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When Bachchans and Viveik came together

IndiaFM News Bureau

Posted: May 25, 2007 at 0952 hrs IST

A mammoth film is coming your way in the form of Shootout at Lokhandwala. Based on ‘true rumors’ of a real life incident, this film looks to be promising in terms of its realism, cast and execution. Director Apoorva Lakhia tells why people should watch the film.

Shootout seems like a difficult film to shoot considering its mammoth star cast.

It wasn’t difficult to shoot because we did our pre-production for over a year and we were much planned. In fact I finished the film in 59 days. My team is very efficient and we spent a lot of time planning it so that we wouldn’t have a problem later because if we messed up somewhere it would be very difficult to get the combination dates again.

Who do you think will stand out from the crowd?

I think everyone has equal opportunities and equal roles. We have tried very hard to give each actor a beginning, a middle and an end but I think in my perspective Tusshar will stand out mainly because he has never done a film like this before.

Why do you say that?

Because Tusshar is a chocolate boy. He has never done an anti-hero role. He has got a pretty violent role based on a real-life character. He is a sharpshooter who loses his temper at any given moment. The real person (Dilip Buwa) on whom his character is based, once shot two girls who were laughing at a bus stand in Bhandup just because they were laughing. Since Tusshar has never done a role like this, people will stand up and notice his acting capabilities.

Do you think this is the film Vivek Oberoi’s sagging career has been looking out for?

I cannot be judgmental on that. All I can say is that he has done a fantastic job. He is very talented and is one of the better actors of the country.

Does his role draw parallels to what he had done in his debut Company?

I don’t know if you can compare both the roles. Obviously they are underworld oriented but in Company his character was pretty much a vulnerable character that does bad things but eventually becomes good in the second half. In my film he is an out and out bad guy.

Whose idea was it to rope in Amrita Singh for the role of Maya Dolas’ (Vivek Oberoi) mother?

It was both Sanjay Gupta’s and mine. Sanjay spoke to her first but she really wasn’t convinced. I went to her house and chatted with her and she finally agreed to do to.

Her statement did create a controversy as well with Dolas’ mother filming a lawsuit against your film?

Yes, it did but the matter is solved. People must understand that my film is based on a true event but it is a fictionalized version of a true story. It’s neither a documentary nor a docu-feature. We never said that we are making a true story. It’s based on true events and we have fictionalized it for the sake of better cinema. Amrita was talking about her character and it was misinterpreted. We are sorry to Maya’s mother if she got offended by it but we don’t mean anything personal against her.

Was the film actually shot in Lokhandwala?

We were going to shoot the whole film at the Swati building in Lokhandwala where the actual incident happened in 1991. However we couldn’t do that so we erected a set worth 50 lakhs in Filmcity which had 7 building and roads and trees and made it look exactly like how Swati building was in 1991. We shot certain parts in the Dahisar market where it was easier for us to shoot.

Have you stuck to the realistic treatment for the film or glamorised it for cinematic effect?

I haven’t glamorised it but have worked on the look. The treatment of story-telling is realistic and there are no gizmos.

Are the character names used in the film same as that of the people involved in the original incident?

Not full names – only their first names. The cops names have been changed.

Is the then encounter head, Aftab Ahmed Khan, playing a role in the film?

He is playing Krishnamurthy who was originally Ramamurthy, Khan’s boss at that time. He gave him the go ahead to go for the operation.

Pooja Bedi had an issue that you were using her character in the film played by Rakhi Sawant.

Not at all! Pooja is a very good friend of mine and we went to the same school. There were no issues at all. A reporter was interviewing Pooja when the shootout had taken place at Lokhandwala. Here we have Rakhi Sawant who is playing Rakhi Sawant. She is not playing Pooja Bedi.

Rakhi is acting in the film and Mika has sung a song for the film too. Didn’t they have any issues?

They are all professionals. There’s Amitabh, Abhishek and Viveik in my film too. They all had problems but nothing unwanted happened on the sets. They do not get into politics as they are actors. We do not tell them to sign a film to become friends.

Reportedly Sanjay Gupta was upset with Neha Dhupia and vowed never to work with her again. What was your equation with her in the film?

My equation with Neha is fantastic. I have no problems with her and we will definitely work together in the future. As far as the two are concerned, there was some communication gap between them.

Arbaaz Khan claims he plays a funny character in the film but the trailers give an impression that he is a no-nonsense cop?

He is a no nonsense cop who took up a job in the police department for the betterment of his life and his family’s life. So we have given him a very cynical look towards the police department.

You began as a director with a rural based film (Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost), then moved into a slick and stylish film based in Bangkok (Ek Ajnabee) and now you are back into the alleys of Mumbai. Is it the subject that drives you or your creative restlessness which makes you do diverse films?

As far as I am concerned, I will do any film at any place in any language if it excites me. I don’t have a genre I want to follow. People thought my first film Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost was a very stupid idea about a television coming into a village but I was very passionate about the script. It didn’t do well at all and sank at the box-office. Then I told people I wanted to make Man on Fire in Hindi because I wanted Amitabh Bachchan to be an action hero. He was my hero ever since childhood. As for this film I found it very interesting when I heard the one line story so I did it. Whenever I find anything interesting I will do it.

In Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday, we saw that he was not judgmental to either religion. Is that what we will see in Shootout at Lokhandwala where Maya Dolas and his gang have a reason to do whatever they are doing?

We have been much focused as far as the incident is concerned. We have done a lot of research from the police files and FIRs. Whatever real life incidents took place has been marked with the time and location. What is fictionalized is the part when the cops went into the building because we do not know what really happened. We have not been judgmental about anyone on why they did, what they did and who is the hero or villain. I guess that is left for the audience to decide.


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