On Aksar (2006)
I made Aksar almost ten years ago. It was written by Sujit Sen and the story was way ahead of its time. It was Senji who had written Saaransh and Arth, two other films that were ahead of their time. Although it was film noir, people viewed it as an erotic thriller, something I didn’t like at all. It was a suspense thriller where, for the first time, a murderer goes scot-free. The audience actually clapped when Dino Morea got away. It was a different kind of story line.
After Aksar, I moved on to making the kind of cinema that could be interpreted the way it was meant to be. I wanted to make realistic films which I did like Life’s Good, Staying Alive, Mee Sindhutai Sapkal, Red Alert: The War Within, Gour Hari Dastaan and Rough Book.
Getting international recognition
Films like Gour Hari Dastaan and Rough Book brought me global recognition. I was educated on the right form of cinema and that’s what I was making. I do films like these to feel creatively satisfied.
On Aksar 2
I happened to meet Narendra and Shyam Bajaj who had produced my film Aksar. We started talking and they said that since everyone was making sequels to hit films, why not do a sequel to Aksar? Moreso, they pointed out, we don’t see many suspense thrillers today. I was little apprehensive about doing a genre which I hadn’t touched for a very long time, but my producers believed I could do it. Also, I thought, let me just take a break and do this film. That’s how Aksar 2 started.
It is not an erotic thriller; it’s a suspense thriller. In India, we rarely make suspense thrillers, and Aksar 2 tells the story of three people. It’s a ‘how-done-it’ and ‘why-done-it’. One of the reasons I attempted this film is that it is good, old-fashioned suspense drama, which has been rarely explored in Indian cinema.
People all over the world make sequels and turn them into franchises. The love the audience shows toward films and the characters makes filmmakers want to take the story forward. Also, the music of Aksar was very popular, which is why we approached the composer Mithoon for the sequel. He said we should not recreate any old song and create only new ones. I loved the idea because here was a composer asking us to go for fresh songs when there is so much mixing of old songs today.
When Aksar released, Emran Hashmi was fresh from Murder, Dino Morea was fresh from Raaz and Udita Goswami was fresh from Zeher. They had done one film each and were fresh faces. So it was easy for the audience to accept the characters they portrayed. Similarly, I wanted to cast fresh faces in Aksar 2. Everyone had seen Zareen Khan but she is still a fresh face; Gautam Rode and Abhinav Shukla are famous television artistes.