Producer Aamir Khan is a nervous man these days, as his film Delhi Belly is up for release this Friday (1 July). In an exclusive interview with Komal Nahta, Editor of Koimoi.com, Aamir spilled the beans on why ‘Delhi Belly’ was in the making for so long. Excerpts from the interview:
DELHI BELLY is up for release. Are you nervous?
Aamir Khan: Yes. You know I spend sleepless nights before the release of my films.
The film is all for taking a good start at the box-office due to the phenomenal popularity of Bhaag DK Bose.
Aamir Khan: I am not a numbers guy. I want the audience to like the film, that’s my prime concern. But yes, the buzz is very good. In fact, I was surprised that people are so expectantly waiting the film’s release even in the UK! ‘Delhi Belly’ is the opening film in the London Indian Film Festival 2011.
You had initially decided not to reveal the I Hate You Like I Love You song before the film’s release as you wanted it to be a surprise for the audience. Why then, did you change your decision?
Aamir Khan: I am a democratic producer. So when the UTV marketing team got together and impressed upon me that this song should be released one week before the film’s release, I respected their point of view. We live in an era where news spreads like wildfire via mediums like Twitter and Facebook. So, even if we had not revealed the song before release, by Friday evening, the whole world would know about the song anyway!
But why did you not choose any other actor to do the item song?
Aamir Khan: My appearance in the song was Kiran’s (Rao, Aamir’s wife) idea. Besides, I have not been seen in a mainstream film since 3 Idiots (December 2009). And my next mainstream release is only early next year. This song will help me to interface with my audience.
How many prints of DELHI BELLY are you releasing in India?
Aamir Khan: We will be releasing the film in a total of 1200 screens approximately. Almost 70% of the screens will be playing the Hindi dubbed version, while the rest will be screening the original Hinglish version.
How did you zero in on Abhinay Deo to direct the film?
Aamir Khan: When Akshat Verma came to me with the script of ‘Delhi Belly’, he also wanted to direct the film. I got him to do a screen test (which is a rule in Aamir Khan Productions) where he shot a few scenes from the script. I quite liked what he had shot but Akshat himself wasn’t satisfied with what he had done. So we decided to get Abinay Deo on board. As you might know, Abhinay is a big name in the advertising industry and he has made some very good ad films.
DELHI BELLY was in the making for quite some time. Two-and-a-half years passed between the completion of shooting and the film’s release. Any particular reason for the delay?
Aamir Khan: I am not a typical producer. I can’t multitask. So, I focus my full energy and passion towards one film at a time. And as you know I had to pay attention to the promotion and release of Peepli Live and Dhobi Ghat before I could shift my attention to ‘Delhi Belly’.
I had promised the cast and crew of ‘Delhi Belly’ that they would have my complete attention but that they would have to wait for their (film’s) turn. Marketing has always been important for me, right from the days of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.
But isn’t Aamir Khan, the producer-actor, the main selling point of DELHI BELLY?
The film is above me. The film is the star, not me or anybody else. Films make stars and not the other way around…