Abhinav Kashyap, who debuts with Dabangg, says stars are vital to his film, not issues
Comparisons are inevitable. Every child entering his father's world and every kid brother making a foray into an industry where his older sibling has already carved a niche for himself is expected to live up to a certain standard, if not raise the bar. And debutant director Abhinav Kashyap is no exception.
All set for the release of the Salman Khan starrer “Dabangg”, an ecstatic Abhinav says: “These past few months have been crazy but in a good way. The movie is more than just a masala flick.”
So are we going to see Sallu Bhai in his typical onscreen badass avatar? “No and that's the USP of this film,” Abhinav retorts. “Chulbul Pandey (Salman) is an atypical guy. His personality has varying shades so this is bound to be a treat for all Salman Khan fans.”
While Abhinav did the casting on his own accord, he took Salman Khan's suggestion when it came to the female lead. “Sonakshi Sinha was apt for the role. She isn't going to be the glitzy and glamourous type of heroine but she's a real beauty. Apart from that, she was the best pick because she speaks Hindi fluently.”
Abhinav is a rare exception to the new breed of Bollywood directors who cast more than one fresh face and who don't think star casts are crucial to a film's success at the box office. “I'd wanted people who are seen as stars in my film. Salman is one of the most magnanimous celebrities in the industry and considering I'm the kind of guy who focuses on people and not issues, stars are vital to my films.”
Therein, one notices that Abhinav and Anurag Kashyap are poles apart. “Anurag makes the issue-based films that have won him critical acclaim. I'm the type who believes in making commercial potboilers. For me, issues will always be a backdrop, characters will be pivotal. Moreover, I'm just a small fry so how can I offer a solution to some burning issue?” Abhinav asks.
But this doesn't affect the relationship the brothers share. “We are family. Quite obviously we discuss things with each other, including our work. We give and take suggestions, compliments and criticism just like other siblings do.”
Not dream debut
Stating that “Dabangg” isn't typically the film he'd always dreamed of making a debut with, Abhinav says: “There were many ideas I'd had but ‘Dabangg' is what materialised first. So there was no conscious decision involved in making this my directorial debut.”
Any particular reason why he took rather long to make himself more visible in Bollywood? “I'm the happy-go-lucky kind of person. I've tried my hand at different things from writing to working in TV serials. I was even assistant director on ‘Yuva'. I've always gone with the flow and that's how I'm here now, exactly where I'm supposed to be.”