A film worth Rs 100 crore, Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, A R Rahman, Kylie Minogue and the Bahamas. What more could a debutant director ask for?
In an exclusive interview with Businessofcinema.com, Anthony D’Souza candidly says, “I am sure people are thinking how an idiot like me managed to get a break,” but is quick enough to add, “I must say it was a lot of hard work and luck also.”
What was the feeling like to be shooting a ‘Rs 100 crore Bollywood film’ – Blue?
I never dreamt that Blue would be such a big film. Initially I didn’t plan to make it such a high budgeted film, it just kept getting bigger. No newcomer can be as fortunate as me.
How do you feel now that the film is over?
I am scared, nervous and exhausted. I am sure people are thinking how an idiot like me managed to get a break. I must say it was a lot of hard work and luck also. But I don’t think I am the best. There are directors like Sriram Raghavan, Imtiaz Ali and Anurag Kashyap who are brilliant at their work.
Within a short span of time the economic scenario has changed tremendously. As the director of Blue how do you think this has affected you film?
I think it has not yet affected the film. I have completed it and I hope it works. If Ghajini can do a business of Rs 240 crore at the box office, then why would anything affect Blue?
How did you think of an idea to make an underwater film?
I have always been fascinated by the ocean. It gives a very larger than life portrayal. Besides, no other underwater film has been made in Bollywood besides Samrat. So when I went to the Bahamas I thought it would be really cool to shoot an underwater film on lost treasure.
Since many Hollywood films have been made based on an underwater theme, with which film does Blue resemble most?
I think The Deep. But its not like the films are similar, it’s just that The Deep is also an underwater film.
What sort of preparation did you have to do before shooting the film?
It was my first ever experience to shoot underwater. I did a one month survey on the topic, safety and security before I went to convince my actors. Then the actors took up a scuba diving course. Akshay did it in Bangkok, Lara and Zayed did it in Lakshwadeep and Sanjay Dutt has been scuba diving all his life. So now they are all certified scuba divers, except for me.
How did you decide Blue as the title of your film?
Blue is the colour of the ocean and the sky in the film. I hope the audience is not blue after watching it (laughs). I received a lot of flack for naming my movie Blue. Some actors told me that films with colours in their titles have all failed, be it Black, Black & White or Red. But I believe a title doesn’t make a film. A bad film doesn’t run anyway.
Two of Akshay Kumar’s movies this year- Chandni Chowk To China and 8×10 Tasveer have fallen below expectations, so has this doubled up your nervousness for Blue?
Much before Blue, Kambakkth Ishq will release. So I think Sabeer Khan would be the right person to ask this question (laughs).
I want to wish Sabeer all the best for his film. I have seen the promos of Kambakkth Ishq and the film looks like a fun- masala film, like any other Akshay Kumar film.
What about your film?
Blue is also an entertainer, potboiler masala film. It is not a serious film. It is a humorous subject treated in a serious way. It is an edge of the seat thriller film and has hard core action.
Were Sanjay Dutt and Akshay Kumar genuinely at loggerheads during the film shooting?
I just want to clarify that contrary to popular belief there were never any fights or grudges between them on the sets of Blue. They have always greeted each other well.
As a debutant how was your experience dealing with the two senior actors?
They are senior actors and are like my mentors. But the seniority is there only till you say action. The more senior your actors are there is less trouble for the director because senior actors have no complexes. In fact, I have more complexes now than anyone else in Blue, because I am the only one who has to prove myself in the film.
How did the producers Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision and the cast fall into your lap?
I had written the script keeping in mind Akshay Kumar and Sanjay for their respective roles. John Abraham had put me onto Shree Ashtavinayak. Before joining the film industry, I knew only John, through his brother Alan with who I am very good friends.
So are you also planning to work with John in the future?
Yes, he will be a part of my next film after Blue. It’s an action film and I have almost finished writing it. Shree Ashtavinayak will produce it. It’s a three hero-heroine project and John is definitely a part of it. I am also keen on working with Sonal Chauhan, but I haven’t spoken to her. The balance cast is yet to be decided. I hope I get to mount my second film on a much higher scale than Blue.