Sriram Raghavan, 'an unconventional director', marks a new definition for thriller movies. 'A film with no loopholes' is what his colleagues called Johnny Gaddaar. Fascinated by thrillers and hesitant about doing comedy films, he is now set to experiment his expertise in romantic films.
In an interview with IndiaFM Sriram narrates his experience of making Johnny Gaddaar and discusses his upcoming films. Johnny Gaddaar's prospects are growing at the Box Office. Your comment.
I cannot say whether it is a phenomenal success. However, the second week box-office results have improved drastically. Word of mouth has surely created magic. I have received great feedbacks from people. Initially, the film had a slow start; I do not expect multiplex viewers to pay rupees two hundred for a movie featuring a new cast. Although I am glad but I wish I had started with lesser prints to more prints as against the other way round. As far as the present status is concerned, it was houseful in many places yesterday. People who went to see could not get tickets. Now I am happy.
From a director's perceptive, why do you have this fascination towards thrillers?
Why fascination towards thrillers...maybe I was a criminal in my last life (laughs). I like crimes only in movies. I am a very peaceful person otherwise and slightly inclined towards the dark side. However, that does not stop me from exploring other genres. For example, after Johnny Gaddaar, my next project is a romantic flick with John Abraham and Aishwarya, wherein there would be no bloodshed and no guns.
What is the storyline of your romantic flick?
It is a musical love story. However, it is something beyond the usual concept of boy meets girl kind. Besides, other than being fascinated with thrillers, I have a secret romantic side too; I love movies like Roman Holidays, When Harry met Sally. My next romantic venture is an adult love story with twist and turns. I would like to create the same mood as it was in Daud: 'Fun on the Run' by Ramu, a combination of thrill and romance.
What title have you thought of for the film and who will be composing the music?
My first choice would be Shankar Ehsaan and Loy; I still have to work out the dates. And as far as the title is concerned I am still in the thinking process of deciding a catchy one.
Is Aishwarya finalized for the project?
I had read the basic subject to Ash and she liked it. Now, I have to see that there are no issues regarding the dates.
When is it likely to go on floor and release?
John has been very patient with me for this film and I would be starting it as soon as possible. I was completely engrossed with the promotion of Johnny Gaddaar. We have started with the pre production work but its time to start full-fledged work. We just hope that by January end we finish maximum shoot and release maybe next year.
Your film Ek Haseena Thi was an excellent thriller. Why do you think it did not work at the Box-Office?
I wish I knew the real reason. I was flooded with the feedbacks, for instance Ramu told me that, it was because of the title that the film did not work as it gave the reflection of a romantic love story. Another reason, which I personally do not agree with, is the release of a film in the first week of January, is believed to be inauspicious. The success of the movie depends on the amount of people who watch the film. What I feel is that people might have seen the film on Cd's and DVD's and thus, very few people entered the cinema halls. And thus, that definitely affected the overall revenue collection of the film. Improper promotional measures, publicity could be the other reasons for the debacle.
What according to you makes a thriller movie complete….essential ingredients?
First thing, which is extremely important is that the film must contain maximum information. Secondly, a very good technical team i.e. cinematographer, good editor and a good music director. Above all is the heart of any successful thriller and that is the script. The best and the strange part about my film is that so many people have reviewed it. However, hardly anybody has given out the plot of movie, which means people themselves want the audiences to enjoy the film. Emphasizing on information more than the characterization is the key to success for any thriller film.
What is your take on comedy films, ever contemplated on making those as your expertise as well?
I personally cannot do the loud comedy films, which are successful today. I have always admired comic flicks made by Hrishikesh Mukhejee Golmaal, Choti Si Baat, Chupke Chupke have been my favourites. If I come across a subject like that, I will surely try working it out. Moreover, I am not comfortable doing any out an out comedy flick. I loved Munna Bhai, but I do not think I can make that film.
Initially you worked with RGV, ever considered going back?
Oh! That is understood. I do not have any problem with Ramu. Normally, he prefers to be the creative ideator in all his films. However, if in future he feels that I can do justice to an idea suggested by him, I will be more than glad to work on it. I will definitely work with him. I had a good time working with him earlier, so definitely I will not hesitate to going back.
You said that Ramu prefers his own ideas. Does working with him leave any room for creativity?
It depends, for instance Johnny Gaddaar was entirely my idea. I would have resisted any suggestions if it were not acceptable to me. On the contrary, if the subject has originated from him like the film Ek Haseena Thi, I would combine our inputs for the best of the film.
How was Neil selected for Johnny Gaddaar?
I was destined to meet Neil, guess it was just fate and luck. We met accidentally at a common acquaintance's office. And Neil happened to read the synopsis of Johnny Gaddaar, which I was carrying. Honestly, I had expected a very casual response However, Neil seemed to be very excited about everything. Then, we met a couple of times after that and looking at his enthusiasm, I offered him the role. He went through an audition process and gave his best performance ever. However, it took me two and half months to decide and make my final decision. And he finally bagged the role.
Is it true that you are working on another Johnny flick called Johnny Tokyo with Neil?
The idea of Johnny Tokyo took birth while I was discussing things post Johnny Gaddaar release. It was then that somebody suggested me to make a sequel to Johnny Gaddaar, which is not possible considering the scope of the film. Instead, I thought of making another thriller with a difference in characters and locations. Its still an idea which still needs a lot of brainstorming as these kind of stories take a lot of time for scripting and has to be mathematically plotted after which one does the characterization. If we think of it now, we could possibly do it after two years or so. For that matter, it has not even gone into scripting yet; we have bouncing ideas and casual conversation going on. Right now, my prime importance is John and Ash's romantic flick and Agent Vinod. And I feel that by making a romantic flick I will break the monotony, otherwise you tend to become repetitive.
What about signing Neil for Johnny Tokyo?
Scripting would be first thing on the agenda then I would be likely to take any decision over the signing of star cast. I didn't sign Neil first and then worked for Johnny Gaddaar. I had a script ready for Johnny Gaddaar, I was looking for the right actor and Neil was there. He will definitely be my first choice if he suits the character in my script. Right now I would want him to work with different directors, gains lot of experience and become an actor as much as a star.
Why this sudden fascination towards name, Johnny?
(Laughs) Earlier, it was because I liked Johnny Mera Naam and now because people like the name Johnny Gaddaar.
Is it true that somebody else would be scripting Johnny Tokyo?
Yes, for a simple reason that I am not into multitasking, right now I am focusing on my upcoming films. However, if I find somebody who is a good writer who shares my way of thinking, then I can always spend some time to react, read, and suggest some changes. That is how the scripts are made usually. In addition, I am open to anybody who comes up with the something interesting.
What is Agent Vinod with Saif Ali Khan going to be all about?
Agent Vinod, as the name suggests is the story of a spy. It is not a remake of the Rajshri film, it only happens to share the same title. It is a realistic film and not a spoof or comic James Bond. It is full of action pieces, thrills, and characters.
Have you selected any other stars for the film?
I hope to sign by the end of this year.
When will it go on floor and expected to release?
We will start shooting by mid of next year and early 2009 would witness the release.
Any other project in the pipeline?
My hands are full with the projects right now and thinking of something else would be doing injustice to my other projects. I am too busy with this work. However, I am open to anybody who comes up with anything interesting.