In the land of vice

In the land of vice

Abhishek Bachchan

Fox Star Entertainment’s and R S Enterprises’ film, Dum Maaro Dum (DMD), is all set to entertain the audiences, if director Rohan Sippy and lead actor Abhishek Bachchan live up to their words.

Almost six years after their last collaboration, Bluffmaster!, the childhood buddies come together in this action thriller that also stars Bipasha Basu, Pratik and Rana Dagubatti.
Sippy has entertainment in his genes — his father Ramesh Sippy, who has produced Dum Maaro Dum, is the creator of Sholay, and his grandfather is G P Sippy, a top-flight producer who presented talented actors to Hindi cinema. Why did Rohan takes six years to make a film after Bluffmaster!? “I became busy producing several films like Taxi No. 9-2-1-1, Chandni Chowk To China, The President Is Coming and also Fear, which only had a digital release,” says Rohan.

Will be it always Abhishek Bachchan in his directorial ventures, since he has never directed a film without him? “Abhishek and I have been friends since childhood, but to be in my film he has to be apt for the subject,” replies Rohan. “A friend on the sets brings a comfort level, there is a certain trust and so work also becomes easier and faster.” But Abhishek Bachchan differs from his friend here. In a telephonic conversation, he drawls, “Once on the sets, we share a professional relationship. And the films we have worked together on have been very different from each other — Kuch Naa Kaho, Bluffmaster! and Dum Maaro Dum.”

Controversial

Rohan describes DMD as a suspense thriller with “bang-on casting of characters” and a different style of narration. The film is about three parallel stories that converge into a slick action drama. “There are five main protagonists,” says Rohan. “Abhishek, Pratik, Rana and Bipasha all have a story. Then there is Aditya Pancholi. My writer, Shridhar Raghavan, has followed a completely different narrative style from Bluffmaster! or the television serial CID.” Rohan admits that DMD is a more dramatic, darker story than his last film and has much more action. “It is more hard-hitting, whereas my last film was a light comedy.”

We move to the controversial aspect — the title and the re-created cult song, Hare Rama Hare Krishna. “The title Dum Maaro Dum is apt for the subject,” says Rohan. “In any case, this is not the first time that the title of my film is inspired by a song. In fact, my first film,  Kuch Naa Kaho, is also a famous song.”

About the flak he has received for the poor re-creation of lyrics by Jaideep Sahni for the title track of DMD, he says, “In the ‘70s, when the song Dum maro dum was made for a girl who was a hippie and smoked drugs, it was all about flower-power. Today, it is more about attitude and aggression. Youngsters are open about their sexuality, preferences. Therefore, the lyrics had to be in sync with what the youth believe in.”

The only ‘modern’ action film his father made was Shaan. Was Rohan influenced by the film by Sholay or his father? And did his dad give any inputs for DMD? “I hope I will able to live up to the expectations. My father has made memorable films and I wish I can do the same, some day,” raves Rohan.

He is unfazed by our query about the ill-effects on DMD’s box-office prospects because of the disastrous business Abhishek’s last two films did — Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey and the action-packed Game. Says Rohan, “Fox Star and we have been very careful about budgets, which is where those films went wrong. We have also focussed on strong content and not just made stylised cinema.” Adds Abhishek, “There is a lot of freshness in this film, and Pratik and Rana, with whom I am working for the first time, are very talented co-stars. Bipasha is an old associate, and we all know that good co-stars always boost one’s performance. We all knew exactly what we had to do on the sets.”

Admitting that thrillers have been his favourite genre and that he has done a fair share of roles as a cop (Zameen, Game, the Dhoom franchise, Shootout At Lokhandwala), Abhishek adds that each cop has been different in concept, characterisation and body language. “In Game, I was an undercover cop, but in DMD, I play a cop who is working openly on a case.”

Future projects

Abhishek is confident that the film is a great entertainer and the audience will definitely enjoy. “They will get their money’s worth!” he says, adding that he does not believe in the so-called niche or multiplex cinema. “The prime intention of a movie is to provide entertainment that is worth the money people spend to watch,” says Abhishek, who is now doing Aditya Chopra’s Dhoom:3 (his first with Yash Raj Films in three years), Rohit Shetty’s Bol Bachchan (Shetty’s 2003 debut Zameen had the actor in it) and Abbas-Mustan’s Players. “I do not believe in being a part of cinema that the masses are unable to comprehend.”

Could he say something about his song, Thaayen thaayen, that he has sung in DMD? “Rohan wanted me to sing it. It is in sync with what was needed and it was my duty to give it my best. And yes, I rehearsed it before recording it.” He adds that it is just a coincidence that the last song he had sung, Right here right now, was also for Rohan Sippy’s Bluffmaster!.

Finally, how upset is he by the response to his last two films, and does he feel personally responsible for them? “Of course, it hurts terribly! But, I have to accept that the films didn’t work,” he stresses intensely. “Many factors decide how the audience reacts. All we can do is try and evaluate where we went wrong and try and not repeat the mistakes!”
But both Rohan and Abhishek are confident that this introspection will never be needed for Dum Maaro Dum. “We feel we have got it right,” sums up Rohan. 

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