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'We have to imagine beyond a point and create a world in Mohenjo Daro'

By Patcy N
Last updated on: August 12, 2016 10:05 IST
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'After the trailer was out, people felt it did not look like ancient India, but how much you do know about Mohenjo Daro? We have found certain coins and objects like a dancing girl, a bearded man... it is difficult to create a world based that only.' 

'There are certain things that you have to imagine.'

Mohenjo Daro actor Nitish Bhardwaj defends his film.

IMAGE: Nitish Bhardwaj in Mohenjo Daro.

The man we all know as Krishna will play uncle to Hrithik Roshan in Mohenjo Daro.

Nitish Bhardwaj returns to the limelight in Ashutosh Gowariker's new film, where he plays an indigo farmer.

In a telephonic chat with Patcy N/ Rediff.com, Nitish defends Gowariker's depiction of ancient India, including Hrithik Roshan's golden hair in the film, and much more.

My dear friend Ashutosh Gowariker called me up one day and asked me to come down to Bhuj, as he had an interesting role for me. So I flew down to Bhuj. He told me about the role and gave me the script as well. I liked it and said yes.

The shooting was already in progress when I joined because my character Durjan comes in later in the film. 

Durjan is mysterious and yet, emotional. He brings up Hrithik, who is an orphan boy. 

Since I had to play Hrithik's uncle, I had to look older -- maybe 55-60 years old. So I worked on myself. Since I play a farmer, I had to look tanned. So all that makeup was needed. 

My character was also undernourished, so I had to lose weight, and follow a diet regime.

I had to work on speech, as my regular speech is clear and precise. My Hindi is very chaste. I had to change all that. 


'Hrithik broke the ice by telling me that he saw me on Mahabharat when he was in school'

IMAGE: Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde in Mohenjo Daro.

Working with Hrithik was a great experience because he is extremely professional. If I needed an extra rehearsal, he would happily do it. He wouldn't ask me to do it with an assistant. He is very cooperative, warm, courteous and respectful. 

Hrithik broke the ice by telling me that he saw me on Mahabharat when he was in school. 

Hrithik knows his camera angles and lenses, as he has been his father's assistant. When I worked with BR Chopra (in Mahabharat), I knew the camera angles as well, and would act accordingly. I do that even now. 

It is nice to work with an actor who comes prepared and knows the techniques. We would discuss the scenes before we shot them, so that we could enhance them. He was always eager to learn.


'Ashu has not changed at all'

IMAGE: Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde and Ashutosh Gowarikar. Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar.

I have known Ashutosh from 1985, when we were both nobodies. We were a part of a group of strugglers, which included Makrand Deshpande. Our guide was the late Ravi Baswani. We would hang out at his place in the evening.

Irrfan Khan joined the group later because of which I casted him in my serial Geeta Rhasaya (the serial was produced and directed by Bhardwaj). 

Ravi Baswani brought me from Marathi theatre, which I was doing with Sai Paranjpe, to Hindi theatre. He would give me literature to read so that I would get a stronghold in the language. 

Even though I have known Ashu for such a long time, this is the first time I am working with him. I am glad to say Ashu has not changed at all. He is still down-to-earth. We would chat about the old times whenever we had free time on the sets. Both of us are avid readers and so we would discuss a lot of history on the sets. 

He is one of the finest directors we have. He has a great understanding of drama and cinema as a technique. He is a meticulous, methodical person. He loves to do his research well, there are no loose ends. You can have your queries but he will have an answer for everything.


'How much you do know about Mohenjo Daro?'

 

IMAGE: Hrithik Roshan in Mohenjo Daro.

After the trailer was out, people felt it did not look like ancient India, but how much you do know about Mohenjo Daro? The information is very little, like the town planning that we found in the ruins in places like Pakistan, Lothal and Dholavira. We have found certain coins and objects like a dancing girl, a bearded man... it is difficult to create a world based that only.

If you see the songs, Chaani's (Pooja Hegde) entry is in a great bath. The Great Bath exists in Mohenjo Daro and Harrappa, that structure exists. 

There are certain things that you have to imagine, like costumes and jewellery. But if you see the bust of dancing girl, her hands are full of bangles. 

Some are saying that people did not wear clothes at that time. But I don't agree with that. The bust of the bearded man has a floral printed robe on his body, which means there were clothes. We have to imagine beyond a point and create a world. Ashu has added his vision. 

Hrithik's hair is golden for a reason. He plays a farmer in the film. If you go to Madhya Pradesh, the Kutch parts of Gujarat or Rajasthan, the nomads have similar bleached hair even today because of the strong sun. The hair loses its pigmentation under the sun. 

We shot the film primarily in Bhuj and the studios in Mumbai. We started in February 2015 and wrapped in a year. 

More on Nitish Bhardwaj: 'I DID NOT want to play Krishna in Mahabharat'

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Patcy N / Rediff.com in Mumbai
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