Director’s cut

On The Film
I got the idea of the film in a dream! We were celebrating the release of Main Hoon Na at the time and I remember telling Boman about it. I asked him to be a part of the film right then and he agreed.

When I began writing the script, I didn’t have a title for the film. Shirish (Kunder) was writing a film on the Indian Airlines plane hijack at Kandahar. If you remember, the hostages were freed on New Year’s Day and Shirish had come up with the title Happy New Year for his film. I loved the title a lot and stole it from him and he sweetly parted with it.

But the reason it took me so long to write the film was because it was two genres rolled into one film. People may say that they have watched a lot of heist films in Hindi and even more sophisticated ones in Hollywood but, you know, I don’t care what people say. I can guarantee that they have not seen a film like this ever before. It’s a heist film with dance, comedy and drama all rolled into one. We needed an ensemble cast for it. All heist films need an ensemble cast with a mastermind, a hacker, a person who is a lock-picker and someone who is a detonation expert, who knows about explosives and weapons. So that’s how each one has their part to play.

On Shah Rukh Khan
For Shah Rukh and me, it was like coming back home. We had shot together for Om Shanti Om so long ago, and once we began shooting for this film, it was like all the years in between had vanished. I have to say this about Shah Rukh, as a producer, he spoils you silly. And he’s not just like that for one person on the sets, but for everyone. He has given me all the support I needed to make the grandest and most expensive film that you have ever seen. For a director, there is always pressure from the producer to keep a check on the budget, but he gave me the freedom and peace of mind to make the film as I wanted it. I told him that I wanted to shoot the World Dance Competition at the Atlantis in Dubai and he didn’t question me even once about it. It has been shot in the most lavish manner.

On Boman Irani

Boman is the only person who was cast on my casting couch! I had pursued him ever since I was shooting Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi with him. He was our punching bag on the sets. We used to always joke about him and his sex life. I am saying this as a director, that as an actor, he lent such a stress-free environment to all of us to work in. He is a brilliant actor and he would give me five different variations of the same shot. He was so open about trying new things. I have to say that despite the number of films he has done, he behaves like a newcomer. It seemed as if Boman was the newcomer and Vivaan had done around 20 films!

On Vivaan Shah
I cast Vivaan because of his unique look. You know, we auditioned over 100 boys for the film and I was very disappointed by how similar all of them looked. They all had a six pack and ripped muscles and not one of them looked like the boy-next-door. Vivaan was the only one with the unique look that I wanted. He has this certain vulnerability on his face, which will fool you into believing that he is this sweet boy but he is actually this genius hacker who is a criminal in the movie.

On Deepika Padukon
Deepika is very special to us because we launched her and we knew her even before she became the biggest star in the country. But the only difference we have seen in her since we worked with her in Om Shanti Om is that she has now become a superb actress.

I think when we cast her in Om Shanti Om, she was in kindergarten and now she has graduated to the 10th standard. She has become so good at her craft. I feel so proud of her today.

On Abhishek Bachchan
Abhishek is like all my three children rolled into one. He is such a kid! He is the one actor I had to fuss over most in the film. He is a bundle of energy. I felt like I was dealing with my kids when I worked with him because he would run away and hide behind the trees, and I would have to catch him and bring him back. Then, he would run back and hide behind the vans. But he is such a good actor. I think Abhishek’s comic timing is perfect and very few films have been able to showcase that talent. I think he is one of the most underrated actors that we have in the industry.

On Sonu Sood
Sonu was literally a last-minute entrant to the film. I didn’t have anyone for his role and I called him up at the nth hour. It was, like, I called him at 9’ o clock and he was in Bangkok shooting for Entertainment. We emailed him the script and the story and he was in Dubai to shoot with us the very same day!

I have cast him in a very different role from the kind the audience is used to seeing him in. He has this very macho image and he plays this comic role in the film. I can tell you that the kids are going to love him. I have exploited his comic timing like no one has before.

On Music

The film is a musical. In fact music is one of the main characters in the film. We have worked hard on making sure we give the audience the best songs and I have stressed the music just like I do in all my films. Vishal-Shekhar have done a great job on the songs. I am very spontaneous about the music in my films. If I hear it the first time and I like it, I will go with it. I don’t mull over it too much. This is the first time I worked with Irshaad Kamil (lyricist) and it was one of the wisest decisions I took because he has done a fabulous job. The lyrics are so beautiful that you will find poetry even in a tapori song.

On The Response So Far

People are responding to the trailer as if I have released the film! I have got a warm reception from across the board. The launch of the trailer was one of the most widespread in the sense that we explored it not only on YouTube but on the entire digital platform, from social media sites to apps and so on. It is a grand film, so we had to make sure that the trailer reached far and wide.

On Expectations
Whatever money the audience spends on the movie ticket, I promise them four times the entertainment! We haven’t left any stone unturned to make this film a unique experience. It took us 18 months to perfect the script, and the film has production values that have never been seen before. There will be high points in the film, which will be surpassed by higher points.

I am guaranteeing the highest level of entertainment. Lastly, it has SRK and me back together. He has an eight pack in the film!
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