable in?
I am very uncomfortable when I'm repeating myself, so I'd like to think I attempt a bit of everything. I'd be happy doing something that's different from what I've done in the past.