By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Friday, March 24, 2006
Bhatts seldom go wrong when it comes to movies with loads of drama and shock value. Gangster is one such film that releases soon. With good buzz around the movie already, it is no wonder to see director Anurag Basu being mighty excited, though a little nervous, about his first project after his illness.
Due to your illness, it has been a long time since your last film Tumsa Nahi Dekha. How have you been doing now?
Ya, it's good to be back. It has been a long time due to my treatment and though I am still on medication, I am much better and working for a good part of my day.
So, what really makes you so passionate about cinema to work so hard after just coming out of illness?
See, people say that I have strong will power and so on, but I think that I was high after the success of Murder and was getting good offers since then. This is when I felt that why am I in hospital when actually I should be up shooting as this is the reason why I came in here for! This gave me good enough drive to get behind the camera soon.
And then you started Gangster as soon as you were fit. Wasn't it disheartening that it took a lot of time to get your three actors [Emraan Hashmi, Shiney Ahuja, Kangna] in place?
[Thinks a little] Hmmm, well aisa nahi tha! We had started casting when the film was still being written. When the script was over, the casting was finalized in a week's time.
The promos have been quite sensational since the time they were first shown during Kalyug's screening. Kangna falling off from the skyscraper and the bloodied faces of Emraan and Shiney have aroused good curiosity. So, who designed the promo? Was it you or some other team?
In fact I designed the promo myself. And the fact is that the film was just about 50% complete at that time. Mukesh Bhatt wanted the promo to come along with Kalyug. He said that whatever has been shot of the movie, go ahead and make the promo. Hence the reason why it came up then!
How about Kangna's fall from the skyscraper? Is that just for the promo or even in the movie?
No, it is an actual scene in the movie, not merely for the promo.
So does she die?
I am not telling you that. You will have to watch the film for the same.
How did Shiney Ahuja finally come into picture?
Actually I don't take much time to decide. Similarly with Mukesh Bhatt and others too, it's not too much of brainstorming when it comes to casting. I hadn't seen Shiney Ahuja in Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi. I just met him, though didn't audition him, but it struck to me there and then that he was the right choice. He has those eyes that speak a lot and hence he fits in well in the film. His character is such in the film that it doesn't speak a lot and that vulnerability in him goes well with Gangster. I just told the Bhatts that this guy should be in and soon he was signed for the movie.
And now today it seems to be for everyone's advantage that he is the hottest discovery of 2005. Isn't it?
Yeah, very much!
How about Emraan? Was he in the project from day one?
Emraan is in all my projects. He is always my first choice.
Do you want to elaborate about what the movie is about?
See, the title Gangster may give an impression that the movie is about underworld, but that's not the case. In fact it's the love story of Simran [Kangna]. Simran always wanted a normal life. Emraan plays Akash who can fulfill her dreams. Daya [Shiney] is a person who inspite of his wish can't do much but can give his life for Simran. This is a kind of triangle where Simran is hanging between Akash and Daya but eventually ends up betraying one of them.
You started your Bollywood career with Ekta Kapoor's Kucch To Hai. Did you see a difference between Balaji Films and Vishesh Films?
Lot of difference! There was a lot of interference in Kucch To Hai that I didn't really enjoy. I was required to take permission for whatever I did and there was no line drawn between where one stops and the other starts. Though Ekta and I are still friends today, it was decided then that we couldn't work together!
You seem to be really happy while working with the Bhatts.
Oh yes, the kind of creative freedom they give is excellent. Though I don't belong to this camp and I haven't even been an assistant director with them. Still the freedom they give is amazing, be it music or casting, poora khulla chodh dete hain!! Wo azaadi bahaut achchi hoti hai! I have really enjoyed here.
Coming back to Shiney, Emraan and Kangna, whose performance would an average filmgoer be carrying home after watching the film?
I would say Kangna, though from my eyes every one has been quite good. Shiney has been good while Emraan Hashmi to sabko achcha lagta hi hai! Regarding Kangna, no one can say that it's her first film. In fact she even surprised me.
How come Seoul as a location for the film's shooting?
It so happened that we were watching a Korean film when it struck me that it could be a good location for the film's setting. Autumn season really looked good in the frames. Even if you look at my earlier Saaya, I wanted to shoot it in Delhi as the city is extremely beautiful in winters. The month when you do shooting at a particular location is very important due to its climate. For Gangster, even Australia was one of the places where we had thought of shooting but later I told Mr. Bhatt that let's shoot in Seoul, though we didn't know whether any other Hindi film had been shot there before!
What's the running time of the movie and when does it release?
Its two hours and the film releases on 28th April.
Anything that you want to talk about Gangster before we wrap up this conversation?
Well, I would just say that it is very difficult to actually tell the story of Gangster. The USP of the film is its unpredictability. As an audience you can't really guess what's going to come next. Also, in case of Murder people said that it is similar to Unfaithful but Gangster is a new story and completely original!
"Nobody even slaps anyone in the film. Yet you will be able to see violence in the mind of the characters." - L C Singh
"I felt that I had arrived as far as my skills as an actor were concerned" - Ashmit Patel