It’s a known fact that when it comes to Salman Khan, he is good when he wants to be good and comes across as plain lazy when he opts to do so. We saw his former self in Wanted where he ate up the screen with his performance. On the other hand, audiences had the misfortune of seeing his opposite persona in Main Aurr Mrs Khanna. So what kind of Salman did Vipul get in London Dreams? After all, for the filmmaker who has only worked with Akshay Kumar as the leading man in each of his films in the past, it was a matter of creating a tuning with someone who is known for his performance varying as per his liking of the project.
Well, if Vipul Shah is to be believed, Salman Khan wanted him to drive the entire show and followed his vision while coming up with his own interpretation, as required. Joginder Tuteja catches up with the man who is riding high on the success of four back to back hits – Aankhen, Waqt – Race Against Time, Namastey London, Singh Is Kinng – and is now opening a new chapter in his life with a dramatic romantic musical London Dreams with Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn and Asin.
The fate of any film can be known in the first few hours of the first day of shooting itself
Did you ever worry that from which side of the bed would Salman wake up on the first day of the shoot of London Dreams?
[Laughs] There wasn’t anything like that. Once you sign an actor, you know what to expect and how to get that. Also, the fate of any film can be known in the first few hours of the first day of shooting itself. My experience tells me that. You get to know if an actor is trying to be dominating. Or if he doesn’t quite turn out to be the person that you were expecting. You also start getting worried about the fact that whether your decision has backfired. Both an actor as well as the director may not be able to pinpoint the exact pain area but yes, the first few hours are very crucial in a relationship.
Given the fact that Salman is going all out for the promotion of London Dreams as well, just as was the case with Wanted, I guess it can be safely assumed that it was a good beginning after all for your relationship with him.
[Smiles] That’s true, both of us cracked the essence, spirit and treatment of London Dreams in first 20 minutes itself. I remember the scene that was required to be shot. It featured Salman and Asin in front of a lit up Eiffel Tower. While I was reading the scene to him, he was quietly listening to me. Once I was through, he just said one thing to me which gave me quite a high. Something like this coming from a man who has been a leading man for 20 years now was wonderful.
Ajay is very knowledgeable and visualises everything about the scene before coming up with his take
And what exactly did he say?
He said – ‘Vipul, I always believe that if the director can read the scene
with absolutely correct pitch and intensity, the actor finds it good to go from there on. So this is the way we would go from here. You read every scene to me and tell me how you want it to be performed. I would then further interpret it and take it on from there.’ He was all for the movie from there on.
How did the scene eventually go?
He did it in absolutely the same manner as I had envisaged and came up with a bang-on performance. From there on, we didn’t have to discuss anything other than the scenes to follow. The entire shooting from there on went smoothly.
How about Ajay? He is also quite intense once the camera starts rolling. Do we get to see trademark Ajay intensity?
That’s right, you will actually get to see Ajay in the kind of performance for which he was roped in. I also have to highlight another facet of his acting. Since he is also a director, he is very clear about what a filmmaker would be expecting from him. Also, he is technically one of the strongest people I have come across. He knows everything about filmmaking and that reflects in his act. He is very knowledgeable and visualises everything about the scene before coming up with his take. Since I had such experienced men on board, I didn’t have to do much explanation for him on a scene to scene basis.
When Wanted is still going strong despite competition, then why can’t others too follow suit?
You aren’t coming alone though. There is Aladin along with you and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Jail, Aao Wish Karein, Tum Mile, Kurbaan and De Dana Dan following in weeks to come. Isn’t that scary?
As I said earlier, it’s an unfortunate clogging of films. I still wish to see a silver lining though. See, if there are back to back four-five good films then it only gives audiences some enthusiasm to see more films. They start feeling that since this week’s movie was good, let me check out the release of next week. It makes him gain confidence about quality of cinema. However, the moment he catches a bad film, he starts wondering if shelling out money again would be a good idea. This is why I sincerely hope that all the newer movies are good films and they perform well. When Wanted, in spite of being in the running for so many weeks now, is still going strong despite competition, then why can’t others too follow suit?