He ends his media briefing by saying, "Sharafat Gayi Tel Lene", and that my lovely readers aren't what he meant. That's Zayed Khan's next release after Blue. The actor looked all red and pink jumping up and down, doing mad stunts on the trampoline while filming for the title track of Blue at Film City. He has been slated of not being the most talented of actors by some critics but there is something special about this 'Khan'. In his purple tee and a sleeveless yellow hooded jumper, the actor's Popeye type muscles are evidence that he is pushing himself for a role of a lifetime. After his only super successful film Main Hoon Na, Blue might just be his lucky colour this October. This correspondent discovered a man with oodles of charm and likeability that go some way to explaining the phenomenal success of this rather private and enigmatic cinematic curio.
The title track of Blue had to be your solo performance. Is that true?
Not at all. These are just rumours going around. This film is an entire team performance. I don't think without any one of us, this film would've been complete. Blue is a first of its kind in Indian cinema. It's historical in nature and it's a kind of film India always wanted to prove to the rest of the world, that our cinema is up there too. It's a big milestone.
Blue title track is one of the most talked about themes.
Yes it is. I'm glad it is. Blue theme is the soul of the film. It's what we call the heart of the film. It gives you the pace and the rhythm the film has chosen to adapt to. It's always nice to have a theme song where everybody is coming together to create the excitement and the buzz for the film. I don't know if Blue needs any more buzz than it has already got. It's one of those fortunate films that have been very well received by the audiences so far and I hope the songs pep people up and get them more excited about the film than they already are.
How difficult and easy was it to do stunts with Akshay Kumar?
Akshay has been tremendously supportive. You can't really argue with Akshay when it comes to action. He is one of the best in the business. He is mentally and physically fit. That all translates into how he does his stunts. Akshay wasn't fearful of doing anything for the first time. Akshay swims like a fish but it's good I gave him a little bit of competition underwater (laughs).
So who was the surprise package of the film?
It had to be Lara Dutta. She did not know how to swim. The way she took her lessons and the way she changed the entire cast and crew's perception towards her was unbelievable. She worked out mad and looked slimmer than ever. She is a treat to watch out for in Blue.
You are producers' first choice when it comes to big budget cinema.
Well, call it my fortune. I love action flicks. Blue is one such film that is expensive because of its action. As a kid, I always wanted to see action movies and then dream of being a part of them. I just couldn't have said 'No' to the film because the film is outstanding in its writing and vision. Anthony has done his homework so well that you just can't ignore to be a part of Blue.
Did you have any doubts of shooting some scenes because of the risk of getting killed by the sharks?
Not until the time we actually had our first shark dive. I've been a scuba diver since I was fifteen. It's always been the deep sea coral diving for me. Sharks? I was like, get real! We had a very good team of divers who understood the nature of these sharks. The way they spoke to us was like we had to stroll in a park. The first dive was scary but by the end of the thirty day diving experience, we turned a blind eye to the sharks. Swimming with the sharks was like a sense of achievement.
Who came across as the best and the worst from all the cast?
(Laughs) Now you need to ask Anthony about this. But I guess, the cast was taken bearing in mind that we all were fearless. We all were game for things, anything. But the rightful owner of this answer has to be my director.
When your film Cash released, content took a back seat and the film came down like nine pins in a row. Do you feel that the action, choreography and technicalities of such action adventure capers somehow neglect the content?
I agree with you that sometimes people shy away from content in order to give a big and a larger picture of things. But you see, honestly, half the content of such films lie in its thrills. Giving people an adventure action caper the content resides in how many thrills you create, how many twists and turns you create, how many freaky stunts you do, etc. But at the same time, there should be a good story line to back it all up. There was a time in 2006 and 2007 when producers would announce films worth Rs.100 crores and corrupt their films. They used to say, 'Let's not write a dialogue, let's go and shoot in Australia, let's not do a good scene and waste more money in New York.' As for Blue, it has got a very sensitive story line. Blue will surprise one and all.