Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Film is Not Anti-Goa

Ask filmmaker Rohan Sippy, what took him so long to direct his third film Dum Maaro Dum, after Bluffmaster in December 2005 and he is quick to respond. “I need better time management.” Jokes apart, Sippy tells us that after the release of Bluffmaster, he got busy with his production house. “We produced Taxi No 9211, The President is Coming and Chandni Chowk to China. We also started work on a heist film, which was very ambitious in budget and scale. It seemed fine during the boom period, but then we realised that we had bitten off more than we could chew,” says Sippy, who put it on hold, and started work on the thriller Dum Maaro Dum (DMD).

The promos of DMD evoked positive responses initially with huge number of hits on YouTube. Soon after, however, reports about the Goa government being upset over showing the state in bad light overshadowed the excitement. “I read reports in newspapers, but we haven’t got any official statement yet,” says Sippy. With the film due for release on April 22, Sippy is keen on keeping his slate clean. “The overall messaging of the film is not anti-Goa. It starts off showing Goa as a paradise on earth and then goes on to show the other side as well. Eventually it is a cops and bad guys film — a fictional story. It could have been based in any other city, but we chose Goa because of its international appeal,” says the filmmaker.

The DMD controversies, however, did not end here. The remixed version of the song Dum Maaro Dum, written by Jaideep Sahni and performed by Deepika Padukone had several people, inside and outside the industry, miffed. “The desire was not to offend anyone. And I have great respect for Dev Saab and everyone associated with the original song. Dev Saab may be having a problem with the way Saregama is handling the rights of the song. I am just a third party here,” says Sippy. His only intention was to tailor it according to his film’s needs, just like he had done with Sabse Bada Rupaiya for Bluffmaster. “Personally, I think most of the offence has got to do with how we perceive women. We do not have a problem with women as sex objects, but the minute she gets in your face it is much harder to digest,” he states, adding, ‘The biggest validation for me is that the song is topping the charts today, which means most people out there are loving it.”

However, it is the Friday verdict that Sippy is most worried about. DMD defies traditional Bollywood-style filmmaking. It is a thriller, with no defined protagonist. The heroine is not conventional, and the heroes are with shades of grey. With one debutant Rana Daggubatti (a Telugu star) and another two-film old actor Prateik, Sippy believes that it is Abhishek Bachchan and Bipasha Basu’s presence that will entice the trade pundits.

From Kuchh Na Kaho (2003) to Bluffmaster and now DMD, the only constant fixture in his films has been his best friend Abhishek Bachchan. But with three of Bachchan’s previous films biting the dust at the box-office, isn’t he worried? “I obviously feel bad for him as a friend. It’s nice to have an actor who has success behind him, but it is unfair to put so much on their shoulders,” says Sippy who, if the script and dates permit, will have Bachchan also in his next.

The director’s strength and confidence lies in his lineage — his grandfather is GP Sippy and father, Ramesh Sippy. “I got the opportunity to direct films only because I am from this family,” he humbly states. He considers himself fortunate to be working in close association with his father. One thing he consciously tries to do is try out different genres with each of his film. “My dad has a wonderful repertoire of films. From Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay to Shaan, Shakti and Saagar — he has redefined himself with each film. When I made my first film Kuchh Na Kaho, I had loosely based it on my dad’s first film Andaz,” he states. Later, the desire to exploring various subjects, prodded him to make Bluffmaster, a successful con film, and now with DMD he hopes to do justice to thrillers.


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