'Ishqiya', which releases on January 29, is, as the name suggests, a love story and stars Naseeruddin Shah, Vidya Balan and Arshad Warsi in lead roles. The film has been produced by Vishal Bhardwaj, who also shares the credit for music and story.
Abhishek has given Balan, known for her demure roles in films like 'Pareenita' and 'Lage Raho Munnabhai', a complete makeover as Krishna, a scheming seductress, who drives the narrative of the movie.
"I always felt that women characters in our films are like mannequins who are dressed well but don't have much to offer in terms of narrative of the story, which is driven only by men. But 'Ishqiya' is a film where you will see a very believable woman character," Abhishek said.
The debutant director, who has worked with Bhardwaj as a writer and assistant director in films like 'Kaminey' (2009), 'Omkara' and 'The Blue Umbrella' (2005), said Vidya was always the first choice for the role.
"I was looking for somebody who will convincingly look the part. Vidya is very beautiful and her beauty is very Indian. Also, we needed an actor of calibre and Vidya is one of the few actors today who can carry off a complex character with ease," he said.
Vidya, who has locked lips with Arshad in the movie, will also be seen belting out expletives onscreen, a first for her.
But Abhishek said it was not difficult to convince the actress to do bold scenes.
"Vidya was aware about these scenes because we had had workshops before beginning the shoot. Her only issue was that she wanted to know exactly how we were going to shoot them and she wanted to be clear about them.
"The thing about Vidya is that she is very committed actor. She does not think about her image or what people will say once she is convinced that the scene is not forced and is important to take the story forward. In the end it was fun and she was amused by the language," Abhishek said.
Arshad and Shah play "happy-go-lucky" criminals in the movie. "It is a love story about criminals. Romance is the core of the film yet it operates like a thriller," he said.
The film is set in the rural backdrop of eastern UP but Abhishek, who hails from Faizabad, said that the film is very progressive in its outlook.
"It is quite unfortunate that people don't make films based in rural backdrop because most of the India lives there. I, myself come from that part of the world and the kind of the story Ishqiya is, it is better that it is told that way," Abhishek said.
"But 'Ishqiya' is very progressive in terms of how the characters feel. I am convinced that we have not seen such characters with such a world view in that kind of setting. That's the unique thing about this film," he said.