Why compare Aksar with Lagaan: Ananth Mahadevan
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Why compare Aksar with Lagaan: Ananth Mahadevan

The next four months will see the release of his four films including the remake of Victoria no. 203. Ananth Mahadevan gets talking with Shaikh Ayaz.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2007 11:31 IST

Suddenly it's an Ananth Narayan Mahadevan film festival at the Bombay matinee. The next four months will mark the release of his four films.. starting from Victoria no 203 this week followed by Agar, Anamika and Staying Alive. In his frugally-lit study room at a Versova apartment, we get instinctively voluble.. like long-lost pals. Here's an excerpt:

You've never had so many releases before. Strange, huh?
(Laughs) Oh, it wasn't planned.. but the entire exercise of handling four up-for-release films has given me great lessons in concentration.. perhaps it has made me a better director. The important part is that all the films are different in their themes.. hence, I'm saved from repeating myself.

Why remake Victoria no 203?
When I was offered the film, I had apprehensions. Producer Kamal Sadanah and I were on an interactive show on a news channel.. a quick audience poll suggested that we should remake Victoria no 203. That got me going.

Unlike other recent films, at least Victoria 203 is a legitimate remake.
I believe remaking a film is like putting your signature on someone else's work.. it's a forgery. I've tried to adapt Victoria no 203.. there's a new character (played by Preeti Jhangiani).. some songs are new. Why blame us for remaking? Even Hollywood has been recycling films for years. Sometimes it has worked for them.. at times, it hasn't. Today you see the 1960s Oceans Eleven or Infernal Affairs being remade and it works.

<b1>Why a trilogy on Aksar..it is not exactly an iconic blockbuster like Lagaan?
Why compare Aksar's success to that of Lagaan's? With the kind of budget it had, Aksar fared exceptionally well.. its recovery was so much better. As for the trilogy, there's always a room for follow-up films in the hardcore thriller genre. Agar will be better than Aksar.. I hope to surpass myself in Anjaam.

You've had a close association with the late Hrishikesh Mukherjee. How much is your cinema, especially your first film, Dil Vil Pyar Vyar, inspired by his feel warm movies?
I've been an impassioned admirer of Hrishida's work. I was there with him throughout.. right till his death. I'm proud that I could interact with him so closely.. I was even supposed to work with him in a film as an assistant. Hrishida was so generous that he wanted to put my name as a co-director in the credits.

I told him I don't mind being his spot boy. There's a technique in editing called inter-cut.. I used it to a good effect in my TV shows (Ghar Jamai and Chamatkar). I picked that up from Hrishida, who was an editor himself. He continues to inspire filmmakers like me.

Whatever happened to acting?
It's on.. but nowadays, there are no good roles. I have just signed Nagesh Kukunoor's Tasveer. I don't want to be in two-scene roles, where I don't bring any extra value to the character or the film..

Sorry to interrupt, you seem to be a narcissist in Staying Alive.. where you've gifted yourself the lead role.
(Laughs) It's not as if I'm in love with myself. I'm very close to the script of Staying Alive.. it's based on writer Sujit Sen's story somewhat autobiographical. I knew I could do justice to that role.

Today, after being here for so many years, I want to work only for filmmakers like Shyam Benagal, Adoor Gopalakrishnan or Rituparno Ghosh.

First Published: Aug 30, 2007 13:35 IST