One to have given Bollywood some of its most memorable romance dramas in the recent past, Imtiaz Ali admits that writing a modern-day adaptation of the legendary star-crossed lovers was sheer joy.
What was cumbersome, however, was procuring the title of brother Sajid Ali's directorial venture, Laila Majnu.
"I always knew that Laila Majnu is the only title this film could go by. I was almost on the verge of a breakdown because it was impossible to get the title," recalls Imtiaz. The filmmaker, who is co-producing the drama with Ekta Kapoor, reveals that it took them over two months to trace the rights of the name to Tips owner Ramesh Taurani.
"Rameshji knew the value of the title. I am sure he knew it wouldn't be wise to give it away just like that," laughs Imtiaz.
All praise for Taurani's generous nature, he says, "He did not want anything in exchange for the title. He gave it as a goodwill gesture. If it weren't for him, we wouldn't be able to take our vision ahead."
Rechristening the project that features rank newcomers Avinash Tiwary and Tripti Dimri was not an option for him.
"I never considered having a different title because the film is a faithful rendition of the original story and is set in Kashmir. The setting is relevant because the Valley offers that exotic backdrop to the story."