Filmmaker Ashutosh Gowarikar, who is making his third period film after Lagaan and Jodhaa Akbar, says he does not “purposely” make such films but ends up doing so as he is “attracted” to them.
“I don’t purposely try to make a period film. But there are subjects that I really easily and naturally get attracted to and to express that I have taken the help of history. In school, I was not very interested in history but now it attracts me, I think I’m compensating,” he said.
“Even though I have made three period films, I don’t feel the urge to make something modern or contemporary. I’m not under that compulsion because ultimately the story is important,” he said.
Gowarikar’s forthcoming film Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, which is again a period film, is set in Chittagong, British India. It revolves around a series of attacks executed on one single night April 18, 1930 and its aftermath.
The film stars Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone in the lead and is based on Manini Chatterjee’s book.
“When I read the book, I was stunned. I realised that this is one movement, I have no clue of. I know about every other movement, every other revolutionary in the country. Surjya Sen and his 64 revolutionaries, planned such a big revolt. So how they planned the revolt and how 59 teenagers participated in it, I was shocked and fascinated to know and I decided to make it into a film,” said the director.
“I approached Manini Chatterjee, who is the editor of Telegraph Delhi. We officially bought the rights of the book from her and also asked her to be involved in the film, so that she can see the film and give guidance, just to keep history accurate,” he said.
The film took one year of research and five months of filming.
When asked what was the most challenging part of making the film, he said it was handling the “cast”.
“The biggest challenge was to handle the cast, the people, their performances, justify all the characters and at the same time maintain the spirit that is there in the book,” he revealed.
The film is slated for a December 3 release.
Another film starring Manoj Bajpayee is also being made on the same subject, so does that bother Gowarikar?
“I’m aware of Shivaji Bose’s film with Manoj. I think it’s unfortunate that both of us have the same idea for a film. But two filmmakers will never make a film in the same way. So I think both of us will have different versions, different approaches,” he said.