After working with veterans like Kamal Haasan, Mammootty and Mohanlal, director Mani Ratnam experienced another high treading the same path with Abhishek Bachchan, because he took to untested waters with tremendous confidence in Guru.
"When Kamal did Nayakan, he had done a few roles that had him aged and demanded a lot of commitment from. He was already a veteran and a master. For Abhishek such physical preparation was a first. He was in a new zone. But he took to the untested waters with tremendous confidence," Ratnam told IANS.
Excerpts from an interview:
Guru is another bio-pic like Nayakan. In fact, the physical preparation undertaken by Abhishek is reminiscent of Kamal Haasan's rigorous preparation. Did you get a similar level of commitment from both actors?Absolutely. When Kamal Haasan did Nayakan, he had done a few roles that had him aged and demanded a lot of commitment from. He was already a veteran and a master. For Abhishek such physical preparation was a first. He was in a new zone. But he took to the untested waters with tremendous confidence.
How much do you miss the older generation of actors like Kamal, Mammootty and Mohanlal in your newer films?
They are all great. No doubt. It was a pleasure to work with them. Such actors make a director's life a lot easier. But it is another high to travel similar path with the newer lot.
The youngsters have grown watching these masters perform. The standard has already been set. So, the newer lot is trying not just to reach that standard, but also to cross it. They are a bunch of intelligent youngsters with a wide exposure to world cinema. They bring all that to the shoot.
Guru has an unusual cast. What made you sign on unusual suspects like Mallika Sherawat and Mithun Chakraborty?
Mithun-da was brilliant to work with. He is so real in his performance. Natural and with no fuss.
Mallika did an item song... Is she a commercial add-on? Did she really trouble you during shooting?
Mallika was very professional. She had to dance to a number in Istanbul in very cold conditions. She did it very well. No fuss and no problem whatsoever. She had done a lot of rehearsals before we left for Turkey and worked long hours there in a belly dancer's costume.