Love Storiyaan: Somen Mishra reveals Karan Johar wanted his portion to be cut from trailer: ‘Only one looking fake in these real love stories…’

Love Storiyaan: Somen Mishra reveals Karan Johar wanted his portion to be cut from trailer: ‘Only one looking fake in these real love stories…’

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Karan Johar’s love-soaked docu-drama series Love Storiyaan gives a peek into the lives of real people sharing their experiences of finding and preserving love in their lives.

In this interview, Somen Mishra, the showrunner of Love Storiyaan, along with directors Archana Phadke of Faasley and Vivek Soni of Love On Air, discuss how they curated these six stories, the tight budget they worked on and how different the functioning at Karan Johar‘s Dharmatic Entertainment is from his mainstream production house Dharma Productions.

Archana Phadke, the director of Faasley, one of the six documentaries in Love Storiyaan, shared the challenges of telling a love story that is resilient, one that travels across time, continents, against different forces to survive. Archana said, “The biggest challenge was to make this story short. Because it is so extensive, one can make a feature film out of it — because of where the characters come from, where they are going, and things like this.”

“In the time and the kind of world (we live in) and how we are supposed to put our information out there, I think it was important for me to find the right and sensitive way to deliver the message that amidst all these global political events, the couple stayed strong and even after going through so much, they didn’t have any resentment. That for me was the biggest thing and was an enriching experience,” she added.

Vivek Soni of Love On Air, on the other hand, said that making a documentary on a tight budget was one of the biggest challenges for him. He said, “There are always a lot of challenges in filmmaking. However, the challenges are fourfold when it comes to making a documentary film. Mostly because you can’t be fully prepared, be it production, be it shoot, because your characters are not acting, you don’t know what is going to happen next. We had to shoot within 8-10 days on certain locations because we had a budget constraint. Anyway, the budget for documentaries is much lesser.”

On asking Somen Mishra, the showrunner of Love Storiyaan and Dharma’s content head, why the filmmakers of each documentary of Love Storiyaan were on such tight budgets, especially because Dharma is otherwise known for humongous budgets and larger-than-life sets, he chuckled and said, “I keep telling everyone, it is my favourite bit, that the budget of all the six films (in Love Storiyaan) combined is less than one song of Rocky Aur Rani (Kii Prem Kahani). Also, the budget is not from our side. It’s also from the platform, it’s Amazon (Prime Video) funding it. Now people are still aware of unscripted documentaries, but we still have a long way to go compared to the market that the fictional content market has. It is always that the market dictates the budgets rather than us. The challenge for us was to deliver gorgeous, good-looking documentaries within those budgets. I am very proud that all six filmmakers have done that. All the films look beautiful. Some of them even look better than the fictional things we are seeing today.”

Festive offer
“I also believe some of the best work comes when there are constraints. At Dharma, we are known for a certain type of budget and stars, but at Dharmatic, we do all kinds of things and specially for OTT with smaller and mid-level budgets. I feel if somebody is funding documentaries, then that’s a luxury in itself. Ask any filmmaker, even if they have made a film on a Rs 200 crore budget or Rs 2 crore, they’ll still say it was a bit less. That comes naturally to filmmakers, no budget is ever good enough. We keep joking about constraints, but I think it was a decent budget and we are happy that we could pull it off,” he added.

Somen Mishra then revealed that while the trailer of Love Storiyaan was such a rage on the internet, Karan Johar, after shooting for it, wanted to be cut out from it.

When asked how much is Karan involved in projects he doesn’t helm, Somen shared, “Karan is involved in everything that we do, but he also gives a lot of freedom. So once anything gets greenlit, he is like ‘now it’s your baby, you do it…’ and he’ll only see it in edit. He never comes on set. He is not like other producers because he is a filmmaker himself and he understands how important it is to give creative freedom to filmmakers.”

Also read | What happens when a Punjabi and a Marxist walk into a bar? Prime Video’s latest series Love Storiyaan unpacks the making of a lover

“When he saw the edit, he loved it. He said that he can do something if we want. So I told him to do the trailer of the film because otherwise I don’t know who’ll watch the documentaries. He shot the trailer, and I am very grateful to him because he was very unwell that day. He had a bad tummy, and we were shooting at the end of the day but he did such a good job with the trailer. After seeing the trailer, he asked me to remove him because he felt that he was the only one ‘looking fake in these real and gorgeous looking films,’” Somen concluded.

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