Please don’t call me a celebrity,” says director Sriram Raghavan. The maker of last year’s sleeper hit Johnny Gaddar is even dressed inconspicuously. Raghavan, who made the film with a line of newcomers, including Neil Nitin Mukesh, after working with stars like Saif Ali Khan and Urmila Matondkar in his debut Ek Hasina Thi, however, has settled for bigger names for his next film — Aishwarya Rai and John Abraham.
“This film will be realistic, despite the stars, and the project is on,” says Raghavan, clearing speculation that the movie has been stalled indefinitely. “Though I had blocked the actors’ dates, I did not start shooting since I was not happy with certain parts of the script. Now I’m ready and hope to get their dates once again.”
Despite the “good days in the Hindi film industry”, Raghavan does have a grouse: “We have a scarcity of interesting, original scripts. It takes longer to write than to make films. I could make more films, if I had got good ready scripts.”
Apart from the Rai-Abraham starrer by Ramesh Sippy’s production house, Raghavan is slated to make a movie for Saif’s Illuminati Films early next year. “This one will be a thriller and Saif will play the protagonist,” says Raghavan. “Though I am fond of thrillers, I don’t want to be typecast with the genre. The one with John and Aishwarya anyway is not a thriller.”
And his favourite thrillers? “Everything from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho to Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom has inspired me,” he says. Raghavan, an FTII graduate, had made a thriller (in video format) on Raman Raghav, a psychopathic serial killer in Mumbai, which enthused Ram Gopal Varma to produce his debut feature, Ek Hasina Thi.