Do you think you will win the Race?
Hope so. Keeping our fingers crossed. God has been kind to us every time. We have worked hard and have done our bit. The rest is up to the almighty. But the Race isn't over yet. We'll see what happens.
Your favourite Akshaye Khanna yet again. Is it right in saying that he is your favourite choice when it comes to suspense thrillers?
Yes. He is our favourite choice for thrillers since 2002. But he is playing a character this time which is far more complex compared to Humraaz and Naqaab. Akshaye is a complete all-rounder. He is like a son to us and this is his fourth Abbas Mustan film.
Out of all your suspense films since 1992, which one came across as the most challenging, the most exciting and the most deserving to win awards?
We don't categorize our films nor give labels to them. When we work on any given script, it's a new challenge in itself. We put in the same amount of dedication and commitment behind all our films. It entirely depends on the audiences who after watching our film can tell you whether the film deserves an award, whether it was exciting or not, etc but our approach towards all our films is the same.
What has Race got which all your previous films did not have?
It's got the pace. Other than that, this is our first big multi starrer. We've never worked with such a big cast before. Plus the youth can identify with the music as it's young and peppy and in sync with today's times. In fact, the title track 'Allah Duhai' and others are already chartbuster hits on all radio stations. The film is made on a grand scale and so the look of the film was carefully selected. From the various stunts to the car and horse race, every bit of it was shot with great style and substance. In short, Race is a quick paced, slick and a stylized film.
Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Sameera Reddy. All first timers in an Abbas Mustan film. Didn't you think that this Race will be a bit risky?
Not at all. We don't think so. Saif Ali Khan is in talks with us since last twelve years and has shown great interest to work in our films but somehow the opportunity did not arise. So, when we approached Saif for Race, he readily agreed in the first go after reading and listening to the script. We are sure this will be rated as his best performance ever. We share a great rapport with Anil Kapoor too since many years and for him to be part of Race is like a boon to us. He has been in the industry for more than two decades but when on the sets, he works as if it's his first film. Such is his passion and growth. And as far as Katrina Kaif and Sameera Reddy were concerned, we wanted an actress who could define sensuousness which we found in both the actresses.
The last time we met was in London in 2006 during your shoot for Mr. Fraud with Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan and Bipasha Basu. Is the film shelved or is it still on?
Mr Fraud is very much on. We all know that Sanjay Dutt has resumed shooting for various films. Now the producers of Mr Fraud are short listing the dates in order to go ahead and shoot the remaining 40% of the film. As it is a multi-starer, we require dates from Bipasha, Sanju baba and Ajay as there are very few solo scenes. Hopefully, in a couple of months the shooting will begin and it should be ready by the end of this year.
Baazigar, Soldier, Baadshah, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, Ajnabee, Humraaz. It's a strange coincidence that all the mentioned films here have had their individual smash hit title song. In fact, there is one hit song in all your films. You have proved it yet again with Race. Is it luck?
We do need a bit of luck in all our films but it does not work every time. As Race is a stylish film, we required stylish songs. Personally, we do not have a deep knowledge about music but we totally trust the music director when it comes to the tracks in all our films. Pritam has not let us down. Yes, we then decide later which song suits the script the best and shortlist them. The good thing is that in only one sitting we finalize all the songs. One has to understand that in a thriller genre, the songs are very carefully selected and is a far difficult role for the music director unlike him giving music in a romantic or a comedy film where you can through in a song anywhere and anytime. Music in suspense thrillers have to pack a punch and so does the background score. Race has done exactly that.
Are we going to see you and your cast attend music talent shows and reality shows to promote Race because such activities are considered to be an added advantage?
All these things you've mentioned is taken care by the promotional and marketing guys of our film Race. They come up with all the strategies and plans to promote the film. Whatever they say and wherever they tell us to go, we have to be free for that. We do things as per their plans. Talent shows and reality shows only help to promote and push the film by reminding the audience to go and watch the film. Finally, it's only up to the audiences to make or break the film. But yes, you will see some of us attend such shows because they do help the film nearing its release.
Aren't we ever going to see Abbas Mustan try and make a family drama or a comedy film?
It's not that we haven't tried our hands at something different. We did make Chori Chori Chupke Chupke and Taarzan - The Wonder Car. But while making thrillers, what we found out was that the audiences were loving such genres. Only after the feedback we got from various sources, we decided to stick to this particular genre. In fact, Mr Fraud is a comedy thriller where we have experimented with comedy. There is no harm in trying something different but when you know your strengths why take a risk.
Did you at all worry about the screen space of Anil, Akshaye, Bipasha, Saif, Sameera and Katrina in Race?
No. Actually, in a suspense thriller one has to focus on all the characters equally. We are here to confuse the public, try and make them guess till the end of the film who the culprit is. But at the end of the day it's the script and the individual role which matters. No member from the cast comes up with complaints about them getting less coverage and the other co-star getting more. It's a team work from the smallest to the biggest roles and that's what makes our films special.
Do you think the media blowing a lot about the relationship between Saif and Kareena has helped your film Race a lot in terms of promotion?
That's untrue. It's up to the individual how they take it. The media has a habit of showing songs and dialogues from the couples latest films like Jab We Met and Race. Then comes the story of their relationship. I think the media has spread like wild fire everywhere. You get out of your house and that's it; the world watches you. Such stories and gossips have nothing to do with the promotion of any film. Yes, the people do get to see songs from the actor's latest film but that's it.
What message would you like to give your audiences before the release of Race?
Go and watch the film. Race is a larger than life film. Have popcorn in hand and enjoy all the thrills and action and do not leave your brains at home and come to the theatre as you will very much need it. But there is something important which we need to address to the public and that is - Please do not watch Race on pirated Vcd's and Dvd's. Help your Indian Film Industry in the fight against piracy.