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Gadhavi on why <i>Dhoom</i> is a cult film

By: Sanjay Gadhavi, IndiaFM
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Dhoom 2 is heist fiction, which is designed to make your pulse pound and send adrenaline racing through your veins. This caper cocktail has expectedly caught the fancy of the youth; but has surprisingly found a wider base of acceptance too. It has become the biggest hit of 2006, expected to outgross Krishh and Lage Raho Munnabhai.

So does Dhoom 2, with its leather jackets, fast bikes and bikini-ed babes, qualify as a cult film for the young male?

"Around four months after Dhoom had become a huge hit, some young assistants at the Yashraj office were discussing 'cult' films.

Their reasoning was that while Dhoom was a hit film, it wasn't a cult film like a movie made by another young filmmaker. Their definition of a cult film was one that had a niche, selective audience. I beg to differ. I feel a cult film is one that has a huge following and influences a lot of filmmakers and people.

"Hare Rama Hare Krishna was a cult film because the popularity of Zeenat Aman's character revolutionised the way a Hindi film heroine was perceived. Hum Aapke Hai Kaun is a cult film because today parents hire professional choreographers three months in advance to choreograph dance items (with family members participating) at their sons and daughters weddings.

"I always maintain that while the two Dhoom films are not exactly path breaking, Dhoom is definitely a cult film. On the third day after the release of Dhoom, there were 20 young guys in the audience wearing a bandana like Ali (Uday Chopra). Today, for no rhyme or reason, you see a bike in every film. Forget others, even John Abraham dresses the way he did in Dhoom. I saw him last night in Babul and he was wearing a leather jacket zipped down in a song.

"As far as Dhoom 2 goes, it's too early to say if it's a cult film, but it is a very clever sequel. Dhoom 2 is a universal hit; its appeal is not restricted just to the young males. I just got an SMS from Deepak Sehgal, who is head honcho at Star TV and who was the editor of Patthar Ke Phool, a film in which I was one of the director's assistants.

He wrote: 'Saw Dhoom 2 last night - what scale, what great chemistry. The kids loved it too, great job.' Dhoom 2 has become a family-going experience. For Dhoom, my producer Aditya Chopra had told me that the target audience was the age group 16 to 25; but for Dhoom 2 it was everybody because everyone had gone to see Dhoom.

"If I were to analyse what the 16 to 25 group want, I would put my finger on speed, an adrenaline rush, cool behaviour and the idea of living on the edge. In clothes, it's short skirts, bikinis. In accessories, it's accessories, tattoos and all that stuff. But the two Dhooms appealed to all age groups because they are typical Hindi film packaged in a distinct new way.

"If you notice, both in Dhoom and Dhoom 2, there are no peripheral characters and all the major characters are in their 20s. My films don't have a mother, father or sister ... and the audience is not disappointed because I have prepared the viewer for what he should not be looking for in the film.

"The first time I felt that we could do away with peripheral characters was when I saw Dil To Pagal Hai. I was like, 'Why don't Shah Rukh and Karisma have families? But within half an hour, I was like, 'Hello, I am better off without them because I am more interested in whether Shah Rukh will realise how much Karisma loves him.'

"I feel that the audience is far more educated about films today. I did away with mundane explanations in my films - and saved on time, money, effort and man power. The two Dhoom films are like fast trains, they hurtle through slower stations.

"I leave a lot in my films to the audience's imagination. When Mazhar Khan was asked how he wrote so many diverse characters for Gang, he said, 'I know the background story of all my characters from the time they were born. But in the film, I choose that aspect of their life which I like to highlight.' Similarly, I may not have showcased this to the audience but when I had conceived Aryan's (Hrithik's) character, he was not a thief who steals to become wealthy.

He does it purely for the adrenaline rush. He is a rich boy who has lost his parents at a young age. He has always got A grades in school and has done a course in computer engineering. He is a well-travelled linguist, a connoisseur of wines, a man hugely into adventure sports.

"Why do I think does the audience identify with these larger-than-life characters? I think, my characters may sound larger than life but they don't sound incredulous and unreachable. Hrithik in my film is not Krrish who is leaping from building to building, he has made a remote-controlled mini-car; he has disguised himself as a statue after coating himself with white paint. His actions are within the realm of reality.

"So, while I did incorporate characters who were young and ideas which were new, I was confident that their appeal would cross all age barriers.

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