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Vidhu Vinod Chopra on Eklavya... Contd

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What kind of music can we hear in this album?
It is exactly the kind of music that would suit for this film. It compliments the film. There is an om bhurbhuva swaha theme, there is a gayatri mantra theme. So, the themes are used in film and there are three songs.

We have also heard that the actors have done their own stunts in the film, tell us more about that.
All the action scenes are done by the actors themselves in this film. I did not even realize till people told me that the actors doing their own stunts is such a big deal. I think it is only natural for an actor himself to do his action scenes. I just do not like the feel of a duplicate doing things because you will never get a man for instance say like Amitabh Bachchan or Saif Ali Khan or even Sanjay Dutt. So, to me it does not make sense for some other person to come and just do the stunts and ghode ka ek shot unka hai aur dusra shot duplicate ka. I do not really work like that. Hence, I did not think that it was as unusual as now I am told it is. I think it is only natural for an actor to do his stunts.

The film was earlier titled Yagna. Why was it changed subsequently?
That happens when I write. Like I am writing my next film which was called The Fifth Move but as I have written it now it has become a 64 squares. It is just that as you write, you are reaching a final writing in terms of screenplay. Therefore, it is a very natural thing to change the names; it's not a big deal.

The first trailer of Eklavya came around Parineeta's release, what took you so long to release the film?
Writing. This is not an easy film to write and to make. We were in the pre-production for almost two years. It took us ten months only to fix the beard on Amitabh Bachchan's face. We made some forty-fifty beards. That beard which he is wearing is worth few lakhs. How many beards I must have made and rejected you have no idea. I could have bought a car instead of putting a beard on his face.

The film was also completed and kept on hold since a long time.
Yes, it was completed before Lage Raho Munnabhai but I did not want to release the two films together. I wanted to release them one after the other. We took a call and released Lage Raho Munnabhai first and then now after four months we are releasing Eklavya. I think that is also very rare because this film was ready last year in April, April is when I finished my mixing in Australia and we actually kept this film on hold in spite of so much money sitting on this film. We just calmly waited for six to eight months.

Nobody would do this kind of a thing. If you realize, the interest on the money that is stuck is with this film is enormous. My interest on money would be in crores but because I do not make films for money I have held this film from releasing for so long. Or else, this film would have released last year itself.

Can you tell us about your future films with Mr. Bachchan?
There are two films that we are making. One is Munnabhai Chale Amrika directed by Rajkumar Hirani and the other film is called Talisman to be directed by Ram Madhvani and then the third one is called 64 squares. When you will see Eklavya, you will see the trailers of Munnabhai Chale Amrika and Talisman.

Mr. Bachchan will be seen in the trailer of Talisman and Ram Madhvani will direct it. It is a fantasy film like the Lord of the Rings from India. It is really something that is very huge and big.

And what about Munnabhai Chale Amrika?
What can I tell you, I just love Munnabhai.

Even as a producer, you have been very successful with films like Parineeta and Munnabhai. What quality do you see in your directors before you give them a yes?
First of all, let me tell you that I will not make more than two films a year because the business can expand, I can get the whole building and the studio. But my mind has a certain limited capacity and I would never want to make a film that I am not proud of. Whether I made Munnabhai, Parineeta or any other film, I feel proud of that film, I stand by that film.

Coming to what do I look for in the directors, look at Raju Hirani. He is an honest guy, he is a real man, he is one of the most successful directors in India today and he is so down to earth. So, is Ram Madhvani and so is anybody. I choose my people like I would choose a family. If God said to you that you can choose your own brothers, who would you chose? That is how I choose people I work with. It is not a commercial call, the most successful director, actor in Indian cinema can walk into my office and say, "Let us make a film," and if he is not the person I want in my family, I will say, "thank you very much for your views but, no, thank you." Because for me the most important thing is that anything we do out of it, is what we are proud of irrespective of its box office success or failure.

What do you have to say about Hindi cinema, looking at the way it is shaping up?
My views are that in Vinod Chopra films, we are making very good films. I have no general views. I do not see outside films. If I had I would have said it, I am not being smart but it is true. I do not even remember which was the last Hindi film I saw. I really restrict myself to my films only, to the films which I write, produce, direct.

I have seen much of world cinema because I was in film school for three years. Of course, I have seen a hell of a lot films but now I am not watching one film every night anymore. I read, I listen to music, I have other things.

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