Replacing Hrithik was not an option!

Published On: 2019-10-30

Author: Various

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Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif were my first choice: Siddharth Anand

Source: Asianage
Date: September 24, 2014
By: Priyanka Pinto

Siddharth Anand’s Bang Bang was not the easiest film to make. And now that it’s over and the film is ready for release, the director looks back at the journey that started several years ago

Why the name Bang Bang?
I thought of this title about 4 years ago and I really liked it. I registered it with my close friend Sujoy Ghosh’s production company, as I didn’t have my own production company then. Also, at that time I didn’t have an action film in my radar. It was a coincidence that Sujoy wrote the script for the film, so I asked him for my title back.

Why did you decide to remake Knight and Day?
Knight and Day chose me. Fox Studios asked me to make a film for them. They had a library of five thousand films. They asked me to pick one to remake. I picked a small film called 500 Days of Summer. We started working on it and I also had a look at Knight and Day. After watching the film, I found it really bad. And I said let’s not make this it’s pretty bad, but they told me it really worked in India. And they showed me the figures. The statistics told me that the film was a success all over the world except the US. It was a quintessentially Hindi film.

Why did you choose Hrithik and Katrina? Wasn’t Shahid Kapoor your first choice?
No, Hrithik and Katrina were my first and last choice. A lot of rumours were doing the rounds. Those days Shahid and me were good friends and Mausam had just released. He wasn’t doing any film then which may have spurred the rumours.

Did you have to make major changes in the film after Hrithik’s surgery?
Our whole climax has changed, because I had a lot of free time then. I went into editing my film, made numerous changes in the script and even changed the climax. The story changed a little. The climax has completely changed. I think it is destiny.

After Hrithik’s surgery did you have a backup plan in place?
How can there be a replacement for Hrithik? My backup would be to go back to my village.

Tell us about Hrithik’s flyboard sequence.
We had a sequence where the hero escapes from an island. In the script, it was written that he escapes on a jet ski. I asked my assistants to come of with other methods. Initially, we thought of a sea bob. Then I researched and found this new flyboard technique and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

"I’m a hero’s director"

Source: Filmfare

Siddharth Anand talks about making ‘the’ big-ticket movie of the year. Filmfare records his candid confessions

Successful people don’t get there by sailing through life without failures. Most of them are distinguished by their ability to get right back up every time they fall. Like Winston Churchill said, it is the courage to continue that counts. And perseverance is something that sets Siddharth Anand apart. He was written off in 2010 after the debacle of Anjaana Anjaani. The never-say-die director however refused to read his professional obituary. Today he’s making the right kind of noise with Bang Bang, which is an official remake of the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz starrer, Knight And Day. Much grander in scale compared to his last movie, it’s being called one of the biggest films of Indian cinema.

Siddharth still remembers the after-effects of Anjaana Anjaani. “It was like whatever I had done previously didn’t seem to hold any value. Luckily, I learnt to be pragmatic and realised that you’re only as good as your last film. Yes, I did go back and reflect on where I went wrong. I wasn’t happy with the performance of the film but rejection is rough, no matter how you slice it. So I put pressure on myself and started afresh. My only regret is because Anjaana Anjaani didn’t work, the music didn’t reach where it could have.”
Even after going back to the drawing board, Siddharth never imagined he’d be making a film like Bang Bang next. “Which is why it’s of utmost importance to me that Hrithik Roshan is proud of the film.” He adds, “I still don’t know if Hrithik has seen Anjaana Anjaani or not. I still don’t know what he’d heard about me before we met but he’s shown immense faith in me. Even if the film doesn’t live up to the numbers Hrithik has in mind, he should look at it and say we’ve made a killer film.”

