It’s been five years since your debut, Shabd.
I knew producer Ambika Hinduja a little before Shabd released. I wanted her to wait and watch the kind of work I did, before making professional associations. Luckily, neither of us is in a hurry to make films. We’d rather invest time and bring a fabulous product to the table. We were working on another script, but we weren’t too pleased with the outcome. Then, Teen Patti came up and we started working on it.
What do you feel Shabd lacked?
I don’t think the film failed. The collections weren’t appetising, but I received great feedback for the way the film had turned out. Shabd dealt with the mindset of a writer. If someone fails to get that, then obviously, one didn’t connect with the film either.
Apparently, Teen Patti is inspired from the Hollywood film, 21...
When we narrated the idea to Amitabh Bachchan and he gave it a go-ahead, 21 hadn’t even released in the West. It took a while to fall into place, because we wanted to get the finer nuances of gambling right. When 21 released, Ambika and I watched it with our team of actors. We are certain Teen Patti is a different film.
Reportedly, Prateik Babbar and Shraddha Kapoor were the first youngsters to be cast in the film. But, Prateik didn’t do the film eventually…
I can’t say much about Prateik, but I conducted auditions with several newcomers. Ambika knew Shraddha’s brother very well and we had seen her photos on Facebook. So, we auditioned her and she fit the bill perfectly. We had found our bindaas girl, Aparna.
The film took long to complete. Ambika Hinduja was planning to get married after the film’s release. But since the film got delayed, she tied the knot while a portion was still pending…
The film is on time. It’s not like Shabd that needed just one location. And Ambika got married as she had planned.
It was rumoured that Arshad Warsi opted out of the film, because he asked for changes and you weren’t willing to incorporate them.
Arshad never interfered. The dates weren’t working out because we had informed everyone that their dates would have to match Mr Bachchan’s. And his dates didn’t. However, Madhavan fit the bill. He plays a charismatic professor who is innocent and mischievous.