Ek Villain has done a fabulous business of Rs.81 crore plus in its first week of release. Did the collections meet your expectations?
The figures are pretty surprising not only for me but for everyone connected to Ek Villain, primarily because it does not have a big star cast and the subject is dark and offbeat. These kind of films don’t collect big numbers. Besides, it was released on a non holiday and didn’t have a wide release, yet the opening numbers were bigger than the recent releases. The buzz was created because the youth connected with the film and went to the theatres to watch it. Frankly I was unaware of their strong purchasing power. I guess, sometimes you underestimate yourself, and the product you have made.
What according to you is drawing the audience to the theater?
The audience has liked the story. Considering the action, drama and emotion, I thought that Ek Villain was more of a single screen film. But soon I was told that even the 7 am shows in multiplexes were going housefull, and that too pan India. It has connected to both the single screen and multiplex sensibilities.
The responses are varied with everyone liking different things about the film. But one opinion is unanimous: that the casting was unique with Riteish (Deshmukh) and Sidharth (Malhotra) playing roles they had not attempted before. And then people were also curious to watch Shraddha (Kapoor) on screen post Aashiqui 2 success.
Would you agree that considering Ek Villain is a thriller there are not enough twists and turns in the film?
I had never claimed that the film is a suspense thriller. From the beginning, I had maintained that it was a love story. In fact, what worked for the film was killing the heroine in the first scene itself . That is what got the audience into the film right away and held them captive at least for the next one hour. It was intentional and the credit goes to the screenplay writer.
Would you agree that the screenplay in the second half of the film slackened?
People have different views. One part of the audience believed that the second half was faster and better. And there was another that said that the first half worked better for them. So we got varied response from the audience. But this kind of a debate is a good sign as it shows that the film has the audience thinking.
What did you want the audience to walk away with, when you set out to make Ek Villain? And what next?
I always like the audience to walk away with the last shot of the film. So that frame is the most important for me. The last shot of Ek Villain had Sidharth holding a child’s hand and leading him away from a dark life. That’s a Gandhian thought I have nursed ever since I had read that he had told one riot victim: ‘if you are a Muslim adopt a Hindu and if you are a Hindu adopt a Muslim’. That stayed with me. If you remember even in Aashiqui 2 the last shot had Shraddha watching a younger couple, very much in love like she was with Aditya (Roy Kapur) going under the raincoat.
Next on the agenda is taking my wife out because I have been working on this film for more than a year! Then, I will work on the pre-production of Hamari Adhuri Kahani.