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The Rediff Interview / Sanjay Gadhvi, Director
Dhoom 2 is like Amar Akbar Anthony
November 22, 2006
Director Sanjay Gadhvi is confident about Dhoom 2, hitting theatres this Friday.
In the second part of a conversation with Komal Mehta, the director talks about Dhoom 3, and his departure from Yash Raj Films. Excerpts:
Don't miss: Part I: Choosing Hrithik over SRK for Dhoom
What do you have to say to people who say Dhoom is hugely inspired from movies like Torque, The Fast And The Furious and Biker Boyz?
I think they should go and see those movies again because they are just English films with cars or bikes. The Dhoom movies aren't inspired by them, but rather follow the formula of Lethal Weapon. That's the closest comparison you have, where Mel Gibson is funny and Danny Glover is serious, and both are cops who chase the bad guys.
My favourite film is Amar Akbar Anthony, and I think Dhoom has a lot to do with that movie.
Because you see it as a total masala Manmohan Desai kind of movie?
Yes, it's a potboiler. It's a complete masala film. It has what Manmohan Desai used to call 'an item' -- not to be confused with an item number!
He coined the term 'item,' and said one item, or highlight, had to appear every nine minutes -- because a single reel of film lasts about nine minutes. When you lean back and watch the film, an item makes you sit up and take notice. So a drunk Amitabh Bachchan in front of the mirror putting band aid is an item, Amitabh and Vinod Khanna having a fight is an item, My name is Anthony Gonsalves is an item, Anhonee ko honee karde is an item, etc.
We followed the same formula, but decided that in Dhoom every six minutes, we needed a highlight. In the original, John's introduction is a highlight, Esha Deol's entry in the movie is a highlight, her re-entry on the water scooter is a highlight, each robbery, each chase, and each song is a highlight. So we had something coming every six minutes.
Why were bikes so central to the first Dhoom?
My reason for having bikes instead of cars was the fact that there is more thrill in a motorcycle. There is more danger, more of the actor is visible and there is a kind of romance in a motorcycle because I think every youngster will remember taking a bike out and asking a girl if she'd like to ride with him. Finally, motorcycles in our country are not so much for leisure as a mode of transport.
A farmer in Punjab has four big cars and SUVs, but will still take a Bullet to the fields. When he sees a bike movie, he can identify with it. So even if a movie's super slick and western or 'Hollywoody' in nature, he'll see the bike and relate to it.
How much of Dhoom is Aditya Chopra and how much is you?
When you have Aditya Chopra as producer, you would be stupid if you do not involve him in your script because he has one of the sharpest screenplay minds that I've known. He comes up with great ideas. And he gives you the right to reject his stuff.
It's not like he puts a gun to your head and says that I'm the producer and you better make this movie. He takes on directors who have the strength of character to say no to him. I think everyone -- Kunal Kohli, Shaad Ali, Siddharth Anand, Arjun Sablok, Shimit Amin -- who works with him would say he gives us the freedom to say no to him.
I take suggestions from my actors -- Hrithik has suggested a screenplay moment, Ash has sometimes suggested changes, Abhishek suggested something, my cameraman suggested something, choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant gave me the idea for a prop in the film. So it's teamwork.
How is D2 similar to Dhoom, and what makes it different?
Dhoom's basic formula -- cops and robbers, a thief who pulls of daring robberies, and the case coming to ACP Jai Dixit, who would plot to catch the thief, and that plan would either succeed or not succeed. That formula remains the same, but there are different characters and different scenes. It's a different story and there is no way anyone in the audience can predict what is going to happen.
We were very clear about the fact that we would only shoot Dhoom 2 after we had a script good enough to be a film even without Dhoom 1. The only advantage is that we didn't have to waste screen-time establishing Uday and Abhishek's characters.
Dhoom was a Rs 10-11 crore movie and this is Rs 35 crores. Then we had only Mumbai and Goa, and now it's Mumbai, Namibia, South Africa, Brazil and stuff like that. You have Hrithik and you have the budget to take the story to international locations and make it more exotic. So that's different. But the fast-paced editing, the background music, some of the theme music, Uday and Abhishek -- they're all the same.
After this film, you're branching away from Yash Raj films?
Yes because I like the thrill and the challenge of this business. I'm a filmmaker because I can't stand monotony; it's the unpredictability of showbiz that I like. And somewhere down the line in Yash Raj, everything is very safe and predictable. You get the best of facilities, but sometimes, you just sometime want to have a crisis.
When you're looking to enjoy your filmmaking, you are looking for different types of experiences. Adi and me are the best of colleagues, I've the greatest regard for him and he wishes me well. He gave me the option of turning producer but that's not me. If I remain here, I'll obviously be on a one film at a time contract, I presume, because at this stage I don't think you'll sign a three-film contract. I'd also deprive a young kid getting a three-film contract with Yash Raj films.
I'm moving out with their blessings and good wishes. I've given them three films and all are hits. (laughs and corrects himself) Two films and they are both hits. Let's not jump the gun here! Dhoom 2 is yet to be released.
What about the rumours about Dhoom 3?
There are reports of you making an action film with Akshay Kumar...
I don't know what my next film is going to be. I haven't looked into a script or story idea, and if I don't have a script I don't know who will act in it. It could be Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Hrithik, SRK, whoever. Will the dates work out? Will that person be inclined to work with me? So it's just all speculation again.
Don't miss: Part I: Choosing Hrithik over SRK for Dhoom