Aseem Merchant has made his mark in Bollywood and is all set to enter in Malayalam Film Industry with the latest flick Kandahar. Previous films of the series were successes all over Kerala; Kirtichakra and in Kurukshetra.
Aseem shares his experiences of acting in a Malayalam movie for the first time.
What is your role in Khandahar?
How was the experience of shooting with Major Ravi?
Working with Major Ravi is a great experience shooting for long hours and very disciplined. Because he is from Military, there is always a disciplined atmosphere on the sets and that pressure brings out the best in you. He is a very intelligent and an executive guy.
You are sharing the screen space with Amitabh Bachchan and Mohanlal; how do you feel?
Actually when I started off with the movie, I really had no idea who actually Mohanlal was and then when I saw people touching his feet when he entered the airport, I realized he is one of the big shots of the industry. And I felt really embarrassed at that point of time because after completing the scenes, he would call me and sit with me and talk. He has also recommended me for another Malayalam movie.
The movie was shot in different locations of Nepal and Kerala; how was the experience?
We have shot in places like Dehra Dun and Jodhpur and we have been only travelling for three months without break and because we are travelling with the same unit it feels great and there is a jovial feeling among all of us.
What was the greatest challenge when you did the movie?
This is my first Malayalam movie and the unit also consisted most with Malayalees. But at the same time they are really very helpful and understanding. They are great professionals and have a great sense of timing and punctuality. In Bollywood people take a lot of time, nearly one year, to complete a movie whereas in South, the team does not take that much .I am so awed by their professionalism and the dedication towards the time and recognizing its value.
What are your expectations from the movie?
This is my first movie and I expect it do well because Major Ravi's other movies have done well in South. So I believe that this too would do well and considering the fact that Mohanlal is one of the icons in Malayalam film industry, the movie will see its success.
This is your first South Indian movie, what difference did you feel from Bollywood?
The major difference I felt was in the time that takes to complete one movie. Where Bollywood takes a year or two to complete the movie, the South industry completes it within a year. The professionalism and the time value are great in South Industry. And also the actors do not use body double or even cable support for the action scenes and hence I had to do all the scenes for myself and they were all energy consuming. And I ended up having little bruises here and there.
What preparations did you do for the film?
I did the research that was needed wherein I read everything about the Indian 'Airlines Flight 814 (call sign IC-814)' hijack that had happened on December 24, 1999 and also worked on the character because there are different looks for the same movie.
There have been other movies on hijacking; what is unique in this film?
The unique thing about the movie is that we have shot the movie on live location where we used the real Military aircraft for the whole hijack scene and the movie tells the whole episode in a realistic manner.
The movie is basically in Malayalam and is dubbed in other languages. So do you think that the audience will be segregated and the response as well?
It is a known fact that this movie is a much awaited Mohanlal movie and specifically for those audience and as far as I am concerned, I took up the movie because the story was thrilling and the character as well.
You are mostly seen in negative shades, are you comfortable with that picture of yours?
I think I have succeeded in creating that trademark and am appreciated in those roles (laughs).