He is a 'Force' to reckon with when it comes to the business of movie-making. After all, his company has given us blockbuster entertainers such as Aankhen, Waqt- A Race Against Time, Namastey London and Singh Is Kinng. He is none other than Vipul Amrutlal Shah. Vipul is now busy promoting his latest flick Force which stars John Abraham and Genelia. In an exclusive chat with Bollywood Hungama's Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Vipul talks about why and how he decided to remake the Tamil blockbuster Kaakha Kaakha as Force.
Remakes of South Indian films are currently the flavour of the season, how and why did you decide on remaking Kaakha Kaakha?
The decision on remaking Kaakha Kaakha is not because there is a trend of remakes going on. In fact I had purchased the rights of Kaakha Kaakha more than 2 years ago when neither Ready, Bodyguard or Singham were in pipeline. I saw the film and I felt that there is a tremendous potential for a remake. The film has the perfect combination of romance and action and that's why we decided to remake the film in Hindi as Force. It's a lucky coincidence that remakes are doing well now and we hope the audience likes Force as well.
Your banner has generally made light hearted, wholesome, family entertainers. How come a violent action flick this time around?
That's not entirely true as Aankhen was my first film and that was a thriller. Besides as a filmmaker I have always tried to attempt different genres. Even London Dreams had a few dark moments in the second half. What I liked about Force is that it's a full on masala film. There is action in the film but there is also a beautiful love story.
Didn't you feel like directing the film yourself? How did Nishikant Kamat come on board as director?
The thought of directing it never really crossed my mind as I was neck-deep busy with London Dreams and Action Replayy and I wanted to take a break. After I bought the rights of the film, I showed it to John as I knew he was looking to do an action film at that point of time. He loved the film and he came up with Nishikant's name. It was a great coincidence as I know Nishi for the last 10-15 years and he is a friend. In fact I had signed Nishikant to do a film for me immediately after Dombivili Fast but something or the other happened and we didn't get the right subject to start work on. When John suggested his name, I was more than happy to have him as I knew that he is a hard hitting director who can do full justice to a film like Force.
If you look at John's career, after Jism all his solo lead films (Karam, No Smoking, Aashayein, Jhootha Hi Sahi) have all bombed at the Box Office. Doesn't that bother you?
Some of the films like Aashayein or No Smoking were not your typical mass commercial films. Besides every actor delivers hits and flops. The question is whether he is capable of delivering a big hit. I've always loved John whenever he has done action be it in Dhoom or Zinda or New York. In that sense, I thought this will be a perfect film for him. To be honest he has done some amazing stunts in the film and I am sure people will call him 'Action Abraham' after Force.
Trade analysts have time and again asked filmmakers to avoid releasing multiple films on the same date. Yet Force is releasing with 5 other films on Sept 30. Isn't it hara-kiri?
We were originally supposed to release Force on Sept 16 but then Mausam announced the same date and we amicably decided its best to shift to a later date so we moved our film to Sept 30. Meanwhile Mausam unfortunately got delayed by a week and released on Sept 23 which resulted in Hum Tum Shabana being pushed to Sept 30. It's always better to avoid a clash but unfortunately we can't keep shifting dates. I believe couple of films (which were supposed to release on Sept 30) like Soundtrack are now releasing on Oct 7 which is good.
The buzz in the trade circles is that promotions of Force seem to be lacking fizz. What do you have to say about that?
These are perceptions and I don't know how to respond to that. We had a strategy to invest in single screens more so even our marketing efforts are also not very metro-centric, it's more in the B and C centres. We want this to be John's first pan India big release. But if that's the comment, I will definitely look into pumping up the promotions in the next few days.
You had an enviable track record with most of your films striking gold at the Box Office. However, your last 3 films London Dreams, Action Replayy, and Kuch Luv Jaisaa have not done too well. In that situation, does it put additional burden on you to see that Force works?
As a filmmaker, I personally like to experiment. I am not one of those who will keep repeating and making the same kind of films. Sometimes these experiments work sometime they don't. If you look at the satellite telecast numbers of Action Replayy and London Dreams, they have done exceedingly well. Of course I would have liked them to work at the Box Office too, but at least this is some kind of consolation. Having said that, I know that if a film doesn't work, we have to take more care the next time and address the relevant issues and make a better film.
What's next after Force from your banner? When are you planning to direct next?
I will announce all our future projects in the second half of October. Right now I am just concentrating on Force. Of course I will be directing next year, I think I have taken a long enough break now (smiles).