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10-22-2009, 10:35 AM #1
Just A Minute With: Sujoy Ghosh on 'Aladin'
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Six years after he first made a mark with the low-budget comedy "Jhankaar Beats", filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh is back with a tale of fantasy.
"Aladin" is Ghosh's biggest project yet -- Bollywood's take on Aladin's fabled magic lamp, starring veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan as the genie.
Ghosh spoke to Reuters about directing India's biggest star and the "Aladin" journey.
Q: Have you changed Aladin's story at all in this film?
A: "It is my take on the old fable. The main character in this film is called Aladin and he always gets bullied in school. People make him rub lamps and expect him to make a genie appear. He keeps telling them that he can't but one day in the process of this bullying, he happens to rub a lamp, and a genie does appear.
"So that is my take on the whole fable, where you remain true to the core of your story, but you give it a different format, in terms of marketing, presentation, visuals etc. So I would like to think it is a modern take on this age-old tale."
Q: What was the challenge in doing it differently, especially because people have made films on Aladin before?
A: "Since the core story is the same thing, it is about how you present it. You have to present it in a manner that will keep the audience captivated, because everything has been done before, so how do you keep doing something new? So that was the challenge before us. But I do think that we have managed to achieve that, and we have managed to give something new to the audience."
Q: The special effects in this film have been talked about a lot. Was it difficult not to let them get in the way of the story?
A: "The special effects can only support the story. They can make a good story better, they can't make a bad story good. The reason the special effects were talked about is because of the kind of audience we are targeting, which is between ages 15 to 24 and their summer movie is something like a 'Jaws' or a 'Spiderman'. So we have to try and achieve a certain benchmark.
"Visually, it has to match up to a certain Hollywood standard so that is why the special effects got talked about."
Q: A lot of Bollywood films which have used special effects have been criticised for neglecting the story and missing the woods for the trees. What is your take on this?
A: "The special effects are just one of the tools I am using to tell my story, just like editing, cinematography or music. For me that never took on any more importance than any of these other facilities. The learning process was maybe more but at the end of the day its utility is the same as the other facilities."
Q: This film marks a departure from your earlier films, especially when it comes to the budget and the scale.
A: "It didn't make too much of a difference to the way I directed the film, but when we were shooting, we knew it had to be a big film because of the production. But yes, it is a different film from my earlier ones, just the scale and genre is totally different."
Q: Can you talk about your directing Amitabh Bachchan?
A: "Mr Bachchan is an institution and just getting to work with him is a dream come true. We didn't see anyone else in the role of the genie. It is nerve-wracking to direct him, but on set he is very professional. If you shiver while talking to him, that is your fault, he isn't doing anything to make you shiver."
10-22-2009, 07:11 PM #2