Washington, April 20 (Calcutta Tube) Film director Rohan Sippy says Fox Star Studios likes the ‘original art’ of Bollywood without tweaking it for foreign audiences. And he is confident that his new suspense thriller ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ will have ‘universal appeal’ beyond Indians abroad.
‘I do think they would enjoy it,’ he said. ‘Obviously, the first audience is always the Indian audience for whom we make our films. But I think it’s a film that’s pretty comfortable in its own skin.’
Goa, where the film is set, is also a destination known around the world. ‘And if people do find it to be a well-told story – that becomes more universal in its appeal,’ Sippy told IANS in an interview on phone from Mumbai. This is his third film as a director after ‘Bluffmaster’ and ‘Kuch Naa Kaho’.
Fox Star Studios, ‘our partners from the very beginning’, told him that ‘normally they don’t like to tailor or tweak it too much’ for different audiences, said Sippy, the son of veteran filmmaker Ramesh Sippy.
‘They like to see the original art and they’d rather see it as it was intended for Indian audiences as opposed to something an American or European audience might like,’ he said. ‘It was very much a partnership which we have enjoyed,’ said Sippy.
The film is releasing Friday with 1,100 prints nationally and 260 prints internationally and stars Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Prateik Babbar and Rana Daggubati in important roles.
He himself ‘really loved the script’, said Sippy. For him, ‘it was a very exciting challenge’ managing the multiple stories in what’s primarily a suspense thriller.
‘Also, doing a thriller for the first time was something I was very keen to take on,’ said Sippy, who has previously directed ‘Bluffmaster’, described as a darkhearted con comedy.
‘A thriller is a very seductive genre for a director with lots of potential for great visuals and great music and larger than life characters – it’s really something you get to indulge in more than in any other genres.’
And if ‘something is terrifying it’s probably the right thing to do,’ he said.
Asked about the film’s USP, he said: ‘It’s a good suspense thriller and in the Hindi film tradition the music is also an integral part of it. And along with it there are three very interesting stories woven into it. I think these are the two things that hopefully the audience would really like.’
‘The story is also at the heart of it with four characters, who are summed up by the tagline – ‘Kya hai kahaani tere paap ki? What’s the story behind your sins?’ ‘
‘They have all made mistakes at some point in their lives and it calls for redemption,’ he said. ‘So it’s an interesting blend having these characters and having these in the form of suspense.’
Sippy insists the title, ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ was definitely driven by the film and the song came much later. ‘The title song was perfect against the backdrop of the drug world.’
As the Sippys had the rights to the original ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ song, ‘later on along the way we had the idea of licensing the song – that came up much later’.
Sippy says the character of ACP Vishnu Kamath that Abhishek plays ‘was from the very beginning a very well defined, very well etched out character – a no nonsense, smart and tough cop.’
And once ‘Abhishek had the character, I think he was very much on it. It’s written pretty smart – so it was easy for me to know the right metre for that.’
Casting the female lead Zoe was again a challenge. ‘It’s the soul of the film. There is a certain facet, there is a certain poetry within her character.’
But Bipasha ‘really carried the load and really did a marvellous job. She really brought a lot to the character, and it was a pleasure working with her.’
‘She was on the ball and really understood what Zoe was and then she was terrific.’
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)