The Big Bull director reveals Ajay Devgn suggested Abhishek Bachchan for lead role: 'He has that kind of depth'
Director Kookie Gulati says his film The Big Bull is set in the world of stock market and that is the only similarity between the upcoming Abhishek Bachchan-starrer and Hansal Mehta's acclaimed web series Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story.
Mehta's SonyLIV series released last year and featured Pratik Gandhi in the lead playing stockbroker Harshad Mehta who was involved in financial crimes in the 1980s and 1990s.
According to Gulati, The Big Bull is a "fictional tale", which stars Bachchan as a stockbroker named Hemant Shah. When the trailer of the film was released last week, fans drew parallels between The Big Bull and Scam 1992, even prompting Hansal Mehta to tweet that the audience should not resort to making "unfair comparisons".
In an interview with PTI, Gulati said he was touched by the filmmaker's gesture and said the audience will realise that the two projects are remarkably different from each other after watching the movie. "Everyone is entitled to their view and I would respect that. It was extremely gracious of Hansal to say that. It reflects the positivity that is there now in the industry, where someone like him -- his body of work and mine can't be compared -- says 'give them a chance.'
"I just hope people do give me a chance, watch the film and realise they are two completely different projects. I am hoping our film also does as well as their series but if someone wants to compare, they're welcome to," the director said.
Also starring Ileana D'Cruz, Nikita Dutta and Soham Shah, The Big Bull is set to be released on Disney Hotstar on April 8. The film went on floors in September 2019 but hit a roadblock when the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown was announced last March. The team resumed the film's pending shoot of nearly 10 days in September 2020.
Gulati said by the time he saw Scam 1992, a series that he "enjoyed" watching, he had already finished shooting most of The Big Bull.
The director said since his approach with the film was different, the idea of tweaking anything in the film post the success of Scam 1992 never arose. "By the time I saw 'Scam', I had finished shooting most of my film. So there's nothing that I did in that relation (tweaking). We have our own story.
"Though I enjoyed watching the show, once you see the film you'll understand how there's a completely different approach," he added.
Post his 2010 feature directorial debut with the Vivek Oberoi-starrer Prince, Gulati was eager to get back to direction when writer Arjun Dhawan approached him with idea of The Big Bull in 2016.
The duo wrote the film for the next two years, with Gulati drawing a lot from his own experience of working at the stock market from 1991-92 at a broker's office.
Gulati first pitched the film to director Indra Kumar, who was then making the multi-starrer Total Dhamaal. Kumar, instead, asked him to join the 2019 comedy as a creative director.
On the set of Total Dhamaal, Gulati met Ajay Devgn and pitched the film to him, with the actor instantly coming on board to back the project. Gulati said it was Devgn who suggested Bachchan's name for The Big Bull, as the team needed an actor with incredible depth to bring the journey of the titular character to screen.
"Abhishek has that kind of experience and depth in acting so when his name came up I jumped at it. Working with him, I realised he is not only a smart actor but also an aware person. He brought in tremendous sensibility to the character," Gulati said.
Produced by Devgn and Anand Pandit with Kumar Mangat Pathak and Vikrant Sharma attached as co-producers, the movie also stars Ram Kapoor, Supriya Pathak and Saurabh Shukla.