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"I was very apprehensive about casting Nana because there have been stories about his temperament and eccentricity"

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Courtesy: IndiaFM
Friday, February 24, 2006

The last time we saw a film with a title like this was 'Victoria No. 203'. Director Milan Luthria has just returned from the UK where UTV got lead actor John Abraham and him to promote 'Taxi No.9211', which releases on February 24 worldwide. The man who made star-studded extravaganzas like 'Kachche Dhaage', 'Chori Chori' and 'Deewaar' has come a long way:

What prompted you to title your film 'Taxi No. 9211'?
It was actually suggested by Mantra, our poster design company. I loved it and it fits perfectly with the theme of the film. The taxi is the central character of the film!

Give us the one-liner of 'Taxi No. 9211'?
It's about a mad journey that kicks off when a multi-millionaire (John Abraham) meets a frustrated taxi driver (Nana Patekar)!

You haven't repeated Ajay Devgan & Saif Ali Khan after 'Kachche Dhaage'?
I worked with Ajay again in 'Chori Chori'. In fact, I am in touch with both Ajay and Saif. We're friends. Both are brilliant actors and I'd love to work with them again once the right subject and script comes by.

What prompted you to sign Nana Patekar in 'Taxi No. 9211'?
I was very apprehensive about casting Nana to be honest because there have been stories about his temperament and eccentricity. But if you've got your pre-production sorted out, he's wonderful. And in any case, aren't all creative people eccentric? He's a very committed, focused and sincere professional. In fact, he told me recently that this is one of his best works to date and that he is eagerly awaiting the film's release. Coming from Nana, that's saying a lot.

You trained under Mahesh Bhatt?
I've learnt so much under Bhatt saab. I assisted him in ten films. I really respect him for the fact that today he is making films with newcomers and is a success at it. He attempted every genre, which is what I am trying to do. I don't want to get typecast as a director associated with one particular genre only.

How was Ramesh Sippy as producer of 'Taxi No. 9211'?
Very good and non-interfering! As a director I was given complete creative freedom. I am very happy to work for them. We shot the film in one schedule of 45 days flat. It's been shot entirely in Mumbai and if you see some of the shots we've taken, you'll agree that it's been one of the most difficult shoots for me. Coming back to your question, Ramesh Sippy and I are planning another film together.

You're all praise for John Abraham?
John is a brilliant guy - one of the most easygoing, hardworking and down-to-earth actors I have come across. It's been a real pleasure working with him. I'll surely do another film with him.

Finally, we hear that your recent film promotion tour was quite eventful. Comment.
(Laughs) It was a blast! Our distributor UTV organized it well. We got a terrific response from the audience. Women from 6 to 60 went mad on seeing John. He has a huge fan following in the UK. You're right; the three days were truly eventful!

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