Double XL director Satramm Ramani says he had to stop Huma Qureshi, Sonakshi Sinha from going overboard with weight gain

Satramm Ramani, director of Double XL, talks about how enthusiastic Huma Qureshi and Sonakshi Sinha were for gaining weight for the film.

Double XL, starring Huma Qureshi and Sonakshi Sinha, is all set for release. The film is a comedy that deals with issues like body image and women being body shamed. As the name suggests, Huma and Sonakshi Sinha star as two plus-sized women battling stereotypes. The film’s director Satramm Ramani spoke to Hindustan Times about the idea behind the film, balancing humour with sensitivity, and how he had to make sure his leads did not gain too much weight.

Excerpts from the conversation:

What was the genesis of the film like and how did Huma and Sonakshi come on board?

This film has a different story because we got the cast first. So the inspiration was the cast--Huma and Sonakshi. Then came the story about which both of them were pretty excited. And after that I came on board.

This is a comedy about body-shaming and body image, a sensitive subject. It needs to be handled with finesse. How did you maintain that balance of not offending anyone while infusing humour?

From the writing stage itself, we were pretty clear about the fact that we don’t want to be preachy and we don’t want to make fun of the issue we are presenting. If it’s an issue-based film, I don’t want to make fun of that issue. Also, I don’t want to hurt someone’s sentiments. Everyone was clear about it. There is fun and humour but keeping in mind, we don’t offend someone. So, the world has humour but we aren’t necessarily making fun of anyone’s shape, size or weight.

Satramm Ramani has directed Double XL.

You said the actors were the inspiration and they came in first. Now, because of the script, they had to put on weight and look a certain way. Was there any apprehension on their part about the weight gain, given the scrutiny female actors in the industry face over their appearance?

Not at all. Both these girls were so cooperative that I had to tell them to control. I did not want them to go overboard. They were dedicated towards it and honest about it. They always maintained they were there for what I wanted on screen. In fact, they said we will bless you because for the first time, we have a director who is allowing us to eat anything.

So no talks of a fatsuit or prosthetics?

No, never! We saved money there (laughs).

There is a perception that only larger-than-life or big-budget Hindi films have a shot at working at the box office this year. Given that climate, have there been any jitters for you with this slice-of-life film?

When a film works, we have ten reasons but when a film doesn’t work, we give a hundred reasons. I feel there are different reasons and points of view on what works and why it works. That discussion can go on for a long while. My only take is that an interesting film with a good story will definitely work. People will give love to that.

Double XL also stars Zaheer Iqbal and Mahat Raghavendra, and has a cameo by cricketer Shikhar Dhwan in his film debut. It will be released in theatres on November 4.

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