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    Mohit Ahlawat makes 'James' possible: Rohit

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Saturday, September 24, 2005
    Debutant director Rohit Jugraj, whose "James" released last week, is all praise for hero Mohit Ahlawat, whose character in the film, he says, "is an amalgamation of all my childhood heroes".

    "Without him ''James'' wouldn''t have been possible. It would''ve looked like just another routine action film," Jugraj says.

    "''James'' is supposed to be my tribute to all the masala films that I grew up watching, from ''Charas'' and ''Don'' to Ramu''s ''Shiva'' and ''Desperado'' and of course ''First Blood''. Mohit is an amalgamation of all my childhood heroes," Jugraj told IANS in an interview.
    On Mohit, he says: "He lifts the routine story. I wanted a fresh face that would remind audiences of all the great action heroes, the saviour-angels like Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan who represented hope and heroism. I think Mohit has that quality of exceptional heroism.
    "Without him 'James' wouldn't have been possible. It would've looked like just another routine action film. In fact the whole project was tailored to suit Mohit's personality. I'm glad I proved a good darzi (tailor)...
    "I'm not too sure about how audiences in the metros have reacted. But in the northern belt audiences are clapping and cheering at Mohit's hero acts."
    And, believe it or not, Jugraj is the seventh new director in our movie theatres in two weeks, after Aaditya Datt ("Aashiq Banaya Aapne"), Sanjay Dayma ("Ramji Londonwale"), Kannika Verma ("Dansh"), Siddarth Raj Anand ("Salaam Namaste"), Ruchi Narain ("Kal") and Bappaditya Roy ("Sau Jhooth Ek Sach").
    Going by his rather blunt dismissal of offbeat or socially conscious films, it would seem as though Jugraj has little patience with some of his other debut-making colleagues' works.
    "If 'James' doesn't work I'll have to make those NRI/HIV films," he laughs, referring to some recent films that have done their own thing without caring for the audiences' response.
    Rohit seems to believe in his hero completely.

    "Mohit stands on a par with Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan who I believe are among the best today. The sincerity in his eyes and the confidence in his body language are amazing.
    "In fact I didn't make him take off his shirt in the film. That's what all brawny action heroes do. Why do the expected? I wanted to save the chest and the rest for the next."
    And what's the next one going to be?

    "See, the full-on action genre really turns me on. So my next film will have lots of action. But it will be more like an action love story," says this erstwhile assistant to Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
    "One day I hope to pay homage to Sanjay by making a film like 'Khamoshi'. 'James' is the opposite of 'Khamoshi'. No respite from the sound of ongoing action.
    "But I don't want the action to be gory. I agree parts of 'James' are too bloodied. But that's to do with the quality of films Ramu makes. You can't get away from a certain look."
    About his next...

    "See I studied filmmaking in New York. While I was there I also moonlighted as a flower delivery boy. So I want a bouquet of assorted flowers in my career.
    "I want to make all kinds of films with all sorts of producers. Ram Gopal Varma may not be my next producer. There're a couple of other producers who are interested," says Rohit, who was studying medicine when filmmaking beckoned.
    Rohit wants to make films for the masses. "'James' is the kind of action film I used to cheer for. I hope the audience cheers for me. Otherwise, there's always the next NRI movie to be made!"


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