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Millennium Post

‘Creating desire is the end game’

Dhoom: 3 managed to break records set by Chennai Express. Are you satisfied with the audience and critics’ response to Dhoom: 3?
Yeah! Relieved and quite thrilled. In the first 14 days in India, it was a net of Rs 257 crore and overseas, close to Rs 140 crore and then the numbers kept climbing. I am quite happy!

When Dhoom: 3 also crossed  Rs 200 crore mark, was the feeling the same as with 3 Idiots or was it better?

I think it’s the same. ‘Better’ is a little difficult because 3 Idiots was a new high, a new record.

A new benchmark...
AK: Yes, a new benchmark that was earlier set by Ghajini at Rs 116 crore. Now 
Dhoom: 3
 also created a new benchmark. So I am happy.

Speaking of Ghajini, you were the first to cross the Rs 100 crore mark, then the first to cross Rs 200 crore with 3 Idiots, and now Rs 250 crore with Dhoom: 3.
Yeah, well, I don’t think I can take credit for that because, honestly, the maximum I or any other star can contribute is the first three days. And even there, I am not alone. There’s the Dhoom franchise, there’s Katrina (Kaif), and the entire star cast – Abhishek (Bachchan) and Uday (Chopra). So all of us together bring in the first three days. Thereafter, it’s the film. For instance, the credit for 
3 Idiots
 doing Rs 202 crore doesn’t go to me. I could take the credit for the first day of the Rs 13 crore, which was a big high for that time. But the Rs 202 crore was because Raju (Rajkumar Hirani) made a good film. Similarly, over here, the first three days is due to the star cast, and the rest of the credit goes to Victor (Vijay Krishna Acharya), the writer-director of the film.

What was more satisfying – being the first to cross Rs 100 crore, Rs 200 crore or now Rs 250 crore?
No, no, actually that doesn’t give me such a big high. What gives me a high is when I am doing a role that excites me. What excited me about 
Dhoom: 3 
was the double role I played. It was a first for me. Technology has made this more rather than less of a challenge for an actor. Earlier, when you did a double role, you had to keep the camera static. So, the way you do a double role now, is you do two parts, first one character and then the other. In the old days, you had to do one guy on the left and one guy on the right. Now with motion control cameras, you can move the cameras and you can do exactly the same moves at exactly the same angle, at exactly the same speed. Earlier, you had to design simple shots for a double role.

So it’s more demanding for an actor?

Yes. You had to remember what the other guy was doing, when he was not there. You’re giving a shot in isolation and you’re imagining what the other guy is doing. You are imagining what his timing will be, where he will go if he walks this way, so that you also look the same way. You have to pretend he is there. So when does he start to walk, when do I start following the gaze, stop following the gaze, when do I come back to the gaze. If that is not synced in with the other guy’s actions, it will look odd. So in this film, particularly, Victor went all out with shot-taking for the double role and that was a very exciting process.

Was the double role the main attraction for this film?
It was one of the main attractions, not the only attraction. I really liked the story and the way the emotion of the son and the father was built into the beginning. For me, it is essentially the love story of two brothers and I also liked the fact that the guy inside the box, Samar, is the happier of the two and the guy who is supposedly outside the box is the guy who is constantly with the burden, not happy, very bitter, a lot of anger and is full of hate. I liked the contrast between the two characters that Victor wrote. The other appealing element in the script was the interplay between Jay Dixit and Sahir. I really like the fact that Jay Dixit at first gets defeated. He doesn’t know that there are two guys. He can’t figure out
ki yeh bullet maine mara par laga kaise nahi
. So usko woh log kaam se nikal dete hain. Then he discovers that there are two guys. He then plays them against each other. I love that part of the story. I think the fact that he plays one against the other was a very good plot point. Because then Sahir gets completely flummoxed and wonders what is happening to Samar. I liked the interplay of these two characters. I also liked the fact that Jay Dixit actually becomes emotional with Samar.

Was there any apprehension getting into a franchise because this wasnot a brand new world for you?

Yes.

Was that a concern?

I liked Dhoom 1 a lot and I hadn’t watched Dhoom 2. So I was looking forward to being a part of the Dhoom series. And when I heard the script, I liked the twists and turns. I loved the fact that it was complex. It kept surprising me. I kept wondering how these guys were able to escape till I realised there were two of them! So I liked the revealing of each point. Then when Jay Dixit is talking to Samar, he is actually talking to Sahir. There were a lot of twist and turns in the story.

So where does Dhoom stand in your journey as an actor?
I think I will remember it as a film that I enjoyed doing and that gave me new challenges, from a purely interactive point of view with my audience. I usually don’t do films like 
Dhoom
; my characters are more real. They are not larger than life. I play characters like Rancho (3 Idiots), Nikumb Sir (Taare Zameen Par) and DJ (Rang De Basanti). None of these guys is larger than life. Even Sanjay Singhania (Ghajini), for that matter! But once in a while, it’s good to play the classic mainstream hero so that people get to see me in that too. They haven’t in a long time. They got to see me as a hero. In fact, Govinda told me that before this film, he felt I was a character but it is the first time he felt I was a ‘hero’. He said he liked both my performances but he preferred Sahir because he is the hero in the film. But 90 per cent of people have told me they liked Samar better because they fell in love with Samar. Anil Kapoor said he had not watched me as a classic Hindi film hero before, 
jo gaane bhi gaata hai, bike ke stunts bhi karta hai, emotional bhi hai
. So, to answer your question, a film like Dhoom gave me that chance and addressed a larger audience. It may not have been my core audience but it has helped me reach a different audience.

Doesn’t it also alienate you from your core audience, which expects something more cerebral from you?
No, when I do a film like Dhoom 3 or a Fanaa, I don’t do it according to any calculation. I do it only because I love the story. My core audience always gets disturbed by these films. Arrey yaar, Fanaa kyun kiya, Rang De... karna chahiye tha, Taare karna chahiye, Dhoom 3 kyun kar raha hai, Ghajini kyun kar raha hai? My hardcore audience doesn’t like these films. But they don’t alienate themselves from us for these films. If the question is ‘do they like these kind of films?’, I suspect not. But I don’t think that is alienating because they also understand that, as a creative person, I have the need to do different things.

On special arrangement with Box Office India

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