Nadiadwala takes Akshay Kumar to Hollywood

Mumbai, March 14 (IANS) After doing back-to-back comedies last year, it looks like Bollywood's star Akshay Kumar is hell bent on making 2008 his year of actioners.

In producer Sajid Nadiadwala's "Kambakth Ishq", he plays a Hollywood stuntman and it will be shot in Universal Studios.

"This would be the first Indian film to be shot within Universal Studios. We've got the permission not only to shoot within the studio but also to use their logo. Akshay plays a stuntman from Universal Studios. We also had amazing superstars from Hollywood. We're working out the legal aspects," Nadiadwala told IANS.

Apart from that, Akshay will be seen in Nikhil Advani's full on action flick "Chandni Chowk to China".

"Kambakth Ishq" is to be shot in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and the producer has roped in a new director Sabir Khan to helm the film.

"It'll also star 12-15 leading actors from Hollywood in various parts. It's a candyfloss, 'safe' film. We had to bring in an extra gloss in the backdrop. That's why Hollywood.

"When I produced 'Mujhse Shaadi Karogi', it was the first beach film in Bollywood. After that we had dozens of beach films in Hindi. Likewise my 'Jaan-e-Mann' was the first romantic comedy with visual effects. While making full-on commercial films we need to change the backdrop."

Nadiadwala agrees shooting "Kambakth Ishq" in Hollywood won't be an easy task.

"It will be expensive, yes. We'll have 40-50 crewmembers flying to LA. We're thinking of chartering a flight from Mumbai. It'll be more economical. Or maybe we should just buy a jet," he joked.

This is Nadiadwala's most ambitious film to date with a budget of Rs.600 million. Kareena Kapoor plays a brand model.

Why a new director for such a lavish film?

"Sabir Khan has grown up in front of me. He assisted in my production 'Mujhse Shaadi Karogi'. He is a very hardworking. And if you're suggesting that I should've first let Sabir make a smaller film then let me say I don't make small films. I've dreamt 70mm dreams from before that format was invented."

Recently, the producer has been signing a lot of new directors.

"After a lot of introspection, my company has decided that we need to continue making commercial films, but with a little deviation. That's where my three new directors Sabir Khan, Siddharth Anand and Imtiaz Ali come in. They have the discipline of commercial cinema and the ability to take cinema further.

"Siddharth's film, which will probably star Saif Ali Khan and Ranbir Kapoor, isn't the routine candyfloss film. We start at the end of 2008. Siddharth wants to do something different. So do I. It's a film set against Mumbai. It isn't a dark film. But not frothy either."

Imtiaz Ali will first direct a film for Saif's production house.

"After that in March-April 2009 Imtiaz will make a film for me. I think his forte is romance. We'll go by that. I'd like to take a little risk with the successful directors though."

Pushing the envelope isn't seen as a healthy trend in some quarters of Bollywood, if we go by the opposition to Ashutosh Gowariker's "Jodhaa Akbar".

"No," protested Nadiadwala. "I think 'Jodhaa Akbar' was commercially viable from the start. Not a single critic questioned Gowariker for making the film. The promos weren't that good. But in five-six places in the film we stood up and clapped."

Asked how he picks his directors, Nadiadwala said: "I don't look at the directors' success graph. In 2006, I gave a break to Shirish Kunder in 'Jaan-e-Mann' when he was a film editor. In 2008, I took on Sajid Khan, who had no background in movies. In fact, he was a stand-up comedian and a critic. To put a commercial Rs.450 million project on his shoulders needed some guts and vision.

"Though 'Jaan-e-Mann' didn't do well, I'm proud of it. My biggest blunder was to release it alongside another big commercial film, 'Don'. It was one of the biggest blunders of my career. I failed with my release strategy. I take full responsibility."

He becomes introspective.

"This is my 54th year in the industry. I must've inherited the filmy genes from my father. I do feel alone. I wish I had a sibling or a partner. My son is just a child. Yes, I've a first-cousin Feroz Nadiadwala who's also a very successful producer. I did work with him for two years. But we chose to work separately."

Why not direct a film?

"I do a lot of homework on all the scripts that I produce. But I'm too sensitive and shy to instruct a hundred people on the set. I won't be able to shoot with an actor I don't like. I'm an escapist in real life. Maybe I can direct a good escapist entertainer."

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