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    'Waqt...' is a totally Indian film: Vipul Shah

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Friday, April 22, 2005
    With the "Ankhein" cast behind him, and "Waqt - Race Against Time" around the corner, director Vipul Shah has managed to weave a creative cocoon around his career.

    His two films so far have been based on Gujarati plays, but as "Waqt..." starring Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and wife Shefali awaits release this week, the filmmaker feels it should appeal to all sections of the society.

    " ''Aankhen'' was a very stylish film, whereas ''Waqt...'' is very simple. I''ve completely changed the look and treatment. The emotional content of ''Waqt...'' is very high," he reveals about the family saga.

    "I''m working on two scripts (now). My next film will be completely different from ''Aankhen'' and ''Waqt...''," the soft spoken, unassuming Shah tells IANS in an interview.

    Success may come and go, but Vipul says his real joy is at home with wife and two sons: "You''ll never see Aditya Chopra at a party. And see how successful he is. You won''t find Sunny Deol in a party, either.

    "I won''t call myself a misfit. But I can''t dream of anything beyond films."

    Excerpts from the interview:

    How do you view your second film "Waqt..."?

    I'm very satisfied with the way "Waqt..." has shaped up. It's exactly the way I wanted to make it.

    "Aankhen" was a very stylish film, whereas "Waqt..." is very simple. I've completely changed the look and treatment. "Aankhen" was shot mostly indoors, whereas "Waqt" changes locations and moods many times over.

    The emotional content of "Waqt..." is very high. Before I started it, I went through turmoil.

    I could've shot it as stylishly as "Aankhen", but then this was a plot that needed to be filmed from the heart and not the mind.

    Why should technique take it away from the heart?

    True. But the camera needs to be more stable and non-judgemental in an emotional film.

    Even in Sanjay Bhansali's "Black", the camera movements aren't fancy and over-emphasized.

    "Waqt..." too looks beautiful. The camera movements are very simple and I allowed the script and actors to communicate the whole story to the audience.

    Is that why you changed your crew?

    No. My writer, Aatish Kapadia, is the same for both "Aankhen" and "Waqt...". Yes, I changed my producer because I wanted to produce my second film on my own. I needed to have people who believed in me. I've partners to fund the project.

    Both your films are based on Gujarati plays?

    Yes, Aatish Kapadia also wrote the play that inspired "Waqt...". "Waqt..." touched me, and not just because Aatish wrote it. I didn't want to make a fake and frivolous film on human relationships.

    The family conflicts on "Waqt..." are very real. It's about the kind of upbringing a father should give his child.

    Every father and son would identify with the proceedings in "Waqt...". I lost my father two years before I saw the play. I can't tell you how much I cried. It was embarrassing.

    Were Bachchan and Akshay Kumar pre-conditions for "Waqt..."?

    Actually, all three of us were very happy working together in "Aankhen". The two of them had told me to find another good script.

    When I saw the play, I asked Amitji to see it. He agreed it was great stuff for a movie adaptation. That's how "Waqt..." was born. Amitji plays the dream-father.

    He and Akshay were really comfortable working together. And when actors are having fun, it makes the director's job so much easier.

    You've cast your wife Shefali as Bachchan's wife...

    Initially, I was apprehensive. I thought people would say I was trying to promote my wife. So I didn't mention her name as a possible co-star to Amitji.

    I only wanted the pair to be fresh. If I had cast Hemaji, "Waqt..." would've been seen as an extension of "Baghban". I didn't want that.

    Then one day Amitji himself suggested Shefali. That took the burden off my head. We did a photo-shoot with Amitji, Shefali and Akshay. They looked like a family.

    The music by Anu Malik is already a hit, I believe.

    Today, every director has to be an active participant in making the music. The Holi song has caught on.

    Since the Holi sequence in "Waqt..." comes at a crucial juncture in the plot, I had told Anu Malik to take a completely different route.

    Your "Aankhen" had songs forced into it?

    I agree. When you're a newcomer, a lot of people influence you wrongly. Music should be used only per requirement. But yes, if there's scope for songs, I'm not letting go.

    What's the USP of "Waqt..."?

    The film will be familiar to every member of the Indian joint family. When they come out of the theatre, they'll carry something home with them, not just nice songs and dances.

    "Waqt..." is a totally Indian film. I expect it to run everywhere, not just in the multiplexes.

    But most of your colleagues think universal successes are a thing of the past!

    I wouldn't agree. It depends on the emotions you choose. "Baghban" did well everywhere. A father-son conflict doesn't have anything to do with any specific section of society.

    You seem to be a misfit in Bollywood.

    I won't call myself a misfit. But I can't dream of anything beyond films. True, I don't like partying. But you'll never see Aditya Chopra at a party. And see how successful he is. You won't find Sunny Deol in a party either. I can't keep faking happiness for two whole hours.

    My real joy is at home with my wife and two sons. I have my own circle of friends and am absolutely content with life.

    I'm currently working on two scripts. I want to make every film of mine different from one another. My next film will be completely different from "Aankhen" and "Waqt...".


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