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    NRI ready with Indo-Bulgarian Bollywood action flick

    [Interview by Viral Bhayani]
    Saturday, September 04, 2004
    Bulgarian based NRI Asad Sikander is in the business of importing cigarettes and sugar, is a fourth-degree Black Belt and now hopes to make it good in Bollywood with the first Indo-Bulgarian action flick "Bullet", in which he plays the protagonist.

    "I wanted to make a Hindi film in an international format with lot of special effects. ''Bullet'' fulfilled my ambitions. On the whole it was a novel experience," Sikandar told IANS in an interview.

    He contended he was ideally placed to produce such a film, having been action coordinator for more than a dozen Hollywood movies starring the likes of Jean Claude Van Damne, Steven Seagal and others.

    "Bullet" also stars Iqbal Khan (who debut film was "Fun2shh") and Asseem Merchant. Miss Bulgaria Natalia Kurgova, Rosy Vanarose, Saasha, Sahili and Saadhika provide the female support. Jointly written by Faaiz Salim and Shahid, the film is directed by Irfan Khan.

    Excerpts from an interview:

    As the title suggests, the film looks more on the action side...

    Yes, "Bullet - On Target" is a spy thriller with loads of exciting action sequences.

    The villains are techno-savvy and use technology like cyber space and satellites too. International nuclear espionage - that is what the film is all about.

    The film was shot non-stop for 70 days in Bulgaria with all-Bulgarian crews. We have lot of action never seen before on the screen.

    I play the role of a Kashmiri terrorist. (Miss Bulgaria) Natalia Kurgova plays my wife. The film has more of Hindi dialogues with little bit of English and Bulgarian (similar to Russian) language. I want all my movies to convey a message.

    What prompted you to make your first Bollywood movie?

    I have been based in Bulgaria for decades. We are in the business of sugar and cigarettes. Besides, I am a fourth degree Black Belt.

    I have 20 years of experience in martial arts. I am also an action coordinator for Hollywood films. I have provided action to more than a dozen Hollywood films, which had stars like Jean Claude Van Damne, Steven Seagal and others. So I had knowledge about films.

    I wanted to make a Hindi film in an international format with lot of special effects. "Bullet" fulfilled my ambitions. On the whole, it was a novel experience.

    Is there a song in the film? How does it fin in?

    The song is the part of the story. It plays in the background in a discotheque in Bulgaria and is interwoven with a reminder of Asseem Merchant's lost love when he comes to Bulgaria for the first time and visits the pub.

    Why did you pick Daler Mehndi to sing the song?

    It was music director Anand Raaj Anand's idea. He felt adding Daler Mehndi would give more weightage to the film and the song. Daler is known worldwide when it comes to singing Indian pop music and this will give the film added media mileage.

    Daler Mehndi has been hogging the limelight in India for being on the wrong side of the law. Won't it prove controversial and affect the prospects of the film?

    It is that a singer of his calibre had to go through those strenuous periods. I do not know much about his legal hassles. But you have to give him breathing space.

    Life is like a two sides of a coin. We cannot forget his popularity as a singer. We roped in a talented singer and Daler has done full justice to the film. I am not worried of any controversies good or bad...it will certainly help the film.

    What are your release plans?

    If everything goes according to plan, I will release the film in April (2005). I also intend to dub the film in various Indian and foreign languages.

    What next?

    My next is titled as "Namaste India". It's about am ancient martial art that originates in Kerala and traverses to Europe. It's still in the pre-production stage.


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