Dibakar Banerjee has a good track record so far in Bollywood. From Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006) to his last release Love Sex Aur Dhoka (2010), the director has earned his repute, with which comes some expectations. And when he tells you that his next gritty-political-thriller, based on a book written in 1966 has an item number, you can’t help but gasp. “It’s embedded in the story,” he says before sharing a laugh. “It has reason for it to be there, not just because a bureaucrat and a sleazy photographer walk into a pub where an item girl ‘needs to’ or ‘happens to’ be dancing. There’s stronger logic than that.” That’s a first for a Dibakar Banerjee film, if the title track of his last movie doesn’t qualify as an item number.
Everyone will only find out on January 26 next year, which is when the film is expected to release. Currently, the Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye (2008) National Award-winning director is busy editing the film, which he foresees will take two to three months. And from the look of the rushes, one thing he’s most thrilled about is his casting. “I think we’ve pulled off a coup,” he says, adding that watching Abhay Deol speak fluent Tamil will be the highlight, once the film is out. “I know a side to Abhay that’s very tough, anal and slightly intimidating, as compared to his cheerful image. And I know no one would expect to see him like this.”
The film that also stars Kalki Koechlin and Emraan Hashmi is based in contemporary India and will see Deol play the part of a Tam-bram bureaucrat.
Interestingly, Banerjee has wanted to make this film since he watched the first cinematic adaptation of Z by Costa-Gavras in 1969. “I saw it on Doordarshan when I was 14 years old and I wanted to make something like this. Then I grew up and became an old man and began making films,” he says, adding, “And then I thought to myself, ‘the film as such maybe good to remake, but I think I would like to go back to the book’, because I knew it was based on real life incidents.”