A story with twists

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CONFESSION TIME Raj Kaushal: `I am in the business of entertainment, not cinema'
CONFESSION TIME Raj Kaushal: `I am in the business of entertainment, not cinema'

Sanctimonious speeches are the last thing Raj Kaushal wants to give a middle-class family that spends close to a thousand bucks on a movie-going experience

Raj Kaushal insists he "has changed. When I made Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi (1999) I was young and I wanted to prove myself. Then I got married (to actor/TV personality Mandira Bedi) and I made Shaadi Ke Laddoo (2004) and now is the time for the seven-year itch and so Anthony Kaun Hai!Describing the film as a "breezy thriller," Kaushal says: "The comedy is subtle. It is like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron. The film has everything from romance to action, jailbreak, and robbery - all elements of a potboiler. Audience now have become very knowing. They can look at a poster and say what the film is about. They can see the first five minutes of a film and predict what comes next and then they have this big grin on their face and an `I told you so' lurking in the background. With Anthony what we have done is given twists and turns to keep the audience guessing all through. It will completely surprise you," Kaushal promises.The casting was just serendipity. "No one but Arshad Warsi and Sanjay Dutt could play those roles. The idea is to create inquisitiveness. And yes, the hit pair of Munnabhai was a help and a hindrance. Help because it helped create a buzz and hindrance because it comes with attendant baggage."I can confidently say Anthony is not Munnabhai. If you look at the promos on telly, we have not played up the humour. And Sanjay Dutt is not a tapori... he wears Armani and drives a Ferrari. While Munnabhai was Mumbai-centric, Anthony is shot in Thailand. So it is all very different."Kaushal enjoyed shooting in Thailand because "the baht is close to the rupee, there is zero red-tapism, and it is the land of Zen Buddhism."Not a great fan of technique, Kaushal comments: "Technique is an ornament. I would feel a film has failed if all you remember are great shots. Empathy is more important than special effects. If you look at Krrish and think the effects are as good as Superman Returns, that is no good. But if you watch Krrish and think `Wow! What a wonderful superhero,' then the film has worked."While the world and his wife turning into Quentin Tarantino wannabes with talky gangsters and casual gory violence, Kaushal resolutely looks the other way. "I adore Tarantino's films but listen, I am in the business of entertainment, not cinema. If a middle-class family has spent close to Rs. 1,000 for an evening at the movies, I do not want to give them a bhashan (lecture). I want to give them cool lines, fashion tips, good songs... in short paisa vasool. Tarantino makes movies for a demographic that speaks one language - English. Here there are so many languages. That is why Anthony is not so pacy. Maybe a viewer in Bangalore might get the twists and turns but it might be difficult for someone in Hosur. We have to address a wider demographic."Kaushal is fluid about future plans. "It all depends on my evil genius of a scriptwriter, Soumik Sen. He is prodigious. I just have to idly say, `How would it be if we put such and such in this situation?' And by the next day he would have a script ready! So as of now there are seven scripts and like I was telling Soumik, the pace at which he writes is not the pace at which I can make films!"MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER




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