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We know him as the man who made Dhoom and now he is back with his next film Dhoom 2, a sequel to its predecessor. Meet Sanjay Gadhvi in an IndiaFM exclusive.
More action, more machinery... Dhoom II looks sleeker than ever.
I think its all part of an attempt to make a better film. The pressure is always there when you are making a sequel. It's all about getting more modern gadgets and getting newer techniques in your storytelling or editing. I was watching Dhoom the other day on DVD and I said to myself that this is looking old. It felt that it was a long time ago and the new one is better. That's a good sign.
Was it difficult handling so many big stars together?
That's a question that keeps coming to me all the time. When you are working with Yash Raj as a production house, it's not an issue at all. Abhishek, Uday, Hrithik are all good buddies and they treat Yash Raj as a home banner. This whole new breed of actors are very professional, dedicated and hungry and want to do good work for themselves to look good. Probably I'll find out how tough it is once I make a film outside Yash Raj.
Hrithik has never looked better. How was it like working with an actor who believes in perfection?
Working with Hrithik Roshan is a great experience for any filmmaker. He is a very good-looking man and he has those international looks. Women all over the world will find him good-looking. He's a thinking actor and a thinking star, so when both the things meet, the result is bound to be good. This is a clichÉ line but I have to say that I learnt a lot from Hrithik. When he is giving a shot no matter how small it is of duration or importance, a director has a tendency to finish it off fast and then move onto the next important shot. He doesn't let go of it and treats it with equal importance. When I checked out the shots in the edit, I realized how right he was. So that's one aspect I have learnt from Hrithik that he goes for perfection with every shot no matter how big or small it is.
But what made you cast him in a negative role?
When you are planning a sequel, you want to get bigger and better. Somewhere down the line Dhoom II warranted a bigger budget and if we wanted someone larger to tackle Jai and Ali, it would have to be someone bigger and an actor who is saleable and who would balance out the budget. It was down to the top 3 actors in terms of salability and Hrithik was the top contender. It was immediately a very tempting and exciting thought. He has played the boy next door and also some interesting stuff like in Fiza and Mission Kashmir but to make him a cool bad guy was challenging for me and the producers. And when we approached him, he took the bait and decided to go for it.
Hrithik and Aishwarya coming together for the first time! Now that's a casting coup
Again, once you have decided on someone like Hrithik, its comes down to the top 3 heroines like Aishwarya, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta, Bipasha, and Kareena. For me the first name came into mind was Aishwarya because they have never been cast together. They are two of India's most popular and most beautiful actors today. When you put them in the same frame they are somehow conscious of the other good-looking person in that frame so it was a huge risk in case the chemistry wouldn't work. But I was happy on the first day itself and it looked really good. They are very professional and hard-working. They know their own lines as well as each others lines.
Dhoom was Abhishek Bachchan's first hit. What can we expect from him now?
Where Abhishek was concerned, it was only a matter of time when he would give his first hit. I am lucky that it will go down in history that Dhoom is hit first hit but as I said it was just a matter of time. Now he is in the new breed of super-stars. He is a fun guy to work with. He is always up to pranks and you have to child him once in a while.
Do you agree when we say that Uday Chopra gives his best performances when it comes to working with Sanjay Gadhvi? Do you think that his career still hasn't shaped up the way it should despite being a fine actor?
I don't think I will be in a position to comment on Uday Chopra's career. I would just say that we hit it off well whenever we worked together in Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai and Dhoom. He has done some interesting work but I shouldn't be talking about his career because each ones career is a result of one's own strategy, luck and the choices that they make. While working on MYKSH, we discovered the funny side of each other and that's when I realized that the character of Ali is possible in Dhoom. There was no looking back after that.
Bipasha is another addition to the cast.
She was one of the choices for Abhishek's wife in Dhoom and at that time it didn't work out for various factors. Bipasha is one of the sexiest women in India. When we set out, we wanted to make a sexy film. She is sizzling hot in Dhoom 2. Watch out for her.
Was it all work and no play?
No. In a Dhoom 2 you can have all work and no play. But with Abhishek Bachchan, you can't have all work and no play. Hrithik is not always the perfectionist and he loosens up and makes the girls laugh. That's the way to work on Dhoom. The atmosphere has to be relaxed and that somehow gets captured on camera.
What was the most difficult sequence to shoot in Dhoom 2?
Dhoom 2 in totality was difficult but I would say the one in Namibia was the most difficult one. It was the opening action sequence and the physicality of the shoot is a very tough prospect because the place has extreme temperatures. Then there were sandstorms, cancelled days of shooting, etc. You are out in the middle of nowhere and your tents fly off because of the sandstorm so you have to sit in the car for 3 hours waiting for it to pass. Then the moving train sequence was difficult because everyone had to be strapped on so that no one fell.
Is Aditya Chopra an interfering producer in terms of direction or are you an interfering director in terms of production?
A film is always the result of team work. I'm not talking about Aditya Chopra but generally when a man invests his money, he is the biggest entity in the film. And if he is a producer who has made films as a director then he has a better understanding of the film-making process. And if he has made a film which is still running in theatres, then you should know his understanding.
Aditya Chopra has the sharpest screenplay minds ever in the Indian film industry. It would be foolish not to take his advice in any film. If I do my job right and the editor goofs up then we get jacked. So it's my job to tell the editor how the edit should be and if I give in my inputs, the editor can't call me an interfering director. Any film-making effort is a film-making effort.
The music of Dhoom rocked the nation. Do you think the same will be the case of Dhoom 2?
I personally told Aditya Chopra that the music of Dhoom 2 will be bigger than Dhoom. What happened with Dhoom was the one song took off and raced ahead in front of the other 3 songs. In Dhoom 2, we tried to get that original flavour and since we couldn't compete with Dhoom Machale, we just got a reproduction of that and it will be performed by Hrithik in the film. My favourite song is Crazy Kiya Re because Aishwarya has personally outdone herself. It's gonna make people forget any song that Aishwarya has done in the past. She is so hot and such a great dancer in that.
Comparisons are inevitable with the prequel
It's evenly balanced. If you want to take the advantage of the brand of Dhoom and make a sequel then it is an advantage because there is an expectation and hype and some people are going to see it regardless. And the minus point is that there are going to be comparisons. We have seen movies being made from books and come out saying the book was better. So that is going to be there and we came to the onset when we were planning Dhoom 2. We have to live with it because we can't please everyone all the time.
Dhoom is all about speed. So are you game for a rapid fire?
The first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the following words...
Hrithik - Cool
Abhishek - Super-cool
Bipasha - Hot
Aishwarya - Sizzling
Uday - Funniest
Aditya Chopra - Great screenplay mind
Pritam - Still to give his best
John Abraham's cameo - Not heard of it