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    Jan 2010

    Default “If The Character Demands, I’d Audition Even My Tv Actress-Wife Indu Before Casting H

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    Abhishek Sharma, director of Tere Bin Laden tells Jyothi Venkatesh that the writer is superior to the Abhishek Sharma director, because the story emerges first; the portrayal on the celluloid comes only later.

    In what way, is your film Tere Bin Laden different?

    Since Tere Bin Laden is based in Pakistan, our Director of Photography shot in Pakistan in actual locales with line producer Rashid Sami. Tere Bin Laden is different but at the same time is an out and out entertainer. People say that it is risky to attempt something which is fresh. I do not know why, because you have to entertain with something out of the box and new. As a filmmaker, I believe in showing rather than just saying that I have a film that is different from the rest. The biggest problem we have to face is that people won’t trust you unless you prove it to them that you are capable of making something which is entertaining.

    The title of your film does not reveal what its content is!

    ‘I Shot Osama’ was the original title I contemplated for my film but it fell through because we felt that it was not comic enough. We needed a comic title in Hindi because we wanted to communicate with the layman. The teasers of my film were played during the promos of Shah Rukh Khan’s My Name Is Khan on YouTube. Can you believe that we got as many as one lakh hits on YouTube? The teasers actually gave the flavor of the film to the audience, who were wondering what on earth the film could be because they just couldn’t make out the content from the title.

    Why did you cast actors from NSD in your film?

    I had graduated from the National School of Drama way back in 2001 in designing and direction. I made it a point to cast a few acting graduates from the National School of Drama in my film. After Ashutosh Rana, I admit, there has been a lull and not many NSD actors were seen in Bollywood films. After a long time, you will see Piyush Mishra, who is an enigmatic genius, in a pivotal role in Tere Bin Laden.

    Did you cast Zafar Ali first and only then write the character of Ali Hassan?

    Zafar Ali is playing the lead in my film. It is just a coincidence that even before I had zeroed in on Zafar I had named the character as Ali Hassan in my film. I believe in creating a character as a writer, without any bias or preconceived notion about the cast. I do this for the simple reason that I feel it is always the job of the director to cast an actor in any role in a film. We wanted a good looker, who is not only a good actor but also looks like a Pakistani national. It helped the film a lot in its authenticity since Zafar Ali is a Pakistani. I had seen Zafar Ali in a music video in some channel or the other. Though I called for him, when he came for the audition, unfortunately I was in Pakistan and it was producer Aarti who had taken the screen test. We loved him when we watched the screen test and he was on.

    Since Zafar is a singer and not an actor, how did you prepare him for your film?

    Zafar is not exactly new to acting since during his college days he had acted in a sitcom and dabbled in theatre too, besides being a singer. However, I did ask Zafar to attend a workshop by Barry John but it was not to train them in acting but because I wanted to build the chemistry with all the six or seven actors in the film by throwing them together under one roof.

    Tell me about your leading lady Sugandha Garg!

    Sugandha Garg plays the role of Zoya in my film. She had earlier appeared in Jaane Tu Yaa Na Jaane Na. Sugandha is not the conventional leading lady in my film because the character of Ali is so focused on going to USA that he has no time to indulge in romance. The character of Ali is such that he would rather settle down with an American girl as his wife than opt for a Pak girl.

    What message have you driven home through your film?

    Post 26/11, my film needed a satirical look. I thought of commenting on the scenario in a comical way to entertain the audiences in a unique manner. As a filmmaker, I do not believe in driving home any message as much as in commenting, because in that case you will be biased, since when you are commenting, you do not tell what to do to the audience.

    Do you lay more emphasis on the form or the content, as a director?

    It is always the content that dictates the form. I feel that the writer is superior to the director, because while the story emerges first, the telling on the celluloid comes only later. If the writer and the director are different, the writer may write in a linear format, whereas the director may opt for the non linear style because it is after all the director’s choice. Memento was non-linear because the story required the format. Even Dibakar Banerjee’s LSD also had a non-linear format. Mine is a laugh-out-loud comedy and hence I did not want to be experimental. Even Run Lola Run, Roshomon etc were non-linear but today it has become a fashion statement to be non-linear.

    Did you assist any director before you decided to take the plunge as a director?

    I have not assisted any director. Before pitching in a project, I wanted to understand its business and hence joined Adlabs. Tere Bin Laden is Pooja’s first ever in-house Hindi film. Direction is nothing but story telling through the camera. You should get friendly with the cameras. You do not become an assistant to a writer to become a writer. You can create your own voice and signature of your own, if you take a camera and start shooting. If you bring out a fresh perspective and think out of the box, you will have people to back you. As a director, mostly I like to follow the instinct of the writer inside me. A film is a director’s medium. I look up to directors like Mani Ratnam Sir, Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor, K. Asif, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Vishal Bharadwaj etc.

    Why did you not cast your actress wife in your film?

    My father has taught me that family and business should be different things. Actors need attention. I should know, because my wife Indu is a TV actor. The moment you get into temptations beyond the story, like money, stars etc, you are corrupted as an artiste. If the character demands, I’d audition even my wife and cast her only if she is suitable for the role. I don’t seek her help to contact TV people.

    What next, after Tere Bin Laden?

    I have not yet decided what to launch after Tere Bin Laden, because till the DVDs of my film are released, the film will not be out of my mind.



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