Why no Preity Zinta this time?
By Subhash K Jha
Siddharth Anand and Ranbir Kapoor are childhood buddies. In fact he has just returned from Shirdi from a holy trip with Ranbir's father Rishi Kapoor.
So is there a possibility of Siddharth working with Ranbir? "Of course it can happen. Ranbir and I have grown up together. We're family. His father and my father grew up together. I know him since he was born."
Saif thinks Siddharth Anand is the hero of Tara Rum Pum.
The director laughs, "Salaam Namaste and the urban romantic comedy came naturally to me. And I had a great support system from all the actors. The comic genre came easily to me, though Salaam Namaste had serious issues like a live-in relationship and unwed motherhood, it was done in a humorous way.
But in Tara Rum Pum I've tried to keep humour away. It's my homage to Manmohan Desai. I worship his films. I want all my films to be as entertainment-oriented as Manmohan Desai."
Ask about Tara Rum Pum being inspired by Days Of Thunder and Siddharth laughs, "Just because both have car racing? Tara Rum Pum is as much Days Of Thunder as Sholay was Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.
After finishing the film I went to watch Days Of Thunder. It didn't have a story! Tara Rum Pum is not about car racing.
The protagonist just happens to be a car racer. It's about the highs and lows in the life of a sports person. Look at Sachin Tendulkar. He hasn't even been selected to play against Bangladesh!"
Is it a Saif-centric film? "Every member of the film's family is important. And I had full freedom to interpret the theme as I wanted. Before the first day of Salaam Namaste Aditya Chopra sent me a SMS saying I can make the film the way I wanted to.
There was no talk of a budget while shooting the races in New York for Tara Rum Pum. I went on the tracks with four cameras. We finally shot with eight cameras. We shot in the tracks with Saif for 28 days. A whole feature film could've been made with the money that it took to shoot on the racing tracks."
Siddharth has shot the poor side of New York. "Not the posh locales we've seen so far in Hindi films. In fact people would mistake New York for Mumbai."
Javed Jaffri was a USP in Salaam Namaste. "His became a cult character. Javed become the icon of Pizza Hut. But they began to offer him only caricatural roles. I was determined to offer him a serious and strong role in Tara Rum Pum. He plays Saif's coach and a manager.
Will people accept him in a serious role? If every hero can be accepted as a villain why not Javed in a serious role?"
Why no Preity Zinta this time? "When I took Preity in Salaam Namaste people asked me, why Rani and not Preity since I had worked with Rani while assisting for Hum Tum. Now they're asking me why Rani and not Preity? When you see the film you'll know why Rani."
He warms up when talking about Saif. "I spent three months with Saif in Australia during Salaam Namaste. Now it's been three months with him in America. When I visualize a film it's always him. There's nothing he can't do."
So how will Siddharth explain Ranbir Kapoor's presence in his cinema to Saif?
"Saif is quite a possessive friend. But isn't he working with other directors? Let's see what happens. It will depend entirely on the script. I'll know very shortly."
On prodding he says it'd be a love story next. "It's too early to talk about it right now," says the soft-spoken director. "I don't even have a subject right now. Right now Tara Rum Pum is my main focus. "