Another morning’s newspaper. The headline reads – ‘Dabangg trailer opens with a bang. The twitter world going ga-ga about the trailer.’ A quick shower and off I head to meet the debutant director of Indian cinema’s most talked about film releasing this Eid. When I enter Abhinav Kashyap’s just done up office in Andheri, no wonder, I feel that he is sitting there like the cat that got the cream. He comes across as a man who Bollywood knows as Anurag Kashyap‘s brother. “I can’t escape that, can I?” Abhinav questions, and continues, “But it’s good for me when my career is just about to begin.” Cheeky, isn’t he? Come to think of it, Abhinav and Anurag are poles apart in their cinematic takes. Kashyap has just finished eating his lunch and is about to start the interview when I spot an A2 size frame of The Godfather behind his back. “It will soon change in the coming years. We will definitely have our Bollywood ones up there in a few years.” That’s how quirky he can get. Just then his assistant director on the same film offers me something hot or cold. I choose the latter and in minutes, open my fizzy can of Diet Coke. Now understand this: Abhinav Kashyap talks too much. He rarely talks about himself. He doesn’t want to tell you what he already knows or what he just read. He’s not much interested in discussing what he’s already done. He maunders, protracts, divagates through his ideas and never pauses. Mostly, he wants to tell you what he’s thinking. And he’s thinking Dabangg all the way. But that’s it. From there on, Kashyap does not shut up. In part one of the exclusive two part series, in a no holds barred interview, UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent talks to the man in news for all the right reasons, Abhinav Kashyap, on his debut film which is touted to break all records once it opens at the box office this September. The reasons – Salman Khan, Salman Khan, Salman Khan. And then, Kashyap intervenes. He pauses and delivers a line of the day, “Cliché is a cliché because it works. I had read somewhere.”
Twitter never existed till a year and a half back. This whole ‘tweeting’ phenomenon has really caught on now. I personally feel, no other Bollywood star can match the kind of fan following in masses like that of Salman Khan. All what the audiences got was the product which they were sure of, came from Salman’s table. These factors were the driving force which led to the stampede that followed over Dabangg‘s first theatrical trailer.
The ‘Salman Khan way’
Over the years, if you analyze Salman’s career, there are particular kind of roles that people like to watch Salman in, and once we made up our minds that we are going to make a commercial pot-boiler, we thought of going the whole unapologetic way, the Salman Khan way.
Once we made up our minds that we are going to make a commercial pot-boiler, we thought of going the whole unapologetic way, the Salman Khan way.
There were instances in the past where Salman was told that he wasn’t serious about his work, he was known for his continuity jerks in his films, he had different hair styles in the same film, etc. We were very careful with all those facts. Dabangg is Salman’s first film after Maine Pyaar Kiya which is done in one schedule. This was done because he could maintain the same hairstyle. I wanted him to grow a moustache but he couldn’t do it because he was shooting for Veer and there was no time gap between the two films.
Dabangg v/s Wanted
I would be limiting my film if I said that Dabangg takes off from where Wanted left. Yes, it has got all the masala of Wanted but there is much more to Dabangg. That is just one aspect of the film. It’s got far more serious drama than shown in Wanted. Salman’s character kills about fifty people in Wanted but in Dabangg, he hardly kills. It’s more in the masti zone. Chulbul Pandey is more interested in the money than in the killing.
We didn’t start off with a Robinhood concept. It just happened on one day of the shoot that there was a scene where a character asks Salman to introduce himself. So we just put our heads together because we could come up with a name that described Chulbul aptly. The suggestion of ‘Robinhood Pandey’ came from Salman. The name is universal and the people around the world know who he was. Salman doesn’t want to reveal his first name Chulbul in the film. When we edited the film, people started loving the Robinhood name and we thought to stick with it.
Sexy in a Saree – Sonakshi
Oh yes, Sonakshi definitely looks sexy in a saree. She has got that ‘take home to your momma’ type of an appeal. We went through a lot of new faces but Sonakshi was one of the prettiest faces I met at that point in time. The lineage kind of helped me package it well. There is a curiosity when a star child is being launched. Sonakshi is a very good learner. She lost thirty to forty kilos in six to eight months, she did a workshop which we conducted for three months and she was all there, listening and trying. I loved her nose pin and insisted her to keep it. It somehow just fitted her face. There is not too much glamorous stuff I could’ve done with Sonakshi. So I told her, “I just hope people love you in the saree just the way I like.”
We’ve got five blockbuster tracks in the film. The first one is the title track called ‘Hunhun Dabangg‘. Then there is a track which people love right now called ‘Tere Mast Mast Do Nain‘. There is an item number called ‘Munni Badnaam Huyee‘ which is choreographed on Malaika Arora Khan. She plays ‘Munni’ in the film. And there is a typical male party number where people are drinking and all, titled ‘Humko Peeni Hain‘. We’ve packaged all the songs and the film in a manner which would seem fresh to people.
Cliché is a cliché
I don’t know who said that but I read somewhere that ‘Cliché is a cliché because it works’. Dabangg will work. There is a reason why such films do well. It’s very easy to sit in cosy offices and intellectualise the whole thing but if you go out on the streets, you’ll find out the truth. One of my assistants went to a barber shop and saw the promo of Peepli Live playing. He asked the barber – “Tumko kya lagta hai..Nattha marega ya nahin?” The barber got irritated and said, “Marega saala…aur nahin mara toh main maar doonga.” He couldn’t understand why it made the barber angry but it’s getting people to talk about the film.