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This article was first published 12 years ago

'Players will blow your mind away'

Last updated on: January 3, 2012 18:22 IST

Image: Bipasha Basu. Inset: Abbas-Mustan
Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

The Men in White are back doing what they do best.

Director duo Abbas-Mustan is ready to launch their new thriller, Players, an official remake of the Hollywood film The Italian Job.

Dressed in their traditional white shirts and trousers, Abbas-Mustan chat with Sonil Dedhia over a cup of tea about why they chose to do a remake, their penchant for thrillers, and how they complement each other.

Why a remake of The Italian Job?

Abbas: We have seen both versions of The Italian Job (1969 and 2003), and we were really impressed by it. When Viacom 18 approached us, we were really happy about directing the film.

It's a difficult film to shoot and we are going to present something different. Every film that we make, we try making it bigger and better than our previous film.

Mustan: We sat with our writers Rohit Jugraj and Sudip Sharma and we discussed whether we would be able to adapt it in Bollywood. When we were confident we could, we went ahead with it.

The Italian Job was made way back and so we had to keep in mind the technology that we would have to use in making our movie. We kept that in mind while executing our script and made sure that it would reflect in the visuals as well. 

'Players is our best work to date'

Image: A scene from Players

How different is Players from the Hollywood films?

Abbas: We have tried to keep the basic flavour intact. The gold heist, the Mini Cooper sequence and all the actors double-crossing each other... Even if people have seen The Italian Job, they are surely going to see something different in Players.

Mustan: 30 to 40 percent of the movie is the same, but at the same time we have adapted the movie keeping in mind the Indian audience. We have a love triangle, whereas in the Hollywood flick there was only one lead actress.

We like to surprise our audiences and I am sure Players will blow your mind away. It's our best work to date.

You will have shot the movie at some unexplored locations...

Abbas: Our film is like a visual treat for the audience. It has been shot almost all over the world. Right from New Zealand to Russia to the North Pole... it was an amazing experience.

Mustan: We want to present audiences something they have never seen before. Players is the first Bollywood film to be shot in the North Pole. I don't think a lot of Hollywood films have been shot there.

'Players will be on of the best action films of Abhishek's career'

Image: A scene from Players

You have cast Abhishek Bachchan for the first time in your film. Any particular reason for that?

Abbas: We were really impressed with his debut film Refugee and always wanted to work with him. Abhishek is a very dedicated actor and on the sets, he is a complete director's actor. We are confident that it will be one of the best action films of his career.

But he hasn't had a good run at the box office.

Mustan: So many times it happens that a film doesn't do well at the box office. When we signed Abhishek he was working with the best of directors in the industry. All the films seemed promising, but it is unfortunate that they didn't do well. 

We are confident about Abhishek and I am sure he has done a fantastic job.

Bobby Deol has become a regular feature in your film...

Mustan: He is a very humble person. I think he is one of the most underrated actors in Bollywood. For us, he is like family and we have always got the best out of him. In Players, too, he will take the audience by surprise.

'Bipasha looks hot in the bikini'

Image: A scene from Players

Bipasha Basu started her acting career with your film Ajnabee in 2001. How was it working with her this time round?

Mustan: She is a thorough professional and does everything with conviction. I remember we had to go to Russia for some urgent work for Players and we asked her to listen to the narration. As soon as we came back, she was ready to be part of the film.

She is also seen wearing a bikini in the film.

Abbas: She is a very mature actress and when we told her about the bikini scene she immediately agreed to it.

She has worked really hard on her looks. She took three months to get into the best shape. Bipasha looks hot in the bikini.

'We will continue making thriller films'

Image: A scene from Players

As directors, are you comfortable making only thriller films?

Abbas: We think like the audience. As kids we would see a particular movie over and over again because they were all wholesome entertainers.

We believe that a story should have a bit of everything, only then will the viewers be on the edge of their seats and sit through the film. Once the story is predictable, the essence of the film is gone.

Mustan: We only do things that we are confident about. Players involves a lot of action sequences. It has got more twists and turns than you can imagine. There are some high-adrenaline stunts and some of the most exciting action sequences.

Would you make an out-and-out comedy or a romantic film?

Abbas: The audience expects and accepts thriller films from us. Why would someone watch a comedy film from us when there are so many expert directors who make comedy films?

Mustan: We know and specialise in making thriller films and we will continue to do that.


'Our films are very glossy and glamorous'

Image: Sonam Kapoor and Neil Nitin Mukesh in Players

The Mini Cooper car sequence has been the most talked-about scene in the film...

Mustan: We needed three Mini Coopers and used the same model that was used in the Hollywood films.

We were shooting in New Zealand and there were 23 Mini Coopers available in the whole of New Zealand. We sourced nine cars, which took us almost five months. We have used three cars of different colours in the film. The rest of the cars were on standby.

Abbas: We would've loved to have three white Mini Coopers in Players. Unfortunately, we couldn't find them (Laughs).

What is your association with the colour white?

Abbas: Our school uniform was completely white -- off-white trousers and white shirt -- and since then it has become a habit to wear white.

Mustan: We like bright things. Our films are very glossy and glamorous, and larger than life.

'We do not want to make a conscious effort to make sequels'

Image: A scene from Players

How do you complement each other?

Abbas: There are a lot of times when we have different things in mind. We sit together and spend a lot of time discussing it and finalise what we both like.

Mustan: We have been working together for more than 20 years now and it has become like a routine. It is very easy to work with Abbasbhai. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses. Not only the two of us but our brother Hussain, who has been the editor on all our films, is one of the important persons in our success.

What is that one thing that you like about each other?

Abbas: He is a very frank person. He speaks his heart out and if he doesn't like certain things, he will straight away come and tell me. I really love his sincerity and his commitment to work.

Mustan: Abbasbhai has complete control over all the actors. As we make multi-star films, it is difficult to keep the cast under check. With Abbas on the sets, he easily manages the situation. He can handle everyone with ease. I don't think I can do that.

You are making Race-2. Are there other films of yours of which you would like to make a sequel?

Abbas: We do not want to make a conscious effort to make sequels. If we get the right script and if we think we can do justice to the script and the brand, only then will we go ahead with it.