'Mumbai is the toughest city to shoot a film. The hard part is executing an action sequence in a crowded street accurately. There are people everywhere and all of them are curious to watch the shooting.'
Second unit director Dan Bradley talks about working on Sunny Deol’s Ghayal Once Again.
'Everyone in Hollywood wants Dan Bradley to shoot their car stuff,' Johnny Knoxville is quoted to have said.
And so, Los Angeles-based Dan Bradley has worked in films like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the Bourne movies, Quantum of Solace, among many others.
Now, Sunny Deol wants him to shoot his film Ghayal Once Again.
The Second Unit Director was in India recently to shoot Deol's film, which will be directed by the actor himself. He talks to Sonil Dedhia/ Rediff.com about his India experience and working with Sunny Deol.
The first time you visited India was for the Matt Damon-starrer Bourne Supremacy.
Yes, we shot Bourne Supremacy in Goa.
I had a wonderful experience. I stayed back for five weeks after I finished shooting and travelled to Rajasthan.
I also stayed back after I finished shooting for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
I went to the Kanha National Park (Madhya Pradesh) and was able to see some tigers.
Whatever money I earned from Mission Impossible, I spent on buying some amazing antiques and furniture from a shop in Colaba (in south Mumbai) for my house in Los Angeles.
India has left a big impression on my life.
What was it like shooting for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, in Mumbai?
It was interesting for my curiosity, but from the shooting point of view, it was a nightmare (laughs).
Mumbai is the toughest city to shoot a film.
The hard part is executing an action sequence in a crowded street accurately. There are people everywhere and all of them are curious to watch the shooting. We had a hell of a time shooting Mission Impossible.
At any point there were around 5,000 to 10,000 people, who were ready to stand and watch the shoot the entire day!
There is a car chase sequence (see pictures here) which we had to shoot in the night, on the streets.
As soon as we switched on the lights, people would come from everywhere! I couldn’t see the streets!
This continued for a couple of days. Then I decided to shoot between 2 am and 4.30 am when the crowd, tired out, went home to sleep.
Any places you will be visiting this time round?
I’ve wanted to visit Burma (Myanmar) for a long time, but it never materialised.
This time, after we wrapped up the shooting of Ghayal Once Again, I immediately took off for Burma for a week.
What do you like about India?
I love the people of India. I have travelled across many countries but never come across a country which has so much passion for cinema.
India makes the maximum number of films in various genres and it is fascinating how you do it.
I also love the food. There is so much variety and the flavours are so amazing.
I have been working on Ghayal Once Again for almost three months and I have developed a taste for South Indian food.
I am not much of a fan of vegetarian food, but I love the South Indian vegetarian curries.
After a series of Hollywood blockbusters, what made you choose to work on a Hindi film?
It was purely the opportunity to work in Bollywood.
I like to travel the world and experience things at first hand.
Working on Ghayal Once Again was different from what I have done so far.
I feel honoured to work in Bollywood. I will always be grateful to Sunny (Deol) for giving me the chance to work here.
How did Ghayal Once Again happen?
I was in Los Angeles when I got a call from Sunny. He was in California and asked for a meeting.
We met a couple of days later and spoke at length.
He told me what kind of action sequences he was expecting and how he wanted to make the film, since he is directing it himself.
Did it take time for you to agree?
No, not really. We negotiated the dates, the schedule and the remuneration, and then it was an instant yes from me.
Frankly, when I agreed to be a part of the film, I didn't know what to expect. My curiosity to work in Bollywood got me back to India.
Did you know who Sunny Deol was before you met him?
No, I didn’t know who he was.
Have you seen Ghayal?
Yes, I saw Ghayal and absolutely loved it.
It’s an interesting film and even though it’s more than 20 years old, it doesn’t look dated.
At some places I wondered how they shot all the sequences with the minimal technology available at that time.
What was the brief given to you by Sunny Deol?
Sunny told me that the action in the movie had to look real, with a lot of emotion in it.
This isn’t your regular film where the hero is throwing punches and kicking the bad guys.
Every piece of action has raw emotion behind it.
We did many rehearsals and a lot of planning went in to shooting every action sequence.
Do you have a favourite action scene from the film?
Yes, there is one scene where Sunny is being chased in traffic. Some cars are bouncing around and vehicles stopping within inches of his head when he jumps into an overcrowded local train!
What was the most challenging part of working on this film?
The most challenging thing for me was how to pace the action sequences in the film.
Pacing in Bollywood is completely different from Hollywood.
For example, suddenly we would find a monologue in between an action scene. I was amused watching it.
Then someone explained that in a Hindi film, the monologue is very important, so I was like, okay (laughs).
Ghayal Once Again is one of the most challenging films I have worked on.
What was it like working with Sunny Deol?
I really had a good time working with him. He is a very smart guy, and at the same time, sensitive. He is a man with passion and vision.
He was sure of what he wanted from his cast and crew. But at the same time, he was open-minded and welcomed a lot of my suggestions.
People just love him. He is so popular and humble.
Which is the best action sequence you have done?
The Bourne Supremacy car chase in Moscow is my favourite.
It was the first time any director had given me more than four days to choreograph a car chase sequence. I had 17 days to shoot that sequence and I was, like, this is just amazing and I was celebrating (laughs).
The brief was a two-and-a-half minute car chase. But when I sat and wrote it down, it was a little longer.
I was a little scared that the producer wouldn’t approve it, but to my surprise, they approved it.
It was impossible to shoot in Moscow, but luckily the final product came out just mind blowing.
It has been reviewed as one of the most exciting car chase sequences in Hollywood films.