Abhinay Deo
Abhinay Deo

While director Abhinay Deo’s debut film is Delhi Belly, it’s only after two years that his film finally saw light of the day. But given the fantastic reception his film has got at the box-office windows, Abhinay has indeed nothing to complain about. In an exclusive interview with Koimoi.com Editor Komal Nahta, Deo talks about the shift from ad films to feature films, how he dealt with the Indian censor board, and how he almost missed the chance to direct ‘Delhi Belly’. Excerpts:

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Did you convince Aamir Khan to make ‘Delhi Belly’ or was it the other way around?
Four years ago, I signed a film with Excel Entertainment, which wasn’t Game. Aamir Khan and writer Akshat Verma had decided to take me as the director for their project but I was already committed to Excel. So they went to a Swedish director, but even that didn’t work out. By that time, even my film with Excel had reached a roadblock in scripting. Then Aamir called me up and offered me the film again. God had knocked on my door twice!

There are a lot of abuses in the film…
They’re not there for no reason. Even the gaali-galoch has its own reasoning in the film. There’s a certain way in which the youth of today talks and we can’t refute it.

The abuses in the film aren’t out-of-the-box or unheard of, they have been used in different films at different points of time.

Did you ever wonder whether you really wanted to do such a film? Whether it was the right thing?
Today, it’s easier to make a film than to release it. My question to Aamir was, “We make the film, then what?” I was worried about the censor board’s decision regarding the film. But he said, “Let’s just make the film and see what comes later.” The censors did not give us any trouble at all. Aamir was very clear that he wanted an Adult (A) certificate for the film. After that, they didn’t have any issues with the film. The abuses in the film aren’t out-of-the-box or unheard of, they have been used in different films at different points of time.

Aamir said that the film cost a lot. The film wasn’t shot in foreign locations, didn’t have elaborate costumes, then why did it cost so much?
Though it’s a humour film, it’s not an easy film to make. There are some sets in the film which we couldn’t have shot on real locations. The chases, the action sequences in places like Chandni Chowk in Delhi took a lot more time. The cost of production has been Rs. 18-19 crores.

Aamir said, “Let’s just make the film and see what comes later.”

You have never really publicised it being an English film…
It’s not a fully English film, it’s a ‘Hinglish film’. It’s about 60% English and 40% Hindi. And they merge in the conversation, just like we speak. It would be wrong to call it only Hindi or English… For those who don’t like English films, we have dubbed the film in Hindi as well. We haven’t literally translated the abuses, we have adapted them and tried to capture the flavour instead.

Were you disappointed with the failure of ‘Game’, as it was your first release as a director?
Of course I felt bad. The entire team had worked hard: the producers, the stars. But I take success and failure in the same stride… Honestly, I don’t know why or how Game failed. After ‘Game’ released, I immediately got into Delhi Belly. I am going to find out why it failed and the research is on.

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