Anurag Basu casts mentor Mahesh Bhatt's son in film

Mumbai, Jan 8 Filmmaker Anurag Basu has a new mission on Ground Zero. He is directing 'Suicide Bomber', a film about the July 2005 London bombings, with his ex-mentor Mahesh Bhatt's son Rahul in the lead.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 | 8:19:57 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Mumbai, Jan 8 (IANS) Filmmaker Anurag Basu has a new mission on Ground Zero. He is directing 'Suicide Bomber', a film about the July 2005 London bombings, with his ex-mentor Mahesh Bhatt's son Rahul in the lead.

For Basu, whose victories include battling a terminal illness,'Suicide Bomber' is a new challenge after the 'absolutely exciting and original' film, 'Gangster'.

Recalling his painful parting with the 'Bhatts', Anurag says, 'My equations with Mahesh Bhatt is not what he shares with those who work for him. I never assisted him and I am not related to him. He has seen my work on television and he gave me a break in 'Saaya'. The producer in me was dormant all the time. With 'Metro...', I was an on-line producer and an executive producer with UTV. This wasn't possible with the Bhatts. I was only a director there. Maybe, in a couple of years, I'll turn a full-fledged producer. Even now I consult him on the phone.'

'Suicide Bomber' is Anurag's most realistic film to date. He feels Rahul Bhatt is perfect as the 'bomber'. 'Bhatt saab didn't force me to cast Rahul. We had thought of casting him in 'Murder' and 'Gangster',' Basu explains. 'But he wasn't suitable for those films.'

'I love working with new actors. I love moulding them to my own vision. With established actors, you have to first make them unlearn and then make them learn. My discovery Kangana Raut had a great actor in her. I just helped her bring it out.'

Would Kangana star in 'Suicide Bomber'? 'It's a hero-oriented subject. I don't want to waste Kangana. When I started writing 'Suicide Bomber', I thought I'd do it myself. Then, I realised all my knowledge about the London bombings was what I managed to gather from the Internet. I thought Mahesh Bhatt would be able to handle the subject far better. He is working on the script.'

'Life in the Metro' was Anurag's homage to that feeling called love. 'Making 'Gangster' wasn't an easy experience. But while making it, I felt god was giving me courage and the inspiration to do the kind of work I believe in. He's making up for the pain he gave me. There're some episodes in 'Life in a Metro' taken from my own experiences. One of the stories is from a play I staged in college.'

Since almost the entire industry wants to work with him now, how important are the stars to Basu? 'When I write a script, I want to film it immediately. But it is not possible for stars to give you dates immediately. That's how Shiney Ahuja came into 'Gangster'. I had planned to cast Sanjay Dutt, who didn't have immediate dates. With 'Metro...' I was lucky. Everyone, I approached said yes. The schedule was finalised in a month.'

Anurag had first cast his 'Gangster' pair Shiney and Kangana. 'The rest of the cast just followed, Konkona (Sen Sharma) being the last of the cast. It's a little tough to direct so many different actors. However, shooting wasn't as difficult as coordinating dates. We had a ball once the dates were in place. Fortunately, no one except one actor had a problem with the dates.'

Anurag had a problem with Irrfan Khan's dates. 'He had to shift locations for the Daniel Pearl film he's doing with Brad Pitt.' Now that the industry wants to work with Anurag, who would he like to work with? 'Govinda,' comes the reply. 'I think he's hugely talented.'

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