Arshad Warsi is elated. No, it isn't because 2009 was exceptional for him with any major hits up his sleeves. Instead it was torrid to say the least with number of films of his that were rotting in the cans finally seeing a release and pronto making a silent exit from theatres without much ado. No wonder, Arshad is happy that finally the entire backlog of films is out of his way and he is beginning on a fresh note as the first decade of the new millennium approaches its end. With newer lot of films like Ishqiya all set to make a mark, Arshad can be seen and heard in good spirits as he converses with us about the love of his life – Ishqiya.
Looking at the promos of Ishqiya, it seems like we are heading towards a romantic thriller, right?
True, basically the film is a thriller with a dose of action to it. The twist here though is the relationship between me and Naseer which brings in certain lightness to the script. In fact if you get this characterisation aspect out of Ishqiya, it will turn out to be just another thriller.
With Vishal Bhardwaj on board, one can well expect a touch of realism to it as well.
What I really like in cinema, is when we bring in realistic acting and make commercial cinema out of it. When you make a good film, there is no boundary of art v/s commercial films. In Hollywood movies, we can see already that happening where acting is all so real even in the most commercial setup. Here also we are trying to do that though somewhere we get trapped in this entire filmy chakkar. I am glad though that we are still attempting good meaningful cinema like My Name Is Khan, New York, Kurbaan, Rocket Singh - Salesman of the Year, Wake Up Sid, Chak De India etc.
Talking about you and Naseeruddin Shah coming together, why don't you ever mention about having worked with him in Mujhe Meri Biwi Se Bachao years back?
(Laughs) In fact we both keep joking about it that it was such a fabulous experience working in that film that we chose to forget all about it. Touchwood, Ishqiya has truly been a far greater outing for both of us. I don't know why it took people such a long time to bring us together again.
You must have learnt quite some lessons from him this time around...
While working with him, it was once again re-emphasised for me that in real acting, an actor never gives an impression that he is acting. In fact this is something that I try in each of my films. People should not feel that I am acting at all. Iska ek drawback yeh hota hai ki kuch logon ko lagta hai ki main acting hi nahi kar raha (laughs)!
Coming back to Ishqiya, due to its rustic setting, one is instantly reminded of Omkara.
In a way the setting of Ishqiya is just like Omkara because of the village and small town feel to it. In a place like Gorakhpur, you are bound to encounter dirty roads, dust, heat and humidity, something which is prevalent in the interiors of India, especially in Northern and the Central regions. Ishqiya mein Indianness koot-koot kar bhari hui hai. Right from the look to the treatment to story and performances, Ishqiya is completely different. The major difference here with Omkara though is that it was serious while we have a very dark undercurrent of humour even in the most serious scenes.
Like the entire episode of 'ishq' and 'sex'?
(Laughs) Yeah, like that dialogue around 'ishq' and sex. I don't understand why there was so much hullabaloo made about it? In fact what you have seen in the trailer is all that you get to hear in the film as well. That's all. The film is not at all abusive. I don't know why there have been such protests. We seem to be really hypocrites and in a constant denial mode. Politicians use more abusive words in Parliament than this.
Meanwhile, it seems like 2009 was pretty much a backlog completion year for you with movies like Kisse Pyaar Karoon, Ek Se Bure Do and Shortkut -The Con Is On being out of your way...
Really, did all three films release one after another in 2009? Achcha hai, mere saare paap dhul gaye aur main bhi dhul gaya. On a serious note though, my biggest disappointment was for Shortkut. I hadn't expected that it would not do well. The story had so much 'masti' and I was pining my hopes on it. I know that it was during the editing stage that it got royally screwed because the portions that we had shot for in entirety were brilliant. Also, it wasn't that I was the only one laughing because everyone was having a blast on the sets. I still maintain that if a separate DVD is made of the scenes that were edited out, it would make for a much better laugh riot. The whole idea behind making this film was lost.
Due to this experience, what's the kind of learning that you have gained over the months gone by?
From now, whatever I will do, I will do it after much deliberate thinking. See, there are times when actors are totally involved in a film from conceptualisation till the final print is rolled out. I have never done that till date because I just do my work and leave. I guess this is the area where I need to improve because I should now be more involved in editing as well (smiles).