His second directorial venture Goal is about the triumph of the human spirit and also makes it a point not to portray Pakistanis in a bad light, says Vivek Agnihotri.
"There is a hero, a champ, in all of us and you just have to discover it. My film Goal is about that. It is about the triumph of the human spirit," Agnihotri told IANS on phone from Mumbai. The film is releasing Nov 23.
"Long back I read about the1958 Munich airport tragedy - the plane carrying Manchester United English football players crashed. They were returning home after their win.
"I took inspiration from how the ones who survived the tragedy restored their spirit and rebuilt the team - they were the champs and they became one again. It is a very simple film with special feelings," he added.
The other highlight of the film is that it doesn't do Pakistan bashing.
"Arshad Warsi and Bipasha Basu are Pakistanis and another actor, Debashish, plays a Bangladeshi guy. Unlike other Bollywood filmmakers, we are not showing them in a negative light.
"Though the purpose of cinema is to entertain, we have often given a showdown to other countries, specially Pakistan. I haven't seen a Pakistani film, so I can't comment on how they portray India in their films. But most Indian films show Pakistan as a villain. We must understand that the world is not about individuals. Europeans are so proud of their countries."
<b1>Despite being well-scripted and well-enacted, Agnihotri's directorial debut Chocolate didn't have a good run at the box office.
Tell him that this time his film will be compared with the biggest hit of the year, Chak De! India , and he replies: "I am aware of that. It was a very inspiring film and I'm very proud of it, more so because it was made by my friend. But the thing is that we are not Chak De! India! It is wider than that.
"So far you have seen NRIs moving in swanky cars and living in big houses. But my film will show them struggling. The NRIs in my movie have nothing! They mop floors and do all sorts of things for survival. But their spirit is alive and how they come together to be a champ is what the film is all about."
For Agnihotri, script is the king.
"As far as the script is concerned, I had the basic idea and I wrote 20 odd drafts of the film and spent a year on the research. After that we sent the script to Syd Fields, he is the script doctor. After he passed it and everybody else was fully convinced, we launched the film."
Commenting on the pitiable condition of scriptwriting, he said: "I think only a happy mind can write good scripts. A writer who doesn't have the money to feed himself can't deliver a good script.
"I feel that a large chunk of the budget should be kept separately for scriptwriters. Unless writers are secure, they can't churn out good stories.
"In Hollywood, a scriptwriter gets the maximum facilities. So our film industry should also pay more attention to scriptwriters and provide facilities to develop good stories.
"Also, we don't have a culture to adopt great literature. We should also start doing that in our movies."
Most filmmakers depend a lot on marketing to sell their film. Is that the right thing to do?
"I'm a marketing graduate and as far as the role of marketing in a film's success is concerned, there are two ways to look at it. First, we are living in an over-communicated society and wherever we go, something is being said to us and is trying to draw our attention. In this situation a movie has to make its presence felt through marketing tools.
"Second, the notion that marketing is everything shows that we are low on content. A film that doesn't have a good script can't work," said Agnihotri.