Till a week ago, actor Akshay Kumar, who is currently filming Neeraj Pandey’s next in Delhi and promoting Housefull 2, was apprehensive about whether Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai sequel would meet its May deadline to go on the floors. But now the actor is elated by actor Imran Khan’s entry as Afzal, the parallel lead in the Ekta Kapoor movie.
“I would never have rushed Ekta through this project, although she announced it in February 2011. As a producer, I understand her situation and would never pressure her or demand that she start work soon. I had to let her work out her cast. Now that we have found our second hero, we can happily rewind to the 1980s,” says Akshay, who has multiple releases this year including Rowdy Rathore and Joker.
A week ago, Milan Luthria revealed that Akshay’s character has been modelled on Al Pacino from The Godfather. He stated that character is a man of few words and has shades of grey. Bring this up and the 45-year-old actor says, “It’s a fabulous script, and a brilliant story. I was really impressed with Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai and the way Milan handled it. It was aesthetically designed and dramatically presented. One mistake and it could have fallen flat on its face. I can’t wait to start on the sequel.”
At the moment, the only face hidden from the audience and the media is the leading lady, whose role is reportedly modelled on actor Mandakini. Milan, without going into details, had said that it would be a star, and not some newbie. “I don’t think I can pry that much into someone else’s production,” says Akshay, when prodded about who is likely to romance him in the movie. “I think Ekta would be the best person to spill the beans.”
‘Worked in advance’
Director Milan Luthria and writer Rajat Arora who have swept most award functions for their work in The Dirty Picture, confirm that they had completed the research for the Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai sequel well in advance. “While researching for Once…, we had so much material that we were sure we could easily have a sequel,” says Rajat. “Of course, we added a lot more to this script. And since the expectations are high, we had to work doubly hard.” Milan seconds him, and says, “We’ve even found a couple of locations within Mumbai that work for us.”
Revisiting ’80s and ’90s scores
Lyricist Irshaad Kamil who is teaming up with composer Pritam for the score of the sequel says the duo plan to go through the chartbusters of the 1980s and 90s to come up with a soundtrack that’s contemporary yet reminiscent of the era. He adds, “I can promise you that the score will not have vulgar or double meaning words.
Pritam and I always ensure that we keep the music and the lyrics clean because that’s symbolic of our team. Even if there is an item number, you’ll find its words poetic. We’ve proved what we can do with The Dirty Picture and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai.”