Great action inputs

Action choreographer Sham Kaushal has had blockbusters like Don, Dhoom 3, Krrish 3, Aurangzeb, Lootera, Gangs Of Wasseypur, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and The Reluctant Fundamentalist to his credit.

But, his real challenge has been working for a psycho-thriller miniseries called Yudh, directed by Ribhu Dasgupta, starring Amitabh Bachchan.

Working for the telly has been nothing different from films, says Kaushal. “I didn’t approach it as a television serial. For me, it was a bigger canvas as it starred Amitabh Bachchan.

The serial has been shot with the same grandeur as films.

Nowhere have the producers compromised with the scenes, and they have been very co-operative. The challenge, however, was in crossing the thin line, as violence is constrained on TV. We are not allowed to show gore as it is bound by certain laws,” informs the action director.

This is not the first time that he has worked with Amitabh Bachchan. “Yes, I have worked with him earlier during Mard, in 1985, and what amazed me is that he continues to work with the same energy and positivity as he did earlier. At 72, he continues to kick with the same energy as he did 30 years ago. His passion for acting is intact.

He sat with me to discuss all the action scenes and assured me that he would perform them without any constraints,” says Sham Kaushal.

A postgraduate in literature from Govt. College, Hoshiarpur, Punjab, Kaushal entered Bollywood by fluke. “I wanted to become a lecturer but a chance meeting with stuntmen changed my destiny. I worked as a stuntman for seven years before getting a big break as an independent action director in 1990. All I wanted was to earn money. So there was no fear when I engaged in stunt scenes, and today, stunt has become a habit, ” he says.

Having been in the line for more than 27 years, Kaushal says changes have set into films. “I think the industry is going through the best phase. Budgets have increased, our storytelling has changed completely.Earlier, we had vendettas, a definite hero and villain, but now, even heroes play grey characters. The technique in action has changed from raw fights to CGI (Computer Generated Images). We have cables and harnesses for stunts. Earlier, duplicates performed stunts. Now, heroes are willing to engage in adrenaline-pumping action. Heroes are concentrating on one film per year. The audience, too, is aware about filmmaking, so you cannot cheat.” he states.

His experience in the  industry as an action director makes him say that the one thing he is averse to is showing too much blood and gore. “I think it looks ugly, and we can do away with it. A lot can be said without showing a knife slicing through anyone’s body. I find it repulsive,” expresses the director.

His forthcoming films are director Amit Sharma’s Tevar, Kabir Khan’s Phantom, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani and Shaad Ali’s Kill Dil. Besides Hindi films, Sham Kaushal has to his credit a few Hollywood projects, like director John Madden’s The Best Exotic Hotel Marigold starring Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Dev Patel, and a French Production, Raani.

Speaking about his Hollywood venture, Kaushal says, “I have already worked on Slumdog Millionaire and Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol. The world has become a small place, our actors are going to the West; I think it’s time we opened up to other technicians. We have Hollywood action co-ordinators like Greg Powell and Spiro Razatos doing films here. A lot of Chinese technicians, too. I think it’s not long before Steven Spielberg directs a Bollywood film, or Brad Pitt stars in our films,” he speculates.

Yudh also stars Sarika, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Kay Kay Menon. It is said to be the most expensive fiction show made for Indian television.

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