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Govind Nihalani plans a thriller

The ace director is planning to rope in big stars. The film will have have a dark psychological edge to it, reports Saibal Chatterjee.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2006 20:09 IST
WIDE ANGLE | Saibal Chatterjee
WIDE ANGLE | Saibal Chatterjee

Genre films aren't his forte, but his next directorial venture could see cinematographer-filmmaker Govind Nihalani giving a thriller an all-out shot.

"My next film will be a thriller with big stars," he says. "It doesn't have a title, so I am not making a formal announcement just yet." In response to a question, Nihalani is quick to add that the film will, like Drohkaal, have a dark psychological edge.

Nihalani has of course worked with Bollywood stars before. Thakshak featured Ajay Devgan and Tabu, while Dev, his biggest film to date, had Amitabh Bachchan, Fardeen Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Unfortunately, neither of the two films made waves at the box office. So he has a point to prove.

"I have nothing against the stars of commercial Hindi cinema," he asserts. "I see them as actors first and foremost. Many of them are great screen performers." Amitabh Bachchan, he says, was a delight to work with. "He is a meticulous, highly professional actor capable of adding an extra dimension to every scene that he does," adds Nihalani.

Govind Nihalani is planning a thriller with big stars.

So wasn't Nihalani mighty disappointed with the commercial under-performance of Dev? "I would have wanted the film do better business, but I wouldn't have made it any differently. The script was the result of much deliberation," he says.

The Dev debacle is, of course, well behind him. Apart from the thriller that is currently in the works, Nihalani has plans to explore other popular Bollywood genres too. "I will be making a musical pretty soon," he reveals.

Another genre that he is keen to try his hand at is comedy. "I haven't found a good idea yet, but I would love to make an out-and-out comedy some day," Nihalani says. "I admire the comic romps that David Dhawan makes. It requires special skills to keep control on a film when you seek to extract humour from unbridled absurdity."

Nihalani's genre films, as and when they materialise, will mark a clear departure for him as a director. All through his eventful career, the acclaimed filmmaker has worked with literary material and writers. Nihalani has over the years collaborated with the likes of Bhishm Sahni, Vijay Tendulkar, Mahesh Elkunchwar, Shashi Deshpande and Manjula Padmanabhan. "Working with a literary text makes life easier because you have a structure in place at the very outset," he says.

That is obviously the reason why he prefers to have a literary source at the back of his mind even when he works with an original screenplay. "Dev is a reworking of the story of Becket, and Drohkaal was modelled on Joseph Conrad's Under Western Eyes," he points out.

Dev, which was touted as the final part of a 'police force' trilogy (in the wake of Ardh Satya and Drohkaal), did not quite come off. Much would therefore ride on the upcoming thriller. It could prove to be the recompense that fans of Nihalani's brand of cinema are looking for.

First Published: Apr 11, 2006 20:09 IST