Director Abhinay Deo says his new film BLACKMAIL was a gamble because the Indian audience is used to being served up only a certain kind of comedy, and he was attempting something different.
BLACKMAIL could be called the funniest film of the year. With its tongue firmly in its cheek, the plot takes viewers on a roller-coaster ride that involves an unfaithful wife (read anti-heroine), a blackmailing husband (read anti-hero), a henpecked toy boy, his domineering wealthy sluttish wife, an office going go-getting woman who will stop at nothing to extort money from her senior, a boss who is obsessed with stopping the water supply in Mumbai so he can promote his brand of toilet paper and a bewigged detective who refers to himself throughout the film in the third person.
These are only some of the wacked out characters in BLACKMAIL, plus of course, a hero who likes to visit the office toilet with pictures of other people's wives stolen from their desks.
Laughing away at that, Deo said: "It was a gamble. Nobody would think of putting money into something so outlandish and outrageous. But my producers did, knowing fully well that this kind of comedy does not necessarily appeal to the audience that favours the more conventional comedies."
"The audience is habituated to being spoon-fed a certain kind of comedy. It is those comedies that make the big bucks at the box office. My biggest victory as far as 'Blackmail' is concerned is when my humour is seen to carry forward the tradition of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's cinema," added Deo, whose parents veteran actors Ramesh Deo and Seema Deo are remembered for their presence in Mukherjee's ANAND.
With Irrfan Khan starrer BLACKMAIL, Deo's most triumphant moment so far was at censor board.
"The entire panel said they were thoroughly entertained by the film. They sent me off with ‘UA' certificate and lots of encouraging laughter. And mind you, the film's theme is adultery, and sex forms a very important part of the plot. But yes, there is no profanity."
He recounted with a shudder the ordeal that his DELHI BELLY went through. Even after being cleared by the censor board, there were endless debates and discussions on the verbal excesses of the dialogues.
"Here we were not given any opportunity to feel victimised. There is a sense of vindication about being able to tell my story the way I want to," said Abhinay as he wonders at the laughter challenge ahead.