Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani have been business partners for 10 years now. They’ve built a company together, which has taken their 15-year friendship forward. And despite the constant media speculation of their ‘break-up’, the duo is happy to live out its cinematic dreams together. From one film in two years to four big films this year, Excel Entertainment has come a long way and creative producer Sidhwani shares some details about these shrouded-in-secrecy projects.
Zindagi Na Mile Dobara
Zoya Akhtar’s film is about three collegians. They take off on a vacation, before one of them gets married, and the road trip through Spain proves to be life changing. Dil Chahta Hai released on August 10. On September 2, I left for a holiday to Los Angeles and New York with four friends. We partied all night at South Beach, before returning to our hotel to take the flight to New York. That’s when we learnt about the attacks on the Twin Towers. I still have that unused plane ticket for 9/11. For the next four days, we were stuck in Florida and South Beach was deserted. That trip was life changing for me!
I am a die-hard fan of Bourne and Bond. So I’m really excited about Game that is made along the same lines, with a bit of Jewel Thief thrown in. Abhishek (Bachchan), is suave and cool. He makes the perfect owner of a casino in Istanbul who dashes through Turkey, Greece, England and Thailand, throwing clues along the way. What made the thriller doubly challenging is that the script writer was completely new and we had to work for almost two years on the screenplay.
A poll rates Don 2 as the most anticipated film of 2011. With Don—The Chase Begins Again, we had to work within the parameters of the original script. The only liberties we took was keeping Don alive and turning Vardhan into a bad man. But in the sequel we are not restricted. Here Don is meaner and cooler. He’s not just all about action, but is also an intelligent adversary. Sequels, even in the West, rarely revolve around a villain so that is what makes Don 2 different already. I was surprised at how kids took to Shah Rukh Khan and the new Don. Jet Airways came up with a Don comic book that sold 50,000 copies
Reema (Kagti) and Zoya (Akhtar) had written this script a few years ago. Reema was really keen on Aamir. He loved the script instantly. We then got Rani (Mukerji) on board. Kareena (Kapoor) was busy, but since Aamir does only one film a year, we knew the dates would work out. The film will be shot in around 40 locations in the city... from Navi Mumbai to South Mumbai, from the western suburbs to the eastern ’burbs. Reema wants to recreate the city on screen.
‘Rock On 2, sure! DCH2, may be!’
A Dil Chahta Hai sequel could happen but we’ll need a story that is dramatic and inspiring. Only ten years have passed since it released. It is not enough to show Aakash, Sameer and Siddharth married, with kids.Rock On 2 has more potential, since it is about a band. Gattu (director Abhishek Kapoor) has an idea, but will start work on the sequel only after he’s filmed Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller, The 3 Mistakes Of My Life. Chetan approached Farhan, who recommended the novel to me and I suggested it to Gattu. Sudhir Mishra is still working on the script of Dhruv, inspired by Devdas, but Baba Azmi is all set to start a rom-com for us, mid 2012, with Farhan.