After delivering three back-to-back comedies, Rohit Shetty has tried his hand at an action flick with Singham. We quizzed him about his relationship with his favourite actor Ajay Devgn, turning action designer and the risk of working on a remake…
Why did you decide to make a remake of Singham in Hindi?
I watched it on DVD. Reliance had sent it to me, because it’s produced by them. I hadn’t even heard of it before that. I loved the earthy action in the film and Surya’s character. That’s what inspired me to make the film.
How much of the original Singham is there in your remake?
Seventy percent of the screenplay has been changed. The basic story though is the same. Some of the stunts are similar. See, you could make a film without taking the rights of the original. But then it creates several issues and you have to give clarifications. If we are inspired from that film, it’s better that we buy the rights and say that we are remaking that film.
Since the promos of Singham came out, there have been comparisons with Dabangg. Do you mind that?
It’s good if they are comparing my film to a hit film!
Will you ever make a film without Ajay?
No…it’s not like that. We had planned a script for Ajay’s production house with some other actor but it didn’t work out. So we moved on to Bol Bachchan. Actually, I haven’t really thought about it.
Have you ever thought of casting Ajay and Kajol together?
I would like to. If I get a script then I would really like to cast Ajay and Kajol together.
How involved is Ajay in the films you make?
He knows everything that is happening with respect to the film. Even when he is producing a film, in a way, I am the producer. He never interferes. He is a good director, producer and a brilliant actor, but he never orders me. He never discuses budget or tells me do this or don’t do this. We have an open-door policy. Not only Ajay, but also other team members can give suggestions.
Have you two ever fought over a scene or a film?
Ajay and I never fight or have any arguments. Let’s hope we never have a fight in the future.
How would you rate him as an actor?
He is one of the finest actors of the country but he doesn’t publicise this fact. That’s his problem. He is a two-time National Award-winner. If there had been any other actor in his place, he would have taken off his shirt and ran on the streets. He is never into all this.
What inspired you to design action sequences in the film?
Singham is one film that really inspired me. I really loved the action. It’s not your Hollywood kind of action. It’s very earthy and raw.
You keep blowing up cars in your films. Is there any car that you wouldn’t blow up?
I would surely never blow up my car; it’s a BMW!
You had approached Anushka Shetty for the role that is finally being played by Kajal Aggarwal. Did she fit the bill?
We had approached Anushka first, but we had to begin shooting immediately. She was busy with other assignments that time so we had to approach Kajal. We basically wanted a fresh face because it was a role of a simple girl. If you watch the film, you’ll feel that Kajal fits perfectly.
Do you enjoy making comedies or action flicks?
A good film is what I enjoy making.
All your films have been multi-starrers, which could get quite taxing. Was it easier this time around?
It was easier as far as handling actors is concerned because there was only Ajay. But in a way it was a more difficult film too, because action takes a lot of time and energy. Also, there were time constraints. We had to complete the film in four months. We started on March 4 and the film is releasing on July 22. The actual shooting took about 80 days, so in that sense it is one of the fastest films ever made. My team worked really hard on this one.
So, you are going to go back to comedy after Singham?
Yes, I will be back to comedy with Bol Bachchan. Abhishek Bachchan is Abhishek’s name in the film. The situation gets funny because he claims to be a certain Abhishek Bachchan (that does not refer to the film star himself) and gets into trouble. Asin will be doing the film if everything goes well. I’m still hunting for a female actor opposite Abhishek.
How do you manage to make back-to-back films and in such a short time?
It’s because of my team. They support me each time. Otherwise it’s next to impossible to make a film like Singham in such a short time. Also, the scripts are coming in fast, actors are available and everything is falling in place. As they say ‘chalti gaadi ka engine mat kholo‘ (don’t try to repair the engine of a working car). So, I don’t think I should sit down and think why things are going my way. And I don’t feel I should take a break. Till things are going well, I should keep going.