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This article was first published 12 years ago

'The best special effects of Ra.One happened at Mannat'

Last updated on: October 13, 2011 17:49 IST

Image: Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor in Ra.One. Inset: Anubhav Sinha
Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

In the first part of this interesting conversation with Anubhav Sinha, the director spoke about directing two superstars, Shah Rukh Khan and Rajnikanth.

In this part, Sinha tells Sonil Dedhia how he first met SRK in New Delhi when they were trying to make it big in showbiz. He gives some closer details about SRK, and also talks about the toughest part of shooting Ra.One.

Reports suggest Karan Johar and Tarun Mansukhani directed a portion of Ra.One. Is that true?

Karan Johar directed for a day and a half but Tarun Mansukhani did not direct anything. Tarun did come on the sets for one schedule and I don't want to speak about why was he there. He is a very dear friend of mine and I respect him and his work.

Why did Karan come on board?

It was on my insistence Karan directed the part. Ra.One was shot for 160 days. We were shooting in London and for some logistical reason the shoot had to be extended. We didn't want to cancel it. Initially, Shah Rukh and I had decided to do the shot breakdown on paper and he would shoot in London and I would juggle between the two locations. But we realised that would not be wise.

I asked Shah Rukh if Karan could shoot the two- day schedule and he was gracious enough to do it.

So was Shah Rukh Khan going to direct a part of Ra.One?

Not really direct a part of the film. As I said earlier, I would do the shot division and he would execute it and okay the shot.

'I met SRK for the first time in 1989'

Image: A scene from Ra.One

When was the first time you met Shah Rukh Khan?

The first time I met Shah Rukh was at Pahadganj in New Delhi in 1989. He was already working in television serials. We were standing next to each other, getting something typed. We didn't know each other. He asked for my lighter. After lighting his cigarette, he kept it in his pocket. I asked him to return my lighter and he joked around and gave me my lighter back. (Laughs)

Professionally when was your first meeting with him?

I was assisting Pankaj Parashar. At that time Ketan Mehta was directing Oh Darling Yeh Hai India. Ketan was getting into a tough schedule so he borrowed me from Pankaj Parashar for 15 days. So I met him on the sets for the first time in 1992.

'I got the idea for Ra.One more than five years ago while watching TV'

Image: A scene from Ra.One

Was Arjun Rampal the only choice for the villain? There have been questions on his acting ability.

I don't know why people are sceptical about the film's cast or story.

Arjun Rampal is a National Award winner and no one else could have done the job better.

Did you have a say in the casting of the film?

(Thinks) I don't know how to answer this. The baton is always held by the director. The core team sits down to take the decisions on casting and other aspects of the film but ultimately it has to go through me. I have the final call as I am the director.

It's a big film. What has the toughest part about making it?

I think dealing with the logistics was the toughest part. There were a lot of unknown things that come our way as the project progressed which needed to be incorporated it and it needed a lot of patience and mental stability.

I got the idea for Ra.One more than five years ago while watching TV. I couldn't sleep till I wrote the script. I just knew it was going to be really special. I have definitely aged while doing this film but in a good way. (Laughs)

'Ra.One is not a film, it is an audacious dream'

Image: A scene from Ra.One

Did Shah Rukh Khan always want to produce the film?

Actually, I went to Shah Rukh Khan the producer and not the star. I knew if I could convince him as a producer, I was easily going to get him to do act in the film. When you see the film you will realise that Shah Rukh Khan is the best person in the industry to do the role of G.One in the film.

Did Shah Rukh and you ever expect the film to become so huge?

For us, Ra.One is not a film, it is an audacious dream. We needed to spend a lot of time together. I travelled with him to United States of America and London so many times where we would have long discussions about the movie on the flight.

Today I am 46 and have invested more than five years of my life to the film. On the other hand, Shah Rukh has given his heart and soul to the film which is evidently visible.

The most challenging thing was five years back when I announced that I was making a superhero film with Shah Rukh Khan because I then had to live up to people's expectations.

Is Ra.One worth five years of your life?

I think every day is worth it. I am very happy with the final result and don't regret anything about the last five years. I have been able to know Shah Rukh Khan as a person, which is quite enriching. A lot of people know him as a superstar or a producer but there are a handful of people who know him as a person. I can say that it has been one of my biggest achievements. I also met wonderful people during the shoot. I think I have made the biggest film of India.

'Today, I am content with what I have delivered'

Image: A scene from Ra.One

Shah Rukh Khan recently said that he was worried about Ra.One.

When a big man talks, even the smallest words are over scrutinised. Of course we are all worried but don't read it as a quote unquote with an orchestra playing in the background, read it as a word.

Did you ever feel the pressure of directing superstar Shah Rukh Khan?

When you have Shah Rukh in his most ambitious project, you have enough responsibility on your shoulders. A project like Ra.One requires a lot of patience and mental stability. At times, there was a sense of insecurity that other directors and colleagues had not only finished one, but two to three films and I was still completing mine. But today, I am content with what I have delivered.

How would you define Shah Rukh Khan?

SRK is a fantastic actor. He is an actor who can do a film like Badshah and Chak De! India at the same time. He is a fantastic producer who never said no to anything I asked for. He never interfered with the budget of the film and we didn't have to compromise on anything. The best special effects didn't happen at any studio, it happened at Mannat -- SRK's house. (Laughs)

'SRK's best work is Chak De! India'

Image: A scene from Ra.One

Would you have made Ra.One without Shah Rukh Khan?

No. It wouldn't have made without him, I was certain about that. I don't think I would have had got the right logistical support which I got with him. I never considered anyone else.

Which, according to you, is Shah Rukh Khan's best and worst works?

I think his best work is Chak De! India. The worst is very difficult to answer as he would never deliver a bad film. His worst will still be very good.

Don't miss the third part: 'I would not say Ra.One is an answer to Hollywood'