While he has been a part of Salman Khan’s family for a long time, Atul Agnihotri’s last production ‘Bodyguard’ saw a grand success owing to his brother-in-law Salman’s power packed performance and some great music. And now, Atul plans to experiment some more with his recent film ‘O Teri’, which is a satire with a political backdrop. Considering the fact that Atul had previously worked with A-listers, this time around he works with newbies. In this interview, Atul reveals about working with young rising stars, on the current political scenario in India and much more.
‘Bodyguard’ was more of action while ‘O Teri’ is more of satire… why this shift?
‘O Teri’ has elements of action but yes, it is not an out and out action film. That is because when you make a film with bhai (Salman), there are a lot of ‘larger than life’ factors according to his audience’s expectations. Here, we are making a film with a newer cast and with a youth oriented thought! So we realize that we will have to try harder to entertain and will have to up our level of humour, the songs and make it quick and pacy. So we were striving to be over-efficient so that we can get acceptance. ‘O Teri’ is also a film with a heart. Mostly, humour is associated with senseless comedy but here; the movie takes you somewhere and is very relevant in today’s times. Today, we have a thinking audience who are aware of world events and we wanted to get their attention by putting in current issues.
After a massive success with superstars Kareena and Salman, was there a reason why you selected newbies Pulkit and Bilal for this film?
The reason is that because there was a different ‘superstar’ in this film and that’s the script! As rightly said by my father-in-law Salim Khan, ‘The examiner will never give marks for handwriting, it will always be for content.’ Here the ‘examiner’ is the audience and they will always be content-hungry. Time and again, we have known that if we give them something new and interesting, they will surely come. Good content should sell, otherwise, as an industry…we have no hope. And the reason why I thought that Pulkit and Bilal would fit the roles perfectly was because I wanted a young Aamir and Salman for this ‘Andaz Apna Apna’ kind of funny bone film! They had to be the representatives of the youth, who, later, become heroes. As the plot moves on, they realize that press folks have courage and realize the responsibility of being the moral police of the second largest population in the world.
You have known the boys Pulkit and Bilal for long…. So how was it working with them professionally?
I don’t like continued…