By Subhash K. Jha, Bollywood Hungama News Network
Formula No. 44. That's the title of Samir Karnik's next film. "It's my first action-packed film. It'd be my first thriller. After a romantic film, then a film about man-child bonding and now a travelogue, I think I need some physical action in my cinema," says Samir Karnik
15 years ago, Samir Karnik and a friend, photographer Anant Vijay Singh, took off on a motorcycle journey through Punjab, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh. That journey, undertaken by the two friends to deliver an automobile for the BBC to its destination, has become Karnik's film.
"I don't know why people think Heroes is a remake of Walter Salles' Motorcyle Diaries. The only thing in common between Motorycle Diaries and my film is the motorcycle. It could easily have been a truck. In fact, Tata offered us a tie-up. But how would Sohail Khan and Vatsal Sheth have looked riding on a truck through India making a film on why not to join the army?"
That's what Sohail and Vatsal set out to do in Heroes. Recalls Karnik, "Initially I named my film Mera Bharat Mahaan...because that's what Sohail and Vatsal name the film they're making. Then I realized the patriotic overtones were too overpowering. So I changed the title."
"They echo my journey fifteen years ago with my friend. While riding pillion with Vatsal Seth, Sohail even has nasty fall. I've retained the shot in the film."
Heroes is a tribute to its director's love for the great outdoors. "I don't like making my films in studios. I'd rather go out there and feel the breeze on my face. I've always gone into unexplored territory even in my first film Kyun, Ho Gaya Na."
Karnik had to rush-release Heroes. "When we heard Nikhil Advani's Chandni Chowk To China was being pulled out of the pre-Diwali week we rushed to grab it."
Karnik admits that the Viveik Oberoi-Aishwarya Rai starrer became a bit of an off-screen joke. "I got stabbed in the back. The industry boycotted me. It was a pretty bleak phase for me until Bobby came along. His support resurrected my career."
And now Karnik has dedicated Heroes to Bobby. "He doesn't know it yet. But his wife Tanya saw my dedication in the opening titles and she broke down. Bobby is the most chilled-out guy I've met. Our comfort level goes beyond work. We did Nanhe Jaisalmer together (where he played Bobby Deol) and we've one complete film Roshan (starring Bobby and Kangna Ranaut) waiting release. In Heroes, I've cast Bobby and Sunny as brothers. It couldn't be any other way. Everyone from Mithun Chakraborty to Preity Zinta to Dino Morea has offered me full support. I've forgotten the dark period I went through after Kyun Ho Gaya Na."
And yes, Bobby will star in Formula No. 44.