Aamir Khan and Asin in Ghajini
How does it feel to be the only link between two of the most-awaited films of the year, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Ghajini?
(Laughs) When I shot the films, I thought they will be released separately. Now its in the same month. Adis (Aditya Chopra) film started much later than Ghajini. But Ghajini got delayed.
Despite featuring the two big Khans, the look of the two films are entirely different...
Yes...They are completely different films. Adis film is a very simple, romantic film, so the look is like that. Aamirs film is an action-packed massy movie for the front-benchers. But it is essentially a romance... the romantic part is the suspense of the film. People will go with the mindset that its an action film, but its a very powerful romantic story. That is why the Tamil Ghajini was a hit.
What was the brief for shooting Ghajini?
Aamir built his body for the film. He worked out for a whole year. So there was the pressure of shooting him properly after all the preparation he had done. All the body shots are very important for the story of the film also. He had to look like a monster! Its also after a long time that a mainstream star like Aamir Khan is doing an all-out action film. So compared to say Fanaa, this is very gritty, very hard.
There are two parts of the film, the present and the past. They have been shot differently. A lot of green has been used in the house where he is staying in the present, like in The Bourne Supremacy. That portion is even edited very differently. A lot more shots have been used than a normal film. In the final edit, a film like Rab Ne has 120 shots in a reel, Ghajini has 400-500. So, its all quick cuts. We used three cameras even in a normal talking scene.
The story of Ghajini is very similar to Christopher Nolans Memento. Did you watch Memento before shooting the film?
I had seen Memento. It has nothing to do with Ghajini, except the reverse tattoo thing. The memory loss thing is there in so many films. Memento cannot be a popular film. Its too complicated. I didnt see Memento for the prep-work of Ghajini. In fact, when they were shooting the Tamil Ghajini, the cameraman, who was my assistant, took the DVD of Memento from me. They were looking for dark thrillers. That team hadnt even seen Memento till then. And when they did, they couldnt understand it.
Industry insiders say that Ghajini is very gory. Is it so?
Hmmm... What you dont see is what scares you. The violence is not shown. Whatever is not shown, you tend to imagine and that perhaps makes it even more violent. If you see the film carefully, it is not even half as violent as other action films. In fact, the director (A.R. Murugadoss), who directed the Tamil Ghajini too, never wanted to show blood.
Shah Rukh also has a different look for Rab Ne...
That was challenging, to make the two Shah Rukhs look totally different. The film itself is very unlike a Yash Raj film. It is not glossy at all. The guy works in Punjab Power, rides a scooter and lives in a very middle class house in a gali. So the whole film is in that kind of a space. The brief was to give a look which is slightly above the arty kind of films. It should have its own charm. As an audience, you should get into that world and get out. Its not a fantasy world, its a common mans world. Its a Chitchor kind of a film. Even for the dance portions, we shot on a school dance contest kind of a stage. Adi didnt want anything spectacular.
Aditya Chopra is directing a film after eight years and this is the first time you are working with him. Did you find anything special?
The great thing about Adi is that everything is meticulously planned. He is very much like Mani Ratnam in that way. He is very, very fast... the whole film was shot in some 60 days. When he comes for a shoot, he knows exactly what the actors are going to do, where the camera is going to be placed. He will tell you exactly how many shots will be there in a song also. While he has written the film, he has seen it fully in the mind. When he narrated the script to us, he was reading it with the cut points. And thats exactly what he did. On the whole, may be just five to six shots have been removed from what he put in the script.
| Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
What about the two new girls in the two films Asin and Anushka?
Asin is not a new girl. If Kajol acts in a Bengali film tomorrow, she wouldnt become a new girl! Asin has done so many big films in the south, she is really a veteran. She has a unique face... she doesnt look like any other heroine in Hindi films. And she is also very talented.
Anushka doesnt have the typical heroine syndrome. She hasnt copied any heroine. When you look at Asin, you know that she has seen other heroines and gives similar expressions and all... she knows where to put the face and how and how to look. Anushka doesnt know anything. That made everything look real. In fact, the biggest plus point of Adis film is that the girl looks real. You will get really involved. I remember Rajeev Menon (Sapnay director) called me and said: This girl dances like the way a normal girl dances. She has that bindaas quality about her. She is not bothered whether her mouth is open or her hair is falling on one side. She enjoys acting. Very rarely did Adi correct her performance. He corrected Shah Rukhs performance more.
You are perhaps one of the very few people who have already seen the two films. As a member of the audience, did you like the movies?
I think both films should be big hits. First because people are fed up with all the violence that happened. Rab Ne is a very happy, feel-good romantic film. And Ghajini is a love story cum revenge tale. The mood we are in right now, its like the hero is taking revenge on our behalf. Both are escapist films which people should watch because they are fed up with what happened.
Which film are you shooting next?
I am off to shoot Karan Johars My Name is Khan with Shah Rukh and Kajol in the US.