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Sriram gets ready for his second innings

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By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What's common between Shimit Amin and Sriram Raghavan? Well, both debuted in a film coming from the house of Ram Gopal Varma, (Shimit with Ab Tak Chappan and Sriram with Ek Haseena Thi) and have their second film releasing this year. While Shimit has made everyone stand up and take notice of his craft with an all-around appreciated Chak De India; followers of Ek Haseena Thi, a film that has achieved cult status over the years, are also waiting for this yet another rocking thriller Johnny Gaddaar from Sriram Raghavan.

After all the acclaim you got for Ek Haseena Thi, you must be raring to start with your next film? Didn't the wait tire you?
The bright side is that I had time to work on some scripts, watch lots of movies, read etc....Right now I am so busy that I've missed movies on the big screen.

Each film comes with its own challenges. What were the challenges posed by Johnny Gaddaar?
The biggest challenge was when the film got stuck. I had to decide whether to wait it out and complete it, or just shelve it and move on. Thankfully my team stood by me. Otherwise it was great fun all the way. There were tough sequences like an action sequence on a moving train at night. We had no idea how to crack it but my cameraman, Murali came up with some innovative ideas. It's one of the highlights of the movie, even if I say so myself.

What exactly does Johnny Gaddaar stand for?
If you don't mind, I'll quote the synopsis.... The story revolves around a gang of five men, the eldest (Dharmendra) over 60, the youngest (Neil) in his twenties, who face the bright prospect of making a fortune through what seems to be a simple exchange of contraband for money on a train. However, this caper goes wrong badly. Then follows a ruthless search for the traitor amongst them, for who else could have known about the heist? Greed, betrayal, corruption, love, murder... they're all part of the tingling tale; that is Johnny Gaddaar.

Cliched as it may sound but how 'different' is it from other heist thrillers?
Sergio Leone (or Godard, I forgot) once said that it's not the story but how you say it. I think the difference would come from the treatment. Given the same story, five directors would do it differently. Someone would treat it darkly; someone would give it an extra glossy look. Someone else would put in songs and comedy tracks. Someone would make it boringly realistic. And so on. I've tried to make it like the 70s Hindi movies that I enjoyed as a kid.

Technically, do you feel that you have super ceded your own effort when compared to your last film?
You just try to make every film as good as you can.

One actually hears that JG is a reverse thriller in the making. Can you shed some light on that?
Reverse Thriller sounds profound!! I must use this phrase in other interviews!! Actually, in India the bulk of audiences and even producers, usually confuse Suspense for whodunit. 'Arre suspense maloom pad gaya...isne kiya hai...etc'. SUSPENSE is not about who is the culprit. Suspense actually means anticipation, tension.... 'what happens next'.

So in Johnny Gaddaar, the audiences will know the identity of the culprit from the very beginning. But the other characters don't know....and the tension and excitement stems from ....when and how they will find out and what happens next. So I guess it is reverse suspense.

What else are you working on? Another thriller or some shift in genre?
Must shift genres or else will find myself repeating shots and ideas. My next film is not a thriller and that scares me more than The Exorcist did.

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