‘Dhoom is not a critic-friendly film’

After his debut disaster Tashan,Vijay Krishna Acharya’s Dhoom 3 is currently rewriting Bollywood box-office history. The man,who wrote all the Dhoom films,speaks about the pressures of directing a pre-ordained hit,the change in the franchisee,and defends the Christopher Nolan “inspirations”

Written by Sankhayan Ghosh | Published:January 3, 2014 1:29 am

Many thought that Dhoom 3 has a darker shade unlike other movies of this fun franchisee.

This definitely was gloomier than all Dhoom movies. And the last two being big successes,I knew we were going against expectations. That territory excited me. We didn’t want to go the cookie cutter way. I stayed true to what came out instinctively in terms of story. The world of the film was closer to a graphic novel,one that may be mythical but convincing in itself. I find this more cinematic,something that leaps out of the screen and grabs you.

Did Aamir Khan’s inclusion prompt you to give more importance to its plot?

Aamir came into the picture only after the script was ready. We had some sort of a wishlist,and we zeroed in on him because he had also not done anything like this before — he has never played a character who is on the other side of the law. In Dhoom,we need someone whose role will go against his

existing image and surprise the audience.

Since you wrote the other two Dhooms as well,how differently did you envision Dhoom 3?

The other Dhooms didn’t have the specificity for the characters. They didn’t have backstories. They were more screenplay-driven in the sense that they had these stylistic set pieces. By the time Dhoom 3 happened,the world had changed a bit. I was older,and the tone of the film was darker.

The Dark Knight-inspired setting and the twist being similar to that of The Prestige were too apparent. How do you explain it?

While writing,Adi (Aditya Chopra) and I were aware that this was going to come up and we won’t get good press. I admit the plot point is similar to that of The Prestige,but it seems all the more alike because in both the movies,the protagonists are showmen. The similarity doesn’t go beyond that. The characters are different,and the films go in different directions. I am undoubtedly inspired by the world Nolan creates in his movies,but this is like an old-fashioned revenge drama. Double roles have been working for years,so it’s a device we took from our own world. The twin-brother twist is a part of the Hindi commercial cinema traditions. That way,The Prestige is also similar to say,Ram Aur Shyam.

So Nolan was an inspiration somewhere?

I am in awe of the way Nolan turned the Batman franchisee on its head. It was an inspiration in that sense. We were trying to create a world of its own where we could reinvent Dhoom,and make truly engaging drama. But they have a source material,a history of graphic novel culture. Let’s face it,we have different worldviews from the West.

How did you come to direct Dhoom 3?

After Tashan,Adi thought I should direct Dhoom 3 since I wrote the story. It started with this idea in my head: that Jai gets hoodwinked somehow and is actually helping the thief. I suggested the idea and developed it. The moment I had the idea of twins,I was ready for the film.

How difficult was it to get over Tashan’s failure?

It left me savaged and brutalised,but Adi backed me. He said he loved the film,and the audience didn’t get it. Tashan is a milestone in my growth. It made me realise how much I enjoy action. We promoted it as a big mainstream film,which it wasn’t. The tone was very different,a tongue-in-cheek,edgy and campy commentary on the aspirational new India. But we pushed too many envelopes at the same time.

Dhoom 3 has broken all box-

office records but the reactions to it have been mixed.

You can’t please all,some are bound to hate it. Dhoom is anyway not a very critic-friendly film. Critics,most of the times,fail to see it in context of Hindi commercial films. It makes me wonder how off the mark can they be from the

popular taste.

sankhayan.ghosh@expressindia.com

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