Tell us something about Umar.
"Umar" is about the hardships and struggle in the lives of the older people. The callous attitude of the society towards the aged and the tantalising effects it casts on them. But the oldies in my movie are not the ones from the depressed lot. They are determined people fighting for a cause. It's basically about these three old guys played by Kader Khan, Prem Chopra and Satish Kaushik who are neglected by their families and how they stumble across Jimmy Shergill, who is a fugitive, wrongly accused. It's about the bond that develops between them and how they stand for each other's causes.
How did it all go about?
Actually, I had the script for the last 14 years but for some reasons things didn't materialize. Finally, when I narrated the story to P.D. Gupta, he liked it and decided to produce the film.
How is it different from all the other movies that had a similar theme?
I have taken into consideration the NRI community. It's probably for the first time people will witness the problems faced by Indians abroad, especially the aged people. Old age homes exist in foreign countries also. Hence, I felt the need to take up this subject. Though the story is about emotions and sentiments, I have tried to give it a more contemporary feel, scattering a good chunk of humor. I haven't made it melodramatic.
The cast of the movie is interesting.
Yeah. I am extremely happy that I got a chance to work with seasoned actors like Prem Chopra, Kader Khan and Satish Kaushik. They are all accomplished actors. Jimmy Shergill is playing he main protagonist while Shehnaz Treasurywala will play the female lead. Plus there are actors like Dalip Tahil and Shakti Kapoor, playing pivotal roles.
How did Shehnaz Treasurywala come into the picture?
I was looking for a fresh face for the heroine's role. It's a very bubbly and cheerful kind of a character. I saw Shehnaz in "Ishq Vishq" and then zeroed down on her as I thought she fitted the bill perfectly.
You have always worked with newcomers and met success. Do you see yourself as a star maker?
Star maker? I am just a filmmaker (laughs)! As far as the newcomers are concerned, I like to work with them as they lend certain freshness to the film. It's also a challenge as a director to extract the best and maximum out of them.
What is the USP of the film?
The title! I was thinking of a title that would be very telling when the word "Umar" just struck me. The title is definitely befitting and will surely attract the audiences.
Any special expectations from the audiences?
The audiences have always been receptive towards me. I have always tried to offer something new and entertaining. Even with "Umar" I have tried to put in my best. I hope the audiences will appreciate my efforts.
The music of "Umar" is something to watch out for. The music has been composed by Shamir Tandon and lyrics have been penned by Shaily Shailendra. It's after a gap of 14 years that Manna Dey has sung a song for a film. This would be a great relish for all Manna fans. Popular Ghazal singer Jagjit Singh has also provided his vocals for the film.