The gusty winds and threatening dark clouds that hovered over Durban on Thursday didn't in any way hinder the gruelling shoot of Anees Bazmee's No Problem at Sibaya.
It was around 2pm that the cast and crew broke for lunch. An affable Bazmee, warmly togged up in his jacket and beanie, grabbed a quick bite to eat before joining me in the plush lounge area of the hotel, which was where they spent the morning shooting scenes.
After nipping outside to put out his cigarette, Bazmee settled into a luxurious tan-coloured couch for our tête-à-tête.
With comedy being Bazmee's forté, I asked him to shed light on the complexities of directing what is arguably one of the most challenging genres.
"I think, not only for a comedy, any film needs a good script. Sometimes if the script is good, you can make a bad film. But if the script is bad, you cannot make a good film. I am first a writer and then a director. My job is to convey the story in a very interesting way.
"Comedy relies on gags, but I don't like buffoonery. I don't like my characters to simply make faces to get the audience to laugh.
"I create a situation wherein my actors are doing a very serious job and the audience is laughing," he calmly explains.
As for his casting coup, Bazmee admits: "I am very, very lucky. It is not difficult, because we are all friends and I have already worked with Akshaye Khanna in Deewangee, so we have a good rapport. Paresh Rawal, I worked with in Welcome. Sanju (Sanjay Dutt), I have wanted to work with for so many years.
"Anil Kapoor (who is also producing No Problem), I worked with in No Entry and Welcome and both films were hits.
"Sushmita Sen and Kangna Ranaut are very good actresses and they liked the script."
When pushed on whether the female actresses get ample scope, he reassures: "Ja, they do. You remember in No Entry, Bipasha (Basu) and Lara (Dutt) were leads. The same goes for the heroines in Welcome. In this film, Kangna is doing comedy for the first time and I must say that she is doing a fantastic job. Both actresses will surprise audiences."
On bringing his film shoot to South Africa, Bazmee smiles: "It has always been a lucky place for me. I discussed it with my producer and he was happy. This is the first time I am shooting in Durban, though."
Interestingly enough, the story idea for No Problem has been gestating for over 15 years.
Although reluctant to ruin the surprise by revealing the plot, Bazmee hinted that it was a crime comedy with loads of action.
As for his rib-tickling titles, he chuckles: "It is very important for a film. It should always be a novel word. I like this title No Problem because, in this film, there are lots of problems."
Psst … Bazmee will be teaming up with his Singh is Kinng star, Akshay Kumar, for Thank You, a UTV produced film.
"I will shoot in January as I still have to write the screenplay and dialogues, which will take some time. It will be shot abroad," he confided.