Choreographer-turned-director Remo D’Souza in conversation with Bhakti Mehta, shares what it is like to be responsible for taking a franchise forward with Race 3, directing Salman Khan and the downside of the numbers game
From comedy, to dance films, to a full-on masala entertainer… your path as a director has been quite diverse.
The journey has been quite amazing. Actually, it was a dream for me to do an action movie. It came true for me and how! I got Salman Khan to do an action film for me. It is unbelievable!
What was it like getting Salman Khan to do action for you?
It was beyond words. Simply amazing. You have no idea how big this is. Right from being a dancer who danced behind him to being a director who is making Salman Khan’s biggest film, it has been a great road to be on. It is also his first 3D film, so expectations and responsibilities keep on increasing.
Is it intimidating to direct him?
(Laughs). The best part is that he knew that if he did something in that genre, kuch gadbad ho sakta hai. He never said anything about changing the scene, ever. He was always there and ready on the set. Otherwise, he was very chilled out. He would be there on the sets and he would make me as well as all the other actors comfortable. It was a cakewalk for me to direct him. He made it that way.
Was this always intended to be a 3D film? Was it specifically shot like that?
For me, yes. I always wanted it to be a 3D film. It wasn’t for the producers at first. They were not that keen on doing 3D in the beginning. They were not very sure about it. They said nahi nahi, 3D kyon karna hai? They were, like, we’ll see what to do once it is done. But I didn’t want to start the film like that and go on shooting in just 2D. I kept that in my mind and told my DoP that the angles should be such that we could make this into a 3D film in the end.
Race has always had a cult following. Did you feel a sense of responsibility to deliver when you decided to take the franchise forward?
Race is a big name, a big franchise. The first two films were done by Abbas bhai and Mustan bhai and they are legends in the industry. To take it from them and make a film in your version did make me a little nervous but eventually it happened because I had two of the biggest pillars standing right next to me – Salman Khan and Ramesh Taurani. It was amazing.
We see a lot of style and glamour mixed with some unique family drama in this Race.
Style was always a part of the movie because, right from the first film, Race is all about style. We have maintained the style factor in this film too but the game has definitely been upped this time around because this is the third instalment and we have Salman sir in this too. We had to make it big. Everything that a Race film has, is present in this film too. There are the twists and turns, action sequences, style, glamour, everything.
Do you think that people sometimes do not understand the effort that goes into making a good-looking, masala film?
Of course, they don’t understand the struggle one goes through to bring this project together. For me, this was the toughest film to pull off because it was a well-loved franchise. Another thing was that Salman Khan was a part of this project and there was a huge action angle to it.
The most important thing was the limitation of time. I didn’t have a year to shoot this film, I just had six months. In these six months, we had to shoot the film as well as get it ready for release. And I pulled it off because I had a great team. Otherwise, it would have been impossible to pull off a film of this scale in six months.
Music has always been a huge part of Race and a lot of emphasis has been placed on the look and feel too.
As a choreographer, I knew that all the songs had to be great. Every song is different, and we have made Salman dance with not just limited steps but some actual dance moves. He is seen trying two to three other styles in the songs. I made sure that the songs looked larger-than-life.
The two love songs have been beautifully shot and if you see them in 3D, it is something else! Also, in the previous films, you have Allah duhai hai abruptly coming in the middle or at the end of the film. It was more of a promotional track. But, this time, the song comes in the script. It actually takes the story forward.
Right after the trailer was launched, Twitter was abuzz with Race 3 making `300-400 crore at the box office. What do you think will happen next week?
I am nervous and I am scared because of all these numbers. Nowadays, it has become a numbers game. It doesn’t matter if the film is good or not, it is all about numbers. How much did it do on the first day? Did it do more or less than that other film? It straightaway goes there.
There is no talk about the performances, or what the experience was like, or whether the script was good or not. It’s a little scary for me right now. But I am hoping that everything goes right and people who enjoy films for what they are get that in the theatre.
We hear that you will be getting back on the horse soon for your next dance film starring Varun Dhawan and Katrina Kaif.
That film is going on the floors at the end of this year. Varun is busy with the shoot of Kalank right now and Katrina is doing Thugs Of Hindostan and Zero. Most probably we will start filming at the end of 2018. But, yes, the workshops for the film will start soon.