Game director: I just wanted to make a good film
Last Friday's release Game may not have opened to good reviews. But director Abhinay Deo hasn't lost all hope yet. His next film Delhi Belly, produced by Aamir Khan, will be out in a couple of months.
Deo talks to Sonil Dedhia about his movies, and tells us more about himself.
The whodunit genre has always been a popular genre but we haven't seen much of that recently. What inspired you to take it up?
Thrillers are difficult to make and write. And producers don't opt for such kind of films as the repeat value is less. But when Excel Entertainment offered Game to me, I knew I was in safe hands.
Besides, detective stories have always interested me. I like the way a story is told in this genre. I'm a huge fan of murder mysteries. I like Alfred Hitchcock and Sherlock Holmes.
Tell us about yourself.
My parents Ramesh Deo, Seema Deo and brother Ajinkya Deo are from the film fraternity. I studied architecture and worked as one for some time.
In 1993, I joined the advertising world. Piyush Pandey is my guru.
I started my own production company Ramesh Deo productions in 2000, and have made 450 ad films since then.
A lot of ad directors are trying their hand at Bollywood. Is there some kind of trend?
I really hope so. Advertising directors are technically savvy. So there should be more advertising people making or writing films. I'd like to see film directors making ad films too.
Image: A scene from Game. Inset: Abhinay Deo
'I said no to Aamir Khan for Delhi Belly'
Was it a planned decision to enter films?
I don't think I've planned anything. I'm very passionate about filmmaking.
Three years ago, I decided that it was time tell a story in a longer format. A film for me is like 100 ads put together. So I wasn't doing anything different.
I never guessed that my first film would be a thriller. I just wanted to make a good film and offer something fresh and interesting.
How did Game happen?
I approached Excel Entertainment and gave them a story. When we started scripting it, the story met with a roadblock. In the meantime, Excel offered me Game. I loved the concept and instantly agreed to direct it.
Was Game offered to you before Delhi Belly?
It's a little complicated. I had already signed up with Excel for the story that I had offered them. While we were scripting it, Aamir Khan offered me Delhi Belly. I said no to Aamir Khan, as I was committed to my story.
But as I mentioned earlier, the script met with a roadblock. Then Game was offered to me. While that was in pre-production, Aamir asked me whether I was still interested. So I said yes.
Was Abhishek Bachchan your first choice for Game?
A good script with good characterizations point out to certain actors. In our script, it was a direct calling for Abhishek.
Neil Menon's character needed someone cool and witty, someone with panache. Abhishek fit perfectly. So was the case with the other actors.
Image: A scene from Game
'I wanted Aishwarya to do a role in the film'
Abhishek Bachchan is going through a rough patch in his career. Did that bother you?
No, not at all. I don't understand what a rough patch means because at the end of the day, all of us have our good and bad days. I don't think I can judge him from what he has done in the past. For me, Abhishek is a fine actor and one of most co-operative guys I have ever worked with.
Apparently, Sarah Jane Dias's role was first offered to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan?
I wanted Aishwarya to do another role in the film. I approached her the same time as I had approached Abhishek. But she wanted Sarah Jane Dias's role. Before the talks could go any further, the dates became a problem. So it did not happen.
Have you worked with Aamir Khan or Abhishek Bachchan before?
No. I have directed Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar to name a few, in my advertisements.
Did your advertising background make it easier to approach the stars?
The approach is easier because the actors know your work and are aware of you. But finally, it depends on the script and whether the stars are convinced about it.
Image: A scene from Game
'I never had problems with Aamir'
You made Farhan Akhtar write the dialogues for the film. Was it a conscious decision?
Yes. Farhan is a spectacular writer. I've been a huge fan since Dil Chahta Hai. The dialogues of Dil Chahta Hai were spectacular. He has the flair to write normal stuff, not floral stuff.
There are rumours of a rift between Aamir and you over Delhi Belly.
I had fun directing both the films. Just like Excel Entertainment, I never had problems with Aamir. He is an incredible person, who has been often mistaken or accused of things he doesn't do. He's a perfectionist. He's gone out of his way with the production work of Delhi Belly. This speculation will end once we start the promotions for the movie.
But Delhi Belly has been in the making for quite a while now.
I'd been shooting almost simultaneously for both the films. We have put in a lot of effort in both the films. A lot of people have told me that your debut film should have been Delhi Belly, not Game. For me, it doesn't matter.
Has advertising taken a backseat?
Yes. I haven't made any ad in the last three years. Now, I'm dying to make a good ad.
Image: A scene from Game