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Shimit clears the dirty waters

Friday, August 03, 2007
Shimit's first film as a director was the Nana Patekar-starrer Aab Tak Chappan which created quite a flutter in the industry. His second film, Chak De India, under the Yash Raj banner, has also given rise to high expectations. Before venturing into direction, Shimit had edited quite a few films. He tells us about his contract with Yash Raj Films, rumours doing the rounds about a spat with Shahrukh and his films' Indian connection.

What was the reason behind making a film on women's hockey?
The film's writer Jaydeep had read an article about the women's hockey team winning a championship, but there were hardly any celebrations to mark the occasion. He wrote this story to spread awareness about the sport. When he took this idea to Aditya Chopra, he agreed immediately. We all know hockey is our national sport but yet we are hardly interested in it.

Whose choice was Shahrukh Khan?
Shahrukh was not an individual decision, he was a combined choice. We had two reasons to cast him. Firstly, Shahrukh is today's youth icon, and secondly, because he is a hockey player himself and knows the rules of the game pretty well. This made our work easier.

Is it true that there was a squabble between you and Shahrukh over a scene?
These are baseless rumours. All those who know Shahrukh are well aware that he is a coolheaded person. Leave alone arguing, he does not even talk in a high pitch to anyone. As for the promos of the film, it is a music video. There are so many music videos to promote cricket, the same way we made one on hockey.

It was also reported that the head of the Women's Hockey Association wanted to see the film before release so that controversial scenes could be removed. Is it a fact?
No, nothing of such happened. Instead, they have helped us a lot with information for the making of this film. They were happy that we were putting in an effort to promote hockey in our country. I really do not know who is spreading such baseless rumours. What hurts me is that those responsible for reporting these things did not even clarify what they have claimed.

What do you have to say about hockey?
I feel that this is the most appropriate game for our country and it represents our country well. It is energetic, as well as crazy.

Did you do any special homework as this is your first film with Yash Raj?
No, there was no special preparation. The story was ready, so all I had to do was make a film out of it and that was my challenge. The only thing that I had to keep in mind was that Yash Raj Films is known for its entertainers. So I had to work accordingly.

The last two Yash Raj films did not do too well, what are your hopes of Chak De?
A lot. But it all depends on how much the audience likes this film. I will accept whatever the audience's verdict is.

Your previous movie was Aab Tak Chappan, that can be classified as a thriller. Chak De is a totally different film. Tell us about your choice of subjects.
I like to make films for the Indian audience. The previous film was about the police department and this one is on our national sport. As a director, I like to keep an Indian connection in every film I do. I will never direct a film which is inspired by a Hollywood movie.

You were to direct a Ram Gopal Varma film Let's Catch Veerappan...
Yes, I was to direct such a film but after Veerappan's death we discontinued it. Then I went out of the country and when I returned, I got Chak De India. It took two-and-a-half years to make this film.

So is there any other film you are directing for Ram Gopal Varma?
I cannot because I have signed a three-film contract with Yash Raj and Chak De India is the first one. As per the contract, I cannot direct a film under any other banner. I'll think about the idea after this contract is over.

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