Gunday has done phenomenal business of Rs.64 crore in its first week. Did the collections meet your expectations and are you confident of crossing the Rs.100 crore mark?
I am very happy that the audience is liking the film. In fact, it is doing phenomenally well in territories like Punjab, Rajasthan, Central Province and Central India. It received a good response overseas as well, and is doing exceptionally good business in the UAE. The first day collections of Rs. 16.15 crore were above our expectations. As of now the film is a hit, but I hope it crosses the Rs. 100 crore mark and becomes a super-hit.
What kind of response is it getting from the industry?
Senior people from the industry like Amitabh Bachchan, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Rakesh Roshan, Abbas-Mustan have called or messaged me to say that they have loved the film. What touched me was when Salim Khan called and said ‘Is film mein hamari khushboo hai’. Gunday is only my second film and to be praised by industry veterans is a big high for me.
The youth also have taken to it in a big way. They are intrigued by the way I have taken a mainstream masala film, yet have used a different style of film-making to make it relatable. Also they are awed by the chemistry between the three protagonists. People also enjoyed the fight fight between Bikram and Bala where they rip their shirts and display glistening bodies. Though some did ask me if we were sponsored by an oil company!
Irrfan as ACP Satyajit Sarkar is the one who adds the sparkle and attitude to the film. It was surprising to see his name as ‘special appearance’ in the credit.
Ranveer’s character, Bikram and Arjun’s character, Bala were very strong on paper. And we needed an equally powerful personality in Satyajit Sarkar to balance them out. So just when Bala and Bikram’s antics had reached a peak, Satyajit makes an entry, and this makes the audience sit up and wonder what will happen next. Irrfan’s personality and one-liners are overpowering, and both Bikram and Bala look real because of him.
Answering your question, Irrfan is a very senior actor who has carved a niche for himself and plays the lead in mainstream cinema, but in my film, the title Gunday belonged to Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. If the film was not titled Gunday, maybe we would not have credited him with a special appearance.
What one did miss in the film was a little bit of detailing in the first half, on how these two urchins grew up to become these cool dudes who ruled Kolkata.
Gunday is inherently a drama, and the idea was to make the first half light and fun. Our aim was to make the audience fall in love with Bikram and Bala, before they go on a dramatic journey. That’s the reason we showed them dancing together, wearing heart shapes on their pyjamas positioned over their bums, flirting and falling in love with the beautiful Priyanka Chopra etc. in the first half. It was more important to establish the way they looked and behaved and how passionately mad they were about each other.
The ending, though ambiguous wrapped up on a beautiful note, and one wonders if you have left it open to make Gunday 2? Also, as the Bengal film industry is up in arms against the dubbed version of the film, will you release it there?
Though the audience could guess what happens to Bikram and Bala, I wanted to sign off on a cheerful note showing them together as always and with smiling faces. So yes, you can never tell, I could make Gunday 2. As of now I am taking a break and will then start working on my next which will once again be mainstream, commercial cinema.
As for the Bengal release, no we are not releasing the dubbed version of Gunday there.