Ashutosh Gowariker, an ace director, actor, writer and producer, is known to make movies, set on a huge canvas. He has made remarkable movies like LAGAAN, SWADES, and JODHAA AKBAR. But his last few films WHAT'S YOUR RAASHEE? and KHELEIN HUM JEE JAAN SEY, way back in 2010, were duds. And since then the filmmaker sort of took a sabbatical. Now he is coming up with the most talked about ancient civilization Harappa & Mohenjo Daro through a film MOHENJO DARO, which took him two years to pen down.
As the movie is set to hit the screens tomorrow, Ashutosh spoke in length about his break of six long years, the conceptualization on untouched topic and much more. Here are the excerpts:
After KHEIN HUM JEE JAAN SE you took a sabbatical of four years and now you are coming with MOHENJO DARO, what were you doing during the gap?
I was writing another film BUDDHA, which took one and half years for preparation, and it couldn't go on floors owing to production issue. Post which I worked on one, movie EVEREST and also MOHENJO DARO. Then these two projects over lapped and it took me two years for it, and now MOHENJO DARO is set to release.
Why did you choose Hrithik Roshan for the film?
MOHENJO DARO has larger than life civilization. We know very little about MOHENJO DARO and I wanted to unfold, untold tales and there was something, larger than life, people also should be apt for it. While I was scripting the movie, he was the only actor I could think off. Like he has done KRRISH, JODHAA AKBAR, I am hoping he takes Sarman to next level.
Apart from the fact that you needed someone like Hrithik for the film, how else do you choose your actors?
When I'm scripting, I try and jot down my initial thoughts on which I see playing a particular character, what my ideal choices are. In case of MOHENJO DARO, my first choice was Hrithik, right from inception stage. Usually, the cast keeps changing so much the star you think can play the role doesn't like the script, or he likes it but doesn't have dates there are so many hurdles that to have your first choice in the movie is a great thing and I'm very glad we have Hrithik.
Tell us something about your love for periodic movies?
History fascinates me, there are different time zones, and things that intrigue me are, how people leaded their life then. Way back in 1985, how did we lead our life without cell phones, that's a different era. It's interesting to create a world and tell a story that hasn't been heard before.
As Pooja Hedge is a newcomer and also a huge fan Hrithik Roshan, how was managing the duo (even the fan in her) – a star with a newcomer?
When I signed Pooja I decided that I must get rid of any fear or any excitement. We did reading during the first two days of shoot. While we were taking the first shot there were juniors, villagers and local crowd. We had a shot wherein the local women had to carry a bucket and pot on their head. The moment the camera was rolled, the women started seeing Hrithik and I had to cut. Then I told Hrithik to greet everyone when Hrithik said hello, my shot finally happened. While with Pooja we did rehearsals and various readings and then she gelled with Hrithik's rhythm.
"Hrithik Roshan's character in MOHENJO DARO is his greatest performances of all times"
MOHENJO DARO is not widely promoted as RUSTOM is (especially the fraternity supporting the latter) what do you have to say?
Clashes always happens on Friday, and this time there are high profile movies, with two big stars, both the stars are loved by audience, so the clash is unavoidable. While producers also en-cash such big budget movies there are maximum big returns. I am more interested in knowing how audience reacts to the movie.
The minute the trailer was launched; social media started trolling MOHENJO DARO? Will it affect the business of the movie and what's your take on it?
I believe, if something new comes in, people don't adapt, for instance, the song in LAGAAN, our song ‘O Palanhare Nirgun Aur Nayre', what's ‘nirguhn aur nyare' shocked everyone. After sometime such new words, new thing settles. When the audience saw the trailer, they saw an altogether imaginary world which was is different. Once you see the movie, you will relate to the context, I am excited to know what message the trailer has passed.
With your movies, actors like Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan set a benchmark, will Hrithik's Sarman also create the same impact?
Hrithik has given some remarkable performances in KRRISH, JODHAA AKBAR, ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA, GUZAARISH, he has tried to excel and go beyond a certain level in MOHENJO DARO, and people will love Sarman. This character is counted as one of his greatest performances of all times.
After historic genre, any other genre that you would like to explore?
As a viewer and audience I love watching science fiction, I haven't thought anything but will soon write a sci-fi movie I don't know how. As of now I haven't come back to 2016 BC.
What do you have to say about the clash of two films RUSTOM and MOHENJO DARO?
I want both the films do well, as they are releasing on the same day, audiences should go for both the film, which ever they prefer first or second but should watch both. For MOHENJO I would say come see a civilization, it's our ancestors, a national identity. We feel patriotic; that's why we are releasing on August 12 and it has a long weekend.
With the ongoing controversy of script by Lama, what do you have to say?
The court has given the judgment and it's settled.