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Mahesh Bhatt inspires Milan Luthria

Diganta Guha chats up Milan whose Taxi No 9 2 11 is ready for release. Milan describes his film as a "comedy".

india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 20:13 IST

Director Milan Luthria has a penchant for experimenting, from Kachche Dhaage and Chori Chori to Deewaar. HT City caught up with the filmmaker on his forthcoming Taxi No. 9 2 11.

We are confused by the promos. How does one categorise the film?
Isn’t that a relief? Finally, it’s like breaking the mould. It is very difficult to slot the film in a genre. It is a comedy, a story of confrontations, yet sensitive. And it is only a two-hour long film. I shot the film in single schedule (45 days).

Taxi No. 9 2 11 sees you in a completely different light, doesn’t it?
Initially it was meant to be a small-budget film with no stars. John wasn’t the star he is when we (Rameshji and I) thought of him. Nana was also not in the limelight. We wanted a concept that is unique. It has to stand out. It should have the effect of breaking grounds. We wanted the film to be high on concept. I have been deeply inspired by Mahesh Bhatt who made a Gumraah on the one hand and a Sir on the other.

About the casting…
We always had John and Nana in mind. They contrast each other and that is what we wanted. Nana is a prepared actor, a little eccentric. We had our clashes, but he is a keen learner and extremely supportive. John, on the other hand, is quite laidback, but has a very calming influence on the sets. He is extremely considerate.

In my view John’s potential as an actor has not been tapped. His face has some kind of vulnerability that suits the role. I am sure he will take many by surprise with his performance. Nana isn’t the volatile actor we are used to seeing in films. He is crazy, yet extremely likeable. Both shared excellent rapport.

What about Sonali Kulkarni and Sameera Reddy?
Again both are contrasting characters. Sonali also hasn’t been utilised so far. She has done a great job in the film as Nana’s wife.

How was it working with Bappi Lahiri in the song Boom-bai nagaria?
Great! We were looking for a unique flavour for the song. He was very supportive. He has a style of his own. We (music director duo Vishal-Shekhar and Milan), gave him the basic outline of the song and asked him to innovate where he wanted.

The music also rocks…
It does. I was a bit apprehensive about Vishal and Shekhar as they were not that big when talks were on. But they have come up really well and deserve all the success. Vishal has also written some songs for my film.

Working with Ramesh Sippy must have been a great experience…
Yes. He has been a director himself and understands the importance of giving his directors creative freedom. The same is the case with his son Rohan. Rameshji’s tips were extremely valuable. I am doing my next film with him.

First Published: Feb 20, 2006 20:13 IST