Abhishek was the first choice for 'Guru': Mani Ratnam
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Maverick filmmaker Mani Ratnam cannot seem to get enough of his "Yuva" lead Abhishek Bachchan who is playing the title role in his latest venture "Guru" which is releasing Friday.
Asked why he cast Abhishek in a role that required a huge historical and chronological journey, Ratnam told IANS: "Abhishek was the first choice for 'Guru' and I am very happy about his work.
"I think he is growing remarkably as an actor. If you shift me back to the start and ask me who you will cast as 'Guru' I will go back to Abhishek."
Though the film has some uncanny resemblances to the life of late industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani, Ratnam insists the plot is rooted in cinematic reality. "Hopefully, it'll have some connect with real life," said Ratnam.
This is also the second time Ratnam has worked with Aishwarya Rai.
"I was quite happy with what Aishwarya did in 'Irruvar'. I thought she was quite remarkable, given that it was her first film and in a language (Tamil) that she did not know. In 'Guru' she was speaking Hindi, so it must have been much easier for her.
Ratnam says Aishwarya has done the role with a lot of dignity and poise.
"She remained very close to the character and has done it with ease. In a film that is based on 'Guru' she stands tall and strong."
Ratnam has finished the film in a record time.
Why the rush? Is it because he needed to get into Aamir Khan-Kareena Kapoor starrer "Lajjo" right away?
"No rush at all! I'm just doing work that I am paid to do. It was planned as a single-schedule film and we finished our major work by June end. The Aamir-Kareena film has now been rescheduled to the second half of 2007."
Looking back, does Ratnam see "Yuva" as an experience that did not connect as much with the audience as he hoped it would?
He refuses to find excuses for the film's failure.
"There is always room to try something new. Be it in content or form or look. And when you try something new there is always a chance that that it may not connect fully with the audience. That is a risk that a filmmaker has to take.
"If you take the credit when it works, you have to take the blame when a film flops. But that should not stop you from growing and take a few more steps ahead. That's where 'Guru' has taken me."
R. Madhavan, Mithun Chakrabarty and Vidya Balan will also be seen in the film with the lead pair.