It’s apparent that Siddharth is grateful to Hrithik. With reason he states, “He wasn’t judgmental. And at a time when every director and producer was after him to sign their film, he chose my movie. This is between Agneepath and Krrish 3. So I want his decision to pay off.” However, Siddharth’s Bang Bang journey hasn’t been a cakewalk. It’s been in the making for two years now. “Actually, it’s been with me for four years. And I’m someone who likes to churn out a film every year, so the payoff is important,” he smiles.
Everything that could possibly go wrong during the making of the film did. The Kashmir schedule got cancelled; Hrithik had an injury due to which Katrina Kaif’s dates had to be reworked. “Yes,” he cuts in, “The film went on standby for the release of Krrish 3 and we pushed the release date. I don’t think I’ve had these kinds of troubles while shooting any film. I don’t want to relive the shooting of Bang Bang. I’m just happy that none of this shows in the film. The movie looks like a breeze even though it’s been an exacting journey for Hrithik and us. But even after his injury, Hrithik has done every stunt on his own. He never compromised on anything.”

Ask Siddharth about Hrithik’s creative involvement in the movie and he replies, “He’s a great asset. Hrithik can even be an assistant to you. If I’m out scouting locations and want something to be taken care of in the studio, he’ll do it. He’s addictive. The best part is he’s such a big star but he never imposes on the creative process. But it’s imperative for him to trust you. Once he trusts you, he’ll give in to you,” he smiles. “But you have to earn that trust. I was a bit sceptical about things before I met him. But if you know what you’re doing and saying, he lets go. We’ve had no conflict from day one because we have the exact same thought process. We say the exact things, sometimes, at the same time. It’s uncanny.” 

He completely rubbishes rumours that Hrithik has been heavily involved in editing the film. “He only involves himself as much as an actor should. The only thing he has told me so far is to use takes where he looks better or his expression is good. He doesn’t tell you which scene to cut, etc. which is why I think I’ve gotten spoilt after working with him. Hrithik is accommodating. I can’t work with people who tell me how to do my job. I won’t suck up to an actor and be friends with them for work.”

Siddharth’s camaraderie with Hrithik may seem special but the director says he has always shared a great rapport with his actors. “I’m a hero’s director, just like Yash Chopra was a heroine’s director. I’ve been friends with Saif (Ali Khan) and Ranbir (Kapoor). But we’ve not shared the same passion I share with Hrithik.”

But he adds cautiously, “Friends is a bastardized term in the industry. Friendships change every Friday. Nobody is your friend here. Friendships have to stand the test of time.”
There were rumours that he’d fallen out with Ranbir after the failure of Anjaana Anjaani. “Ranbir and I are not friends by choice. We are friends through family. We go back a long way. My father (Bittu Anand) and his father (Rishi Kapoor) were best friends till my father passed away. We have a forced friendship. Like how you can’t choose your brothers and sisters,” he laughs. “We never fell out as such but we aren’t working on a movie right now. The rumours got fanned because we don’t hang out anymore. But we still abuse each other jokingly, when we talk once in a while.” 

He agrees that things would’ve been different had Anjaana Anjaani worked. He adds with a grin, “Yes! We would have worked on another film. We would still be hanging out 
and people would still be calling us friends.” By that logic, his equation with Hrithik must be purely professional too. “I wouldn’t deny Hrithik and I go beyond the film but we are so into the film right now that we’re living, eating and breathing it. Some bonds are special but at the end of the day, time is the best judge.” Recently, there were rumours 
that Katrina wasn’t happy with the promo of the film because she’s barely in it. The director shrugs, “Who says these things? None of it is true. Katrina’s thrilled and 
I know that. In fact, Bang Bang is the best role of her career. I’ve told her that and even Hrithik feels the same. You can’t imagine what she has done. She has a great character and she’s so hard working. She’s relentless.”

Considering Cameron Diaz has a major part in the original, there was a debate about whether Katrina Kaif would be able to pull off the role at all. “Katrina was my first choice for Bang Bang,” he says. “Hindi may not be her first language but she works towards overcoming that every time and it comes across in my film in a big way.”