Music Launch of 'Asambhav'
Rajiv Rai is stylish in every sense of the word. Having arrived for the press conference of his film Asambhav at the TIPS office, the atmosphere is all charged up. If there are any pre-release jitters, they are not apparent. Even Arjun Rampal, dressed in a brown shirt, looks calm and composed. Priyanka Chopra looks as stunning in real life as she does on the big screen. She too does not show any sign of nervousness. Facing the camera, all three begin to answer questions that we journalists pose.
Lets take a look as to what the three have to say. (Excerpts)
Asambhav is not an age barred film. Even people in their 40' and 50's will love it. It is more youth centered, as they have all the time in the world to watch movies. Asambhav is a universal film. It has been edited very slickly. Viju Shah has composed the music for all my films except one. The music of Gupt has gone on for seven years. Indian film music is an important ingredient today. The idea is to make something brand new. It is a realistic film. We shot in Locarno for 65 days in a row. Locarno is a beautiful place adjoing Italy. There is no romance in the film; there is no dream sequence. Romance has hardly been shown. It is an action packed film that is full of adventure. The film is not a human clash. There is a fair amount of comedy. There are underlying emotions. Emotions are the backbone of Indian films. It is a story that could not have been done 10 years back. Excitement was about the fact that it is a thriller. It is not an art film (laughs). That genre is over. It is time for crossover films. I don't copy American films. These subjects are happening more outside. However, you think that you are making an American film and you are catering to an Indian mind. The film 'Mission Impossible' does not inspire the title. 'Asambhav' is a very heavy-duty north Indian title.
Goes on to speak about Arjun Rampal).
I've spent a lot of time with Arjun. He's capable of good action. There was no doubt in my mind as to what I was doing here. If you are doing an action film, you need to have an actor who can carry off the role. If he's too much into acting, then it does not work. If an actor does not have the necessary body movements, the walk, the attitude, then what can you do? You feel extremely handicapped. Arjun is very good as an action hero. We also did not take any risks with the film. We didn't do stunts, just because they looked nice. I was only concerned about safety.
This is my first action film. I wouldn't do my first action film with anyone else. I have been doing romantic films. But even after doing Asambhav, I'm not scared of being typecast as an action hero! I play a role of a commando. We had special outfits made (that of paratroopers). The cops in the film look real, and even the theme of espionage is very interesting. The technique is very Indian. This is not a mission impossible kind of film. I trained hard for the film. I did karate for 6 months. I was on a special diet.
(Priyanka adds in her bit). " We all used to tease him, with all that delicious food, the pastas, the Italian pizzas". Arjun sportingly smiles and confesses, "I was eating boiled eggs". Asked if he ever wanted to join the army, Rampal Claims" I've never wanted to join the army. Both my grandfathers were in the army. My brother is in the army. I guess when everyone wants you to do something; you always land up doing the opposite". Arjun also thinks that Naseer is fantastic and unbelievable in the film.
I was coaxed very well. It was very tempting. I agreed and we started shooting in Switzerland. There is an undercurrent of romance in the film. I am basically a singer, who does small time shows in nightclubs. It's basically a five-day story. It was very interesting shooting, because I got to dodge and shoot bullets. (Smiles). It was a very close knot unit. No on lost touch. (Goes on about Naseeruddin Shah). He is just fabulous in the film. His voice is unreal. You cannot believe its him singing.
Questions to the director:
You have roped in a lot of models for the film. Is it to add glamour to your film?
I wanted a very western look to the film; I wanted it to look stylish. I have roped in many models because I wanted my film to look fresh and stylish. Models have a lot of exposure, they are very confident in front of the camera. There are a lot of fresh faces coming into acting. I wanted fresh faces for my film. The modeling industry can act. It's not fair to pinpoint. Arjun himself was a model.
Espionage films usually promote a lot of hidden ideologies. Did you consciously keep that in mind when making your film, which deals with the theme of espionage?
Rajiv Rai: I was seeing CNN the other day, what was happening in Iraq, what was happening to the Japanese soldiers, the Italian soldiers. And I thought to myself, this is exactly what my film is, what I had thought two years back. The story and screenplay are mine. There are a lot of hidden ideologies in the film, but they are not harmful. It is not an attack against India or Pakistan. I am portraying a very vulnerable situation. It is how the world is, how India is, what people can do, what can happen. In that manner, yes, there are a lot of hidden ideologies. If you read between the lines, you'll know what I mean; you will understand what I am saying. But on the whole, it is a fun film. The film is very pacy.
Aren't there chances that the audience might misinterpret the film?
Rajiv Rai: Audiences are not like critics. And therefore, the film will not have a negative impact. They wont misinterpret it, because it isn't dark, it isn't gory. It is an illusion of reality. There is a lot of action, which the audience will enjoy.
Interestingly, the entire film is digitalized. Moreover, no duplicates have been used in recording. It is a very slick film slated for a July release. Naseeruddin Shah has recorded the first song of the film. Even director Rajiv Rai has given his voice to the film, and this is all music director Viju Shah's idea! Director Rajiv Rai is very optimistic about the film. There is no hit formula for any film. (He states that rather emphatically). Lets hope, this is one of the biggest successes in the history of film making in India.