MUMBAI — He jokes that since his last film “Super-Nani” made everyone, including him and his distributors, cry, he has returned to comedy with the third installment of India’s first A-grade naughty comedy “Masti” (2004) and its thunderous successful sequel “Grand Masti” (2013). The latter was also the first (and so far only) sex comedy to cross Rs. 100 crore net collection in the country.

Indra Kumar, brother of actress Aruna Irani, has stayed on course for an extraordinary length of time when directors sink within 15 years. With partner Ashok Thakeria, he founded Maruti International, which launched with the huge hit “Mohabbat” (starring Anil Kapoor) 31 years ago. He turned director with “Dil” in 1990, and since then has made hits as varied as “Beta” (1992), “Raja” (1995), “Ishq” (1997), “Masti” (2004), “Dhamaal” (2007) and “Double Dhamaal” (2011).

Kumar hopes that “Great Grand Masti” will cross at least Rs. 200 crore, as he must improve upon his last film in the franchise. The filmmaker now plans to do “Triple Dhamaal” and a sequel to “Dil” as well!

“I want to do a romantic film again at this age!” he quips about the latter!

We ask Kumar why he thought of making a third film in the franchise and how difficult it was.

“The canvas and the thought had to be bigger. When (main) writer Tusshar Hiranandani gave me the idea of the three friends running after a woman, trying to score over each other till they come to know the truth that the woman they lust after is a ghost, I knew we had a brilliant subject and were on.”

Kumar gets a compliment from his leading man Vivek Oberoi (in a weird getup that we hope is for one of his films to come!) that he has stayed relevant for so long, as among directors this is a complete rarity.

“I think there are two reasons: blessings and hard work on my part,” replies Kumar, when we ask him what he thinks is the reason.

We ask him which is more important, and he replies that blessings come first, because others work hard too!

Oberoi, who is seated next to his director, interrupts and says: “There is a third and vital reason. He has given so much variety in his films, but what is most important is that Indu-ji is democratic. By this, I mean that despite his success and long innings, he still listens to everyone’s inputs. This gives him the ability to remain young, because he is a receiver, a sponge. He is simply the most open-minded director, and I am sure he will resonate with the generation after us and still be relevant!”

Smiles Kumar, “I better be!”

The producer-director is also said to be a terrific actor. Why does he not act as well?

“As a director, I get to direct as well as act!” he remarks.

And again Oberoi adds: “All of us just cut, copy and paste what Indu-ji does, including his expressions. You should see him do even the parts of the girls that they later imitate like we do!”

Kumar would rather not comment on the infamous leak of his film’s prints, as per instructions from his corporate co-producers Balaji Telefilms. But he does feel that despite coming in just a week after “Sultan,” when that typhoon is still on, it will not affect his business.

“Every film has an audience,” he explains. “Though we are presenting naughty stuff, I am old school and like in the earlier two films, at the end, I will give the message to straying husbands not to do so but to remain faithful to their wives. My film will thus connect with everyone in the audience, and now we are actually coming a week sooner. Fans of the franchise and of my stars are thrilled about this!"

Finally, we ask him why, after making a unique all-male and wholesome comedy in “Dhamaal,” which was reminiscent of so many Hollywood classics in that genre, did he have to have two heroines in its sequel “Double Dhamaal.”

“I will think about your suggestion!” he replies mischievously. “But in ‘Triple Dhamaal,’ I plan to have both girls and families!”

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