By Subhash K Jha
BOLLYWOOD: Not too many people know that Dhoom 3 director Vijay Krishna Acharya (centre in the above picture) and Ek Tha Tiger director Kabir Khan are brothers-in-law.
Explaining the relationship, Vijay says, “I am married to Kabir’s sister. Kabir son Vivaan and my two daughters Suhani and Saher have watched Dhoom 3 repeatedly. My mother and my mother-in-law saw the film together. They saw it at three back-to-back screenings. Then the next day my mom and mom-in-law went back with their friends.”
Vijay feels confused when trade pundits say Dhoom 3 would be the first Bollywood film to touch the 300-crore figure.
“I don’t understand these figures. I humbly submit that I don’t follow box-office figures. Having said that, I have to admit I am numbed by the collections. I hope the dream run continues. When we finished making Dhoom 3 we were very confident. Whatever I had chosen to do as a writer and director was up there on the screen. And my confidence-level increased when I showed the film to Adi.”
Vijay says he “presented” Dhoom 3 to Adi. “I actually made him watch it like it was a gift. As it unwrapped I could see Adi approved. That was a relief, because I know he is very close to the audiences’ psyche.”
Aditya Chopra watches every film in a theatre on Fridays.
Says Vijay, “When something seems to go right after two years of hard labour you feel vindicated and relieved. Adi was the first viewer of the film, then Aamir Khan. He put his approval on Facebook. Two people whom I respect the most approved of Dhoom 3. That meant a lot to me. All through the making of the film Aamir and Adi were hugely supportive in spite of Tashan.”
The one aspect of Dhoom 3 that strikes you immediately is the director’s love for the circus and related activities, including the gymnastics and magic.
Says Vijay, “When I was a director and actor in theatre, I used to do a lot of those cartwheels and somersaults that you see Katrina do in the film.The starting point for this film bringing together the world of the circus and magicians was the artiste who, I saw as a visionary. Jackie Shroff’s character was someone who could see into the future though he wasn’t a practical man. The circus that Jackie’s character believed in was the Cirque du Soleil. It wasn’t the traditional circus of animals and girls in short skirts. And let’s face it, the world of Dhoom is illusory. It’s a reflection of the real world where magic and circus antics co-exist in intangible ways. And what’s Bollywood, if not circus and magic? If you see Aamir Khan’s action scenes on the mo’bike they are borrowed from the circus acts. Whether it Aamir’s bike transforming into another entity or the bike traversing narrow options…these are the innocent joys of the circus that I wanted to bring to Dhoom 3.”
The chase sequences in Dhoom have a life of their own.
Says Vijay, “I wanted the chases to be organic to the plot. When we chose Chicago as the location for the film we knew we were giving the audience an unusual landscape. I wanted to start the film in the snowscape of Chicago. From there I wanted audiences to go straight into one of the spectacular chase sequences that Dhoom 3 is famous for.”
Why Chicago? “I was looking for an American city that has an Indian population. There was something alluring about Chicago. They had shot Batman in Chicago, but no Indian film. I loved the architecture of the city…tall and imposing .There was a grace and grandeur to Chicago that epitomized the film’s theme. The landscape always informs the emotional location of the film. I hope the audience notices all of this. If the audience comes away with all of this then I am happy. They may come back with Katrina’s dances or Aamir’s double role.”
Katrina Kaif, says Vijay, did all the acro-gymnastics herself. “She came in and knew what the role demanded. Both Aamir and Katrina trained for fifteen hours a day. When she was rehearsing for the song Kamli she was a girl possessed. Whatever she does after this would be a hard act to follow. And she did it all on her own.”
Of the two Aamir Khans in Dhoom 3, one is a specially abled.
“Is he autistic? We haven’t specified. We wanted to use the idea of a thief we can’t catch because there are two of them.I wanted to give a new twist to the double-role tradition of Indian cinema. At no point did I want the audience to go away feeling the same actor has played both the roles. To Aamir’s credit he created two different entities.We flew a team down from LA to do special cinematography to make the double-role unique. The truth is, the more complex the technique applied to cinema gets the more invisible it should get to the audience. I did all the double-role scenes at one go.Aamir took care of the rest. He nailed the two parts.I knew the double-role could be a drag.So I wanted to make it the strength of my film.”
Right now it’s a holiday for Vijay and his family.
“My wife and my daughters are insisting on a holiday. I am not complaining…It’s been an exhilarating but exhausting experience .Dhoom has been important part of my life. I wrote the first two films. And I’ve just directed the third .I love the caper genre. But now I’ve a lot of other stories to tell. I have many genres in my head and I want to do them all.For me it either has to be something spectacular and flamboyant or something that’s entirely the opposite, intimate and small. It can never be the middle path for me,” says the victorious Vijay who grew up in Kanpur watching many Hollywood films that influenced Dhoom, and of course the iconic Amitabh Bachchan films.
“How else do you think I was named Vijay?” chuckles Vijay Krishna Acharya.