Do you set out to get the subject after you zero in on any star
I never think of the actor first. It is only after I finalize the script that I set out to approach any actor if I find him suitable for the role. Anil Kapoor had last acted in VIRASAT for me and Ajay had acted in AKROSH and I felt that they were the apt choices for TEZZ.
Why did it take you a long time to complete TEZZ
It is very easy to shoot a comedy film but quite tough to shoot an action packed thriller like TEZZ. I completed the entire shooting of KAMAAL DHAMAAL MAALAMAAL in just 38 days. It took me a year and a half to shoot TEZZ. The film was delayed because we had to shoot in - 9 degrees and there were times people working in the film used to fall sick and the scale of the film too was different.
Is TEZZ a remake of Burning Train or Speed
First of all, please do not compare my film TEZZ with a bad film like THE BURNING TRAIN. Let me reiterate that my film TEZZ has got nothing to do with SPEED. TEZZ is about the illegal immigrants from India. I was happy when a fellow filmmaker like Ramgopal Verma told me that my film has the look of a Hollywood film. I too feel that my film looks like a Hollywood film. I am expecting my producer to make money with the film.
How you manage to get work on time from actors who are known for delays.
Whether it was Govinda in BHAAGAMBHAAG, Salman Khan in KYONKI or Nana Patekar in KAMAAL DHAMAAL MAALAMAAL, no actor has ever interfered with me. Once the late actor Amrish Puri told me that every actor has the right to ask why and if the director answers him, the actor trusts him. I agree with what Amrishji had told me.
Can you believe it; I could complete BHAAGAMBHAAG with Govinda in just 30 days? Govinda even reported at the dot of 5.30 am on the sets of BHAAGAMBHAAG in London.
Do you make films to make money or to deserve creative satisfaction
I make all kinds of films. I put stupidity and slapstick purposely to cater to the masses. I strongly feel that one cannot have critical acclaim as well as money. I got my Padmashri after I made KANCHIPURAM. If I
make films like KANCHIPURAM and KALA PANI to derive creative satisfaction, I set out to make films like HERA PHERI and TEZZ just to make money. I have made art as well as commercial films too but I do not at all believe in vulgarity of any kind and hence I set out to make even commercial films with a little bit of respectability. I do not know any other job other than filmmaking.
How would you look back at your 31 year career
It is my 31st year in films. I started my career at the young age of just 19 and have since my first film, directed as many as 84 films, including TEZZ.
Santosh Sivan and I are now planning to make a film in Hindi with Jacky Bhagnani and rank new comers. I would say that it will be an action film which will set out to tackle the problems that the youth. My film will set out to drive home the message that today divorces happen only because the youth mistake lust for love. I will also direct a film for Akshay Kumar, who will produce and act in the Hindi remake of my own Malayalam hit ARABIYUM OTTAGAVUM MADHAVAN NAYARUM. The Malayalam original starred Mohanlal along with Bhavana and Lakshmi Rai. It was an out and out comedy.
Your time management with actors who are famous for being late has been remarkable.. how you manage the ones who edit out their co –star scenes.
I edit all my films only in Chennai. No actor will bother to come all the way to Chennai to interfere with editing. (Laughs).