Masala express

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Filmmaker Abhinav Kashyap’s maiden venture Dabangg helped him garner loads of accolades. After donning the cap of commercial films master, Abhinav is back with another masala entertainer with Ranbir Kapoor starrer Besharam.

In an exclusive tête-à-tête with Neha Prashar, the talented director talks about his film, the lead pair and his relation with Salman Khan…

So first of all, how did you come up with the idea of Besharam?

Besharam was basically a story that I picked up from my friend Rajeev Barnwal. He once narrated his story to me when he had invested all his life’s earnings to buy a second-hand car and it was stolen the second night itself. He searched for it a lot but couldn’t find it, but this made him curious about how the car thieves in the city work and he went on to do an extensive research on the same. When I heard the story I thought it had a lot of potential and we started working on the script together and eventually even the characters happened.

Why did you cast Ranbir Kapoor for the film?

I think Ranbir is the most Besharam actor of Bollywood today. Since he has dropped his towel in Saawariya, he has declared himself to be Besharam. So no one else could have been better for the character.

Ranbir appears to be a little reserved and reticent, so could he match up to such role?

You know Ranbir after what you see him on screen. He isn’t reserved after what he does on screen considering his butt show in his first film, and then his relationships with actresses like Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif or whichever other names media comes up with. So these things do make him a ‘Besharam’. Also I was looking out for a young actor for my film and he stand in the top when it comes to youngsters in bollywood.

How did Pallavi Sharda happen to the film?

It so happened that we were having a lot of problems before starting the film and if I had gone with some big name, than their date issue may have created some more delay. Also my film happened suddenly as Ranbir was to start working with my bhaisahab – Anurag Kashyap in Bombay Velvet first. However, due to a sudden landslide in Manali, the schedule of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani was postponed and thus Bombay Velvet too got delayed. This is how my film started and I only had a small gap between which I had complete my schedule. I was on a look out for a girl who has a lot of time. We auditioned a couple of actresses and Pallavi, I think was the best. She did great work.

There were reports suggesting that Ranbir wanted Katrina to be cast opposite him…

I don’t think he had any choice, nor did he say anything of this sort in an interview. These are mere rumours.

You have worked with Salman in Dabangg and now Ranbir. How are they different from each other?

They are very different from each other when it comes to work. Both are equally good but Salman usually comes late on the sets and with him you cannot start shooting before 12. Ranbir, on the other hand, is more punctual and comes on time. Salman never rehearses his scenes, he believes in spontaneity. He gives a shot and if he likes it, we have to like it too. Ranbir is more meticulous. He usually involves everyone and lets us know as to what he is going to give in the scene so that everyone is prepared.

Who do you prefer to work with, Ranbir or Salman?

Ranbir, anyday. It is much easier in my mind and it has to be Ranbir.

What is your relation with Salman Khan at this point?

I have no relationship with Salman Khan as of now. There is neither any fight nor friendship. We were never friends. I had very professional relation with Salman while working for Dabangg, but I was in good terms with Arbaaz Khan. However, when I came out of Dabangg franchise, we have only met 4 or 5 times. He is my senior and we share whereabouts.

You are more into masala movies, while your brother Anurag Kashyap is more into dark films. Are you planning to venture into such films anytime soon?

Well, when Anurag starts shifting his focus on masala movies, I will be more than happy to be a part of dark films. Actually we both want to capture every area of filmmaking and we are like the mafia, we don’t get into each other’s areas (laughs).

You have worked under Mani Ratnam as well. Do you ever talk or consult with him?

No, I have lost touch with him. It was 10 years ago that we worked together and then I started concentrating on my career.

How did the idea of getting all the three Kapoor’s together came to your mind?

See when you make a film, a filmmaker has to keep in mind as to how he can arouse curiosity. And I had to do something that has never been done before. I already had Ranbir and Pallavi on board and then I thought Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh have never worked with Ranbir before and also they have never played cops ever. All three are great actors and I wanted people to be curious about the casting and that is what is happening.

How was it working with Rishi Kapoor?

Rishi Kapoor mujhe aur Ranbir dono ko dho daaltey hain (Rishi Kapoor bashes me and Ranbir both). That is how he is and when I used to shoot with Rishiji, Ranbir used to become by assistant as he knows clearly how to handle his father.

You usually choose different names for your actors. First it was Chulbul and now it’s Babli, why do you come up with such names?

There have been Rahuls and Rajs, but I wanted to standout a bit and so such selection of names. Keeping an attention seeking name is a unique concept.

Do you think Bollywood filmmakers these days concentrate more on grabbing people’s attention than the content of the film?

Grabbing attention is obviously important to attract viewers to the theatres, but beyond that the film runs on its merits. And history suggests that films which have had only attention grabbing moments and no content inside have not done well.

Do you think the controversies surrounding the lead actor of your film will act as a plus for your movie?

I hope so, because Ranbir is already suffering his share of troubles from all the rumors but I sincerely wish that these rumors do at least some good to him.

What is the reference point of your characters?

All my characters reference is me. All my characters come from the people I have met in real life.

You came up with a larger than life character with Chulbul Pandey. Is Babli any similar?

I don’t think Chulbul was a larger than life character. It was a very ordinary story and a very ordinary character. Only action was larger than life. The thrashing and the songs is very synonymous with Bollywood entertainment.

Lastly, will audiences expect yet another film from you and Ranbir together?

Of course. He will be my first choice for any next film I think of. I had a great experience of working with him, but he is becoming busier day by day. Working with him will be once in three-year cycle for me.

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