Director Vipul Shah has a secret. It is the look of his Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai starrer time-travel caper Action Replay.
"We, Akshay's designer Shabina Khan, Aishwarya's designer Manish Malhotra and all of us have worked really, really hard to give Action Replay a unique look. If that look is leaked out, we'd lose our biggest USP," Shah told IANS.
"We're taking stringent steps to ensure the confidentiality of our look." Shah takes serious umbrage to the suggestion that the retro look in his film is similar to Om Shanti Om.
"We haven't copied anything from the films of the 1970s (as Om Shanti Om has). If we would have got into that 35 mm space, we'd have ended up copying only Mr. (Amitabh) Bachchan's clothes and style.
"Akshay insisted we do more authentic research. We dug into archival material on the clothes, mannerisms and people of the 1970s," he said.
"Since we haven't copied our 1970s look from Hindi films, Akshay and Aishwarya sat down to look at real life footage from the decade to get the look right. They specially looked at television footage of live cricket matches in the 1970s.
"Akshay was busy peering at the pavilion of spectators, what they wore, how they spoke moved their body language. That's how he conceived his character in the seventies. That's where Paul Pattison's wig came in."
And what does he have to say to Action Replay being compared with Back To The Future?
"Well earlier my film was supposed to be The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. Now that accusation has been wrongly passed on to another film ('Paa'). Now I'm supposed to have copied Back To The Future. Again, untrue. If anything, all time-travel films including mine are inspired by H.G. Wells' Time Machine."
On the sets of Action Replay, Akshay's retro-wig, which he wears for his 1970s look, is his most prized possession. Apparently the wig designed by one of Hollywood's biggest makeup artistes Paul Pattison, who worked for films like Braveheart and Mission Impossible 2, made Akshay paranoid. He was petrified of losing it.
There are 400 other wigs all done under Pattison's supervision for junior artistes posing as people in the 1970s. "We were very particular about the 1970s look recreated at the Nitin Chandrakant Desai's studio in Karjat. We needed the cars from the 70s which we had to get from all over India from private owners at a very heavy price.
"The BEST buses in the 1970s were very different from their counterparts today. Getting authentic BEST buses from the seventies was the hardest part of the whole era-recreation. Getting Akshay and Aishwarya to go retro was the easiest thing. They had a ball getting into their wigs, clothes and body language," said Shah.