Abhishek Bachchan admits that one of the thrills of featuring in the official Indian remake of the British film, The Italian Job, was the prospect of getting to do some of the cool car stunts. “I love driving cars and the 1969 classic is memorable as much for Michael Caine’s dialogue (The line, “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” was voted favourite film one-liner in a 2003 poll) as it was for the Mini Coopers Ss that were an integral part of the action,” says the actor.
During pre-production talks with the makers of Players, Abbas and Mustan, Abhishek was adamant about having the original Minis. It was easier said than done. When the producer-director duo started looking out for the iconic cars, they discovered there was one in Pune and a couple of them in Bangalore. Three cars were not enough. What if one of them got banged up or busted! So then they turned their attention to New Zealand where a large chunk of the film has been shot.
In the picturesque country they found 23 Minis. “We bought three each in red, blue and yellow and all nine cars were on the sets during a chase sequence,” informs Mustan.
For Abhishek, however, the excitement of driving a Mini Cooper that he had so far only watched zipping around on screen in one of his favourite films quickly ebbed. He realised that it was easier standing besides the car than sitting in one.
“Three of the tallest actors in the unit—Sonam (Kapoor), Sikander (Kher) and me — were driving these cars. It would take us five minutes to get into one and another five to get out. Our knees would bump against the steering wheel and our heads would hit the roof. But once you got going, it was a dream ride,” beams the star.
The original Mini Coopers had been upgraded about a decade ago and now the manufacturers are coming up with a newer version of the cars next year. Since Players is pencilled for a January 6, 2012, release the timing couldn’t have been better though there is no tie-up so far. From becoming the getaway vehicle of the players, the Minis could soon be plying on Indian roads.