Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Exclusive: Aamir asks John Matthew to work on Sarfarosh 2

Director John Matthew Mathan is giving the final touches to his next release, the Himesh Reshamiyaa starrer A New Love Ishtory but he’s already working on the script of what could be Sarfarosh 2!

The 1999 Aamir-starrer, Sarfarosh about Pakistan and ISI was a runaway hit and we must add, provided enough scope for a sequel given its theme and open-ended climax. “To be honest at that time, we had no plans of making a sequel to the film or exploiting the idea further. But fact remains that the film does lend itself to a sequel, considering how Ajay Rathod (Aamir Khan) goes on to his next case,” he says.

It was a year back that Aamir called up John Matthew and asked him if he could work on Sarfarosh sequel. I said, “Why not?”
Given that Pakistan and the ISI are once again in news, one would assume that the director-actor team will carry the theme forward but that doesn’t seem likely. “No, this script won’t be about the Pak ISI. Fact is Taliban is hijacking Pakistan itself, so I really have nothing more to say than I did in Sarfarosh. But yes, it will be about national security,” he tells us.

The director says today’s faceless terror posed several problems for him while writing the script. Also, he reliases that a lot of research needs to go into the film. “See, cinematically, you need your villain to have a face, otherwise there is no story. And today’s villain is faceless, so I spent a lot of time thinking how it could be worked out. Now, I have found that face and hopefully, the script will be ready soon,” he says.

There appears to be one small problem though. The original had Sonali Bendre as Aamir’s love interest. Is he planning to approach the much married actress for this one too? He smiles, “We haven’t thought about it seriously but you see I didn’t show Aamir and Sonali married in Sarfarosh, did I? Neither were they engaged,” he cheekily adds, clearly hinting that Aamir will have a new heroine for Sarfarosh 2.

But of course much depends on the final script, which has to be approved by Aamir. “In the past, we’ve had disagreements about the script but Aamir always gives you your space. Once he knows you’re going in the right direction, he literally pushes you to do it,” he says.
Talking about his upcoming film with Himesh Reshyammiya, the project seems to be a rather odd choice for a maker who has dabbled with serious subjects. “Yes, Sarfarosh and Shikhar couldn’t be treated lightly, because one was about terrorism and the other about our environment. The film with Himesh is a romantic comedy and it has been treated in that manner,” he says.

Yet, he doesn’t have the sensibility to make a no brainer, he adds. “I can’t make an illogical film. I mean you won’t see me taking all kinds of cinematic and dramatic liberty. I don’t believe in have coincidences in films. You can have one coincidence – where the boy meets the girl but not more. In real life, you could have more coincidences but your audience will never pardon you if you do in a film. That makes it a convenient script,” he says.

When he started A New Love Ishtory, Himesh was at all time high. His Aap Ka Suroor was a hit of sorts and there were a lot of takers for him. But post Karzzzz, things have slowed down for the singer-music composer, haven’t they? The director gives a familiar response, “All actors go through ups and downs. I have never believed in hastily saying somebody has ‘made it’ or then writing off someone as quickly. All actors have struggle periods. Some are lucky to make it in Bollywood after eight flops, others do it after fourteen. So, I look at the situation optimistically,” he tells us.

One believes the film is about a tapori and his love story. “Yes, he’s virtually a bum and falls in love with a woman who is way above his league. He aspires to have her in his life and on the surface of it, it’s an impossible love story.”
And is he happy with Himesh’s performance? “Yes I am. He plays a nobody in the film, a wannabe actor…and he’s played it with restraint. There was no scope for any overacting since it’s a casual role,” he says.

Himesh has made much of him being an Aamir fan in the film, but John Matthew corrects that there are just a couple of references to the Ghajini superstar. “He just has a poster of Aamir in his room and there are some dialogues where he’s spoken about how he wants to be like him, but otherwise, there’s nothing much to it,” he says.
While the Himesh film could well surprise us, all eyes will now be on Sarfarosh 2 if all goes well.

Sandhya Iyer


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