Team Commando 2 – lead pair Vidyut Jammwal and Adah Sharma, along with director Deven Bhojani and producer Vipul Amrutlal Shah – in conversation with Team Box Office India
Box Office India (BOI): Vipul, how did you approach Deven Bhojani to direct the film?
Vipul Amrutlal Shah (VAS): Deven and I are college friends and we are like brothers. People are aware of his skill with comedy but he is a very serious person. Even in college plays, he usually played the role of a villain.
Vidyut Jammwal (VJ): They were going to cast him in Force 2. (Laughs)
VAS: There is a suppressed aggression in him, which he never shows. There is also a tremendous sensitivity in his work. I thought this was a great combination for a film like this, which is not about blind action. It has great action but it also has a terrific story, a great plot, a lot of sensitive moments and a variety of roles. That’s why I thought he was the right director for this film.
BOI: What was Deven’s reaction when you approached him for this film?
VAS: His first reaction is always ‘Main soch ke batata hu.’ Then he disappears for two days. The same thing happened here. He took his time, got excited about it and that’s how it started.
BOI: Vidyut, what was your reaction when you learnt that Deven was directing the film?
VJ: I believe in him so much. I believe that he can get anybody on board and do a good job with that person. Here, he believes in me and has given me this opportunity.
BOI: Did you have the story ready at that point?
VAS: We had only a thought ready, at that point. After Deven came on board, we started developing it with Suresh and Ritesh Shah, my writers. And, of course, Vidyut started training for the action in this film, the day after Commando released. He was working on the kind of gags we wanted to include in the action etc. We worked on everything simultaneously.
BOI: Deven, what did you think during those two days?
Deven Bhojani (DB): As Vipul mentioned, we know each other quite well. I like to challenge myself and move out of my comfort zone, and he knows that about me. When I am pushed, I give of my best. For example, I was studying Accounts with a view to becoming a chartered accountant. One day, I happened to see the notice board in college about an inter-collegiate drama competition. I decided to take part and see what happened. I got there late, for which I was scolded. Eventually, I got the lead role and also the Best Actor award. None of this was in my plan as I wanted to become a chartered accountant and here I was, suddenly being given an award for Best Actor. This is just an example and Vipul knows about it.
VAS: He also lost a job because of me. (Laughs)
DB: I am known more as a comic actor on television but, for the last 12 to 15 years, I have also been directing for television, and have done a variety of genres including an action-drama series called Pukaar, which Vipul produced and we directed it together. The genre was not new but switching from television to film direction is a big thing.
So when Vipul asked me to direct this film, I said, ‘Sounds like a great opportunity but give me two days to think about it. Let me think about whether I can contribute enough.’ Vipul said, ‘I knew you would say that.’ After three to four days, I said ‘Yes, chalo karte hai, bolo kab se shuru karna hai.’ That’s how it happened.
BOI: How were you approached for this film?
Adah Sharma (AS): I was in Hyderabad and had two simultaneous film releases. One was Garam, a commercial entertainer, and Kshanam, a realistic film. I came back and auditioned for this film and they did not get back to me for a month. I had heard that they were auditioning a million people. After my second film Kshanam released, Vipul sir called me and said, ‘Are you planning to shift to Hyderabad or do you have plans to come back here?’ I came back here and Deven sir said, ‘Yes, you are on.’
BOI: What is Commando 2 all about?
VAS: As the title suggests, the film is about the black money trail. It is about black money stashed away in Swiss bank accounts or in various other parts of the world. This is a mission to trap that money and bring it back to India. It is an action-packed thriller with lots of characters, intrigue and mystery. The narrative is loaded with action while the plot has intrigue. It’s a combination of action-meets-brain.
BOI: How did you decide to cast Esha Gupta in the film?
VAS: We wanted a strong and sexy personality and Esha Gupta represents that. She was clearly the first choice for the part.
BOI: You are keeping her character under wraps.
VAS: That’s because she is not able to join us for the promotions and is shooting for Baadshaho. When the actor is not present during promotions, it looks like we are trying to conceal her character but that’s not true. If she were present, we would have talked about her more. That’s why it seems like we are keeping her character under wraps but that’s not true.
BOI: This is an action film. What kind of preparation did you undergo?
VJ: I have been training ever since we stopped shooting for Commando. That’s seven months before we started shooting for Commando 2. I spent every minute planning and thinking about action.
BOI: Did you choreograph all the action?
VJ: Not all the action but most of the spectacular things you will see have been done with my stunt team and me. Only I know what my body is capable of doing. I used to train in the evening or afternoon and send clips to Vipul sir, saying, ‘Sir, yeh ek idea hai, what do you think?’ His approval is most important and he used to say, ‘Wow, spectacular!’
In Commando, everyone liked the window sequence, and we had to surpass that. So we trained very hard for that.