'Paisa Wasool' about female buddy bonding: director

Debutant director Srinivas Bhashyam says "Paisa Wasool" is unlike any Indian film because it has no male heroes or romantic props.

"I don't think any film where two leading ladies play the heroes without romantic props has ever been made in India," said Bhashyam.

"'Paisa Wasool' is a little more contemporary and a little smarter than those films that are targeted at the interiors. Audiences in the so-called interiors are too smart to swallow the same old stuff. My protagonists are contemporary, and so are their moral values," said Bhashyam of the film that released Friday.

"Manisha Koirala and Sushmita Sen play single, kick-ass women who aren't running after men all the time. Money matters to them and they make no bones about it.

"Strangely there has been no Indian film like 'Paisa Wasool'. Believe me, I'm familiar with hordes of films from the south and in Bollywood. Women have never before occupied the forefront in a fun caper.

"At best the exuberant female protagonist in our films is like Rekha in 'Khubsoorat'. In my film Sushmita and Manisha dress talk and behave like women of today. They play opposites. Sush is the aggressive go-getter, Manisha is the repressed, hesitant one."

Initially, "Paisa Wasool" was supposed to be take off on a Hollywood film.

"But at that point of time it was supposed to be directed by someone else. When I came into the project I insisted on changing it around," Bhashyam told IANS.

"Except for the premise of two women getting into comic trouble, nothing in 'Paisa Wasool' is about Hollywood. It's completely localised."

Sushmita and Manisha's onscreen bonding is the USP of the film. "They're different people in real life also," said the debutant director.

"I couldn't ask for a better producer than Manisha Koirala. We met while I was assisting Mani Rathnam in Mumbai I coached her on the Tamil dialogue and lip-sync. We became friends and she promised I'd direct her first film as producer. That she remembered her promise is a rare happening in our film industry."

Bhashyam has earlier made a Kannada film "Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi", which was dubbed into Tamil as "Relax". It introduced Madhavan to the South.

"Maddy played a parallel to Abbas. Since it didn't do well Maddy doesn't like to mention my film as his debut in the south. Tomorrow if I've a big hit I'm sure he'll be happy to have worked with me," said Bhashyam, who has also assisted Kamal Hassan.

He said he loved working with newcomers.

"My music composers are two gifted musicians from Bihar named Bapi-Tutul. But there're no romantic duets because there're no romantic interests. The situations are wacko and unpredictable. Still there're the songs, good guys and bad guys.

"Most important of all I've delivered a cost-effective film to my producer. Manisha was very supportive. I'm sure a male producer would've wanted bring in some big male star at least for a bit. It helped to have such intelligent actors like Manisha and Sushmita. They went an extra mile to support me."

"Paisa Wasool" is being pitched against the more high profile female-centric flick "Chameli" and macho gangster tale "Plan". But Bhashyam is unperturbed.

"As a member of the audience I'd be delighted to have such a wide variety of films on the same Friday. Which one would I see first? 'Paisa Wasool' because 'Plan' looks like it belongs to the 'Kaante' genre while 'Chameli' looks to me like a variation on the 'Pretty Woman' theme.

"'Paisa Wasool', with no male heroes, no romantic interests and no traumatised female protagonist, looks to me like the most unusual film of the week.

"I'd say 'Paisa Wasool' is like 'Thelma & Louise'... except that film was about rape abuse and revenge. My film is about none of these. I always wanted to make a film on buddy bonding."