“It"s a film about the child within man, and the man within the child. And I can"t think of a better tribute to the child than Children"s Day," says Balki who completed shooting the film in England recently.
After shooting his two feature films Cheeni Kum and now Paa in England, Balki wants to return to the country again.
“We shot Paa in my favourite location England. Throughout the stint in Cambridge we were at sea, never on land. I love shooting in London. I shot my first two films there. If I had my way, I"d shoot all my films there."
Balki took up the challenge of projecting Big B like never before. “In Cheeni Kum I really didn"t have to do anything. I made him play himself. Here in Paa, I had to bring out that child within him which has always been there. We tapped that part of him. It wasn"t easy for Amitji to play a child at heart. Fortunately Abhishek and Vidya Balan too are extremely intelligent actors. She has played such a charming mom. Throughout the film they behave as if Amitji is their son. For Abhishek this was his chance to get even with his dad."
Any regrets about not casting Tabu again? “After what she did with Amitji in Cheeni Kum it wasn"t possible to cast her in Vidya"s role."
Balki is not bothered with how the audience will accept the two actors in reversed roles. “There"s no point in making a film, if it doesn"t push envelopes. I won"t do a film that doesn"t challenge me and my actors."
Another ongoing leitmotif in Balki"s cinema is the music of Ilaiyaraja. “He"s God. He has been a major source of inspiration. I don"t think India has known a better music composer. Sadly one-half of India has not heard him enough."
For Cheeni Kam, Balki specifically asked Ilaiyaraja for tunes from his Tamil films. “I wanted Hindi moviegoers to hear those times. Even in Paa, I"ve transposed some of his South Indian tunes into Hindi. It"s not that important to be original. It"s more important to do what you believe in."
Balki is miffed that the Big B"s Progeria look has been leaked out. “Fortunately that"s only a part of his look. No one came on the set to see how he looks on camera. The makeup person was given a computer-generated picture of Amitji. He improvised a lot on that, and added traits from real Progeria patients."
The highly rated Cheeni Kum director Balki is releasing his extremely unusual role reversal drama Paa on November 13 as a tribute to Children"s Day.