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Akshay Kumar had warned me to not experiment with his look in Action Replayy: Vipul Shah

Filmmaker Vipul Shah talks about his 16-year long journey in Bollywood, returning to direction after eight years with Namaste England and the only regret he has.

bollywood Updated: Jun 29, 2018 13:02 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Vipul Shah,Akshay Kumar,Bollywood
Filmmaker Vipul Shah has produced films such as Singh Is Kinng, Force 1 and 2, Commando 1 and 2 and Holiday.

Having completed 16 years in the Hindi film industry, filmmaker Vipul Shah calls his run in Bollywood a “wonderful journey”. From directing films to donning the producer’s hat to enjoying a tryst with small screen too, Vipul has tasted success with most of his projects. Having directed Namaste England after a hiatus of eight years, the filmmaker, in a freewheeling conversation, talks to us about working with biggies in the business, teaming with the younger crop, his mantra to celebrate success and learning from his mistakes.

How do you feel when you look back upon these 16 years?

I started as a backstage boy in plays and from there, I moved on to directing plays. Then I made a lot of regional TV shows and then TV show Ek Mehal Ho Sapno Ka happened. So, the journey has only given me better opportunities.

What has been the biggest high in your career so far? And have there been low points too?

I don’t complain about the downs. I’m only happy about the ups. One of biggest achievements, I feel, was when my first film [Aankhen] was considered for a Hollywood remake and Robert De Niro expressed interest in playing Amitabh Bachchan’s part in the remake, though it never materialised. Then, to have films like Namastey London, which established me into the space of love stories and Singh is Kinng that gave sikh people a caption for themselves, were great highs.

And what about working with such variety of actors?

In my directorial debut, I got to work with Mr. Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal — such fine actors. Then, I worked with Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn in London Dreams and Aishwarya Rai in Action Replayy. I’ve also been able to launch new talents like Aditya Roy Kapoor and Vidyut Jamvwal. So, it’s been great.

Actors Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a still from Action Replayy.

Is there any regret or something you wish could be undone?

I only feel that I should have done Action Replayy differently. Probably the results would’ve been different. When I was making it, I had no fear that it won’t do well. In hindsight, I feel Akshay’s look and the way he came across didn’t go well with the audiences. He had warned me before getting into the look and said that this is too experimental for a mainstream film, so don’t do this. But, I convinced him that this is the right thing and he went with my conviction. That’s when actors and the whole team put so much faith in you and completely give themselves to you. If it doesn’t work out, then that’s a regret you always have. But those are the chances you take.

You’ve just wrapped up shooting for Namaste England. Why this eight year break from direction?

I wanted to reinvent myself but this gap got little longer than what I had thought. In between so many productions, I didn’t want to direct. But, I was super excited to come back to direction, as I’ve always wanted that. I think I’ve changed as a director and matured a little more than I was.

Matured in what sense?

Whenever I look back at my work; I completely am disappointed with myself whether the film is a success or failure. If I see Aankhen today, I can’t see it and that’s for all my films. I only find mistakes in them. So, I feel, in Namastey England, with a little more experience, my mistakes will be fewer.

What’s your view on taking a franchise forward?

This is not a sequel to Namstey London. But if you’ve seen the previous film, this will remind you of that. So, that’s why I’m calling it Namaste England, as it’s a similar world but not the same franchise going forward.

Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal

First Published: Jun 29, 2018 12:55 IST