Rohit Shetty in a Bollywood Hungama exclusive with Content Head Broadband Faridoon Shahryar on the sets of Golmaal Again in Hyderabad spoke his heart out on his style of filmmaking and why it’s important to give importance to people in general and the film crew in particular. Rohit speaks about why he’s not in favour of over publicising a film. He also talks about the Singham sequel and this was at the time when the reports of Sunny Deol helming the next Singham had still not come out.
Rohit it has been a long journey. How does it feel to have come so far with such an amazing success ratio?
It feels great! It’s like a dream. When I started making Golmaal, it was just to save my career. My first film had not done well and then the script came and then thanks to Ajay that he said let’s do this film and he said yes to the film. It was a good script and we knew that it was a comedy film and it will reach a point and I’ll be saved. We never knew that it will become a CULT film. Now when I say I am making Golmaal it feels like as if it’s their (audience) film. It’s like they have the right. So yes it’s like a dream.
We met in a restaurant for Golmaal 11 years back. You have always given importance to your writers. Neeraj Vora wrote the dialogues for the first film!
Yes he had done the story, screenplay and dialogues for the film.
A very fascinating thing about you is that the way you involve your team! Everyone gets credited for their work, what makes so secure as a film-maker.
I am not insecure, I know my work. I know my job and to which audience I am catering. So that’s why there is no insecurity. There is no nervousness at all even for failure ki agar nahi challli toh mehnat karenge aur dussri banayge. I think maybe that’s why I have been so successful. There is such a big force standing behind me, people have not changed. Many of my technicians have been there with me for the past 13-14 years, maybe even more. Some are there with me since I was an assistant. So they have played a very important part in my success. If I don’t give them credit I think it will be wrong on my part. I won’t be able to face myself. No director can take the entire credit as there are so many people involved in making a film. Be it story writer, art department or action team. There are 400 technicians and everyone should get credit. I can’t do it alone.
One question that everyone is going to ask you is that iss golmaal meh alag kya hai?
It’s not different it’s bigger. It’ll be cliché of me to say its better but it’s much bigger. One thing that we have kept in mind is that when a Golmaal audience comes to see a film, they will come with expectations and they will have few things in their minds. Yeh characters toh honge hee hassi mazak aur gaana toh hoga hee. I can guarantee that all those things are there. Now how much they like or not is a different story. There are some films that you want the audience to see. During Chennai Express I had that feeling; during Singham I had that feeling, during Golmaal 3 as well. I am getting that feeling for this one too. So I am very happy about that. On the particular Friday that it releases, I’ll be nervous. But somewhere down the line I want everyone to see this film.
I saw Golmaal 3 in my home town Aligarh jahan entertainment ke madhyam kam hai. How important is it for you that you bring certain amount of happiness in the lives of people jinke liye cinema ek bahut bada source of escape and entertainment hai?
It’s the most important thing for me at least, especially where a very few commercial films are made now. People are scared I don’t know why. For me that smile is very important, whether it’s a small town or whether it’s a single screen. Many people have told me when your films come even multiplexes have single screen atmosphere. And that is very important for me because I make films for that, I want people to be happy. It’s not about the awards that I will get or that I will change cinema. I just want them to be happy when they come out. For 2 and half hours I want them to forget about all their stress.
You give a lot importance to people in general, you have a one on one approach with common man how important is that for you?
What happens is that many directors and actors now a days have forgotten ki humari rozi rotti kya hai! It is our audience. We need to respect them and we need to give them what they want. If they are no there we won’t be there. Aap kitne bhi bade star ho ya kitne bhi bade director ho ultimately it’s your audience. It is our duty that we make them happy, and it is our duty that we give them importance. Whenever I am at a public event and I just answer 3-4 questions and I leave, somewhere down the line I will dishearten them. If I want them to make feel special I will have to make them feel special. If I want them to love I will have to love them. If I want them to respect me I would have to respect them. I make family films! If a middle class man comes to see it who has a 35000 salary and he is coming with his wife and 2 kids and is spending 4000 in a multiplex, that means he is giving 10 percent of his salary to me! That’s my job to give him everything. Sometimes I’ll be successful, sometimes I’ll fail. All I am saying is that honesty has to be there. That’s what I do and that’s what I am trying to do.
You share your birthday with Aamir Khan, both of you are coming this Diwali.
For what I am is that these are two different genre films. I am seeing the trailers of Secret Superstar and I think it’s going to be a great film. Not a good film but a great film. Golmaal is an entertainer, log aayenge dekhenge fir log satellite pe dekhenge. We faced a similar situation when Fashion and Golmaal Returns had come which is again a totally different genre but both the films did well. Na Ajay controversial hai na Aamir toh sab smooth sailing hoga. Somewhere even the media knows that and that’s why the media is not making a war about it, so that’s why I am happy ki peacefully sab nikal jayega. It’s going to be a great film as Aamir is involved, you can make out from the promo.
It also depends upon the word of mouth!
And it’s a different film all together a different franchise, a very big franchise and that a pressure on me. Now that the film is ready we know that people will come with a perception and expectation but I feel Golmaal Again is better than Golmaal Returns and Golmaal 3 this time. And I hope that the audience also feels the same.
I remember jab Bol Bachchan had come you had told that the first promo will decide whether the film will do well or not!
That is when the audience will watch your film or not. Everyone is eating the same grains. You can’t fool them. I find articles and other shenanigans really funny. We should do it what the old school way was, posters, trailers then songs. People are not realizing that they are spending Rs. 25 crores in publicity which increases recovery cost to Rs. 50 crores. And that Rs. 50 crores is the pressure built up on the director, because that has nothing to do with the content of the film. Like a small film for e.g. which is made of Rs. 5-6 crores but he has to publicize it for Rs. 10-15 crores more and that’s an added pressure on a small film. That should be a norm for a big film too. I put my foot down and I told everyone that I will not publicize Singham Returns, I will only do a 28 days promotion. Somebody has to take the risk. And if you see Singham Returns promotions was exactly just 28 days, and it was the highest opener. And the film had only 2 songs that also we shot in the end. I don’t want to spend on promotion as a producer.
Last question, everyone associates you and Ajay Devgn with Singham. When should we expect the next one?
I want to make it. I am just waiting for the right story, we are working on it. Definitely I WILL MAKE SINGHAM. It’s a very good franchise and it’s totally different from Golmaal. If it would have been a comedy franchise I would have been bored of it. And that film gave us a lot of respect. Even that became a cult film. It’s been so many years but still when you see an honest cop he is been referred as Singham. So obviously we’ll make a Singham again. But at present there is no story as such. I want to make a Singham and I will be making a Singham again.
You had some wonderful Marathi actors in Singham Returns that added a lot of value to the context of the film.
I think I had 17-18 marathi actors in Singham 1 and in Singham 2 also. They are very simple; they are not like hum stars hai and all that. Whenever I shoot with them it’s nice. Bahut saadhgi hai unmeh.
What are you doing next?
We are planning a film with Ranveer and that is like mid-May or August or maybe June I think. He is still working on 2-3 films but again that’s an action film. It is going to start in mid-May.