Filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh says his next venture Aladin, which has superstar Amitabh Bachchan playing the genie and is complete with the latest special effects, will be no less than a Harry Potter or The Lord Of The Rings flick.
"Our funda was simple, we had to make a movie which is indeed world class. Indian audiences aren't alien to 'Harry Potter' or The Lord of the Rings series. We couldn't have given them anything less. We knew it would cost a lot of money but somehow we had an inkling that we would be able to raise it," Ghosh told IANS in an interview.
He described his film as a visual delight, the kind which he equated to eating an ice-cream with your eyes.
Ghosh, who has earlier made the much-liked Jhankaar Beats (2003), said actor Riteish Deshmukh and he hit upon the idea of making Aladin over countless mugs of coffee five years ago.
Riteish's Masti (2004) had just released and the actor had won accolades for his comic timing, and Ghosh only had Jhankaar Beats behind him. His Home Delivery was yet to be made, but the filmmaker was brimming with ideas, one of them being Aladin.
"I had just come out from watching the premiere of Masti and I knew I wanted to work with Ritiesh Deshmukh. His comic timing was immaculate. I got his number and met him that night at the Mariott. And we decided we'll make Aladin," Ghosh recalled.
The big-budget, special effects-laden film also stars Sanjay Dutt as a cool villain and marks the entry of Sri Lankan beauty Jackie Fernandez paired opposite Ritiesh, who will play Aladdin.
"Actually, in retrospect, it all seems to be so unreal. Here we were two youngsters who met for the first time and even though we knew that between us we didn't bring much to the table, we believed we could do it. Instantly, we decided to make a film, which has never been seen before on the Indian screen. There were a few nervous pangs though as it wasn't easy to translate great ideas into an actual film.
"I think we paused for a bit and laughed our guts out thinking what an insane path to embark upon, but we wanted to and we did. Both of us had other dreams to pursue at that point. Ritiesh had some three films that he was committed to while I was pursuing my biggest ever dream. But still we took on a journey that has lasted for so many years," the director said.
The filmmaking process began after a while with a year being spent on scripting, a year-and-a-half of pre-production, 149 days of shoot and a year of post-production.
"Finally ... The tree of imagination has come alive," Ghosh exclaimed.
"Ritiesh and I left the coffee shop at Mariott thinking about what we had just agreed upon. At least I did, for all I know Ritiesh could have been thinking about the huge bill he just footed.
"But, yes, he never gave up on Aladin; neither did I. We may have paused in between but we never stopped till 'Aladin' happened. I promise you, you have never seen anything like this before," the director concluded.
With music by Vishal and Shekhar, Aladin is produced by Eros International in association with Ghosh's production company Boundscript.