After a wait of five long years, producer Vipul Shah has rolled out the sequel to his 2011 hit Force this time with Abhinay Deo as the director. In an exclusive joint chat with indianexpress.com, Vipul and Abhinay tell us about the new action world that they have created and why John Abraham is one of the best action heroes today.
How would you rate John Abraham as an action star?
Abhinay: John is one of the best action stars in our country. He is our version of The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. He has built his image such. There was a time when Dharmendra used to beat 40 people and we used to believe it because it was Dharmendra. Today, John makes action believable.
Vipul, why did you choose Abhinay Deo as the director for the sequel and not Nishikant Kamat who directed Force?
Vipul: The film needed to go into a different world and as a producer, I thought Abhinay had to be that person to create that world and I am happy that he directed it for he has taken it to a different level. Force released in 2011. In these five years, the world has changed, India has changed and a director needed to bring that element into the sequel. We need to have a progressive element, a version that is relevant in today’s world.
Does that mean Nishikant was not capable of creating that world?
Vipul: I never looked at it as Nishikant can’t and I should go to Abhinay. I looked at it from the point of view of what I wanted from Force 2 and I thought Abhinay was the best person to get me that. This is no comment on Nishikant or his ability. Nishikant is a great director. But for my vision Abhinay was the best guy.
Abhinay, what is the different world that you have created for Force 2?
Abhinay: When I met Vipul, he said we need to make Force 2 bigger.The idea was Force one was limited to Mumbai Police and the narcotics department of the Mumbai Police. We didn’t want to limit it to a jurisdiction. We wanted to address issues that are larger. That is what we did. We took up an international issue. I like merging conflicting worlds together. On one side I wanted to make it a realistic film and on the other I wanted it to look stylish as well. Realism sometimes looks less stylish and stylish ones sometimes look unreal. Balancing both are difficult and international films thrive on that.
Any apprehensions before directing Force 2 given that the prequel was directed by Nishikant?
Abhinay: I had seen Force as a viewer and liked it. There were no apprehensions. Nishikant is a great friend. Directing Force 2 was never about one against the other. It’s about taking that step ahead. Every director would treat a subject in a different manner and I have treated Force 2 in my own style.
When was the idea to make Force into a franchise born?
Vipul: The design from day one was to make a film that can be a franchise. The character of John is that of an honest guy, a little off his head, which is not something that is usual. So the character ingredient was there to be taken into a franchise model. And that is why this time we have taken a subject that has a bigger national interest. It is about a spy and what happens to a spy when he gets caught across the border. The Indian government has to deny they are not Indian citizens and declare them traitors if required. It’s the diplomatic compulsion that forces our government to do it. A spy is also a martyr but they don’t get the same status. That is one of the crucial messages of this film.
Whose life story did you study as reference points?
Vipul: A lot of research has gone into this film. We came across a lot of stories. One of the reference points was Captain Kalia who was tortured and killed by enemies from across the border. Another life story we studied was that of Vinod Sahni, an Indian spy who lived in Pakistan for 11 years.
Isn’t it sad that spies are discarded by our own government?
Vipul: That is what happens to every spy. Some countries like China, USA and Russia are powerful to get their spies back. We are not that powerful yet.
Abhinay, how different is it to direct action?
Abhinay: Anything is difficult to be it action or emotion. Every genre is difficult. If you want to make anything different, it becomes difficult. Every sequence of action in Force 2 has been treated differently. Normally we see action sequences where cars and men are flying. In this we have tried to make action real. From hand-to-hand combat to gunfire and foot chases, you will find everything. The climax is where you will see something different in action this time.
As compared to Hollywood, how far are we in terms of making a world class action film?
Abhinay: Not very far. It’s a question about their budget and ours. Finally, it comes down to money. We are very much there. Ultimately the important thing is your vision. The biggest difference in Force 2 is the attitude with which we have treated action.