Director Siddharth Anand has established himself as the biggest director for action entertainers in India after War became an all-time blockbuster two years back. Yash Raj Films’ adrenaline-pumping visual spectacle set a new benchmark in the history of Hindi cinema right from its box office record, to spectacular scale, to huge hit songs and it even created a casting coup to pit Hrithik Roshan against Tiger Shroff.
Siddharth says, “The intention with War was to raise the bar in action and stunts in Hindi cinema. We are such a large industry and we make so many films in a year but we really don’t make too many action films, that somehow is a void in our industry. To make spectacle action films and my attempt in the last 5-7 years, 7 years actually since Bang Bang, has been to create benchmark action films like War and to fill that void has been my endeavour.”
Siddharth Anand adds, “I choose subjects and stories. I write stories, I hunt stories that can encapsulate the action, that can be genre-defining. So, yes, that has been a conscious decision for the past 5-7 years and now it has become my identity. My whole being has become tuned to make action spectacles and War was a testament to that endeavour. I’m working even harder to give the audience a bigger spectacle in my next.”
Siddharth reveals why Aditya Chopra and he wanted to mount the film at a scale never seen before. He also reveals while Hrithik vs Tiger was a casting coup, it wasn’t the only factor that made the film an all-time blockbuster.
He says, “I don’t think that the War at the box office was won because of the ensemble star-cast. It came in 2019 and in the last 3-4 years preceding the film, you’d seen all tentpole films of the biggest superstars had flopped. They were tanking left-right-center. In fact, what was doing well was the mid-range actors with high concept films. So, it was actually getting a big star cast in a tentpole film, was the most unsafe thing at that point in time.”
Siddharth Anand adds, “Obviously, it is a safe thing to get the big star-cast so that you get the budget that allows you to make the tentpole film you want but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee box office returns. You need to get out there and make a good film that connects with the audience. Audiences stop coming for stars, they come for stories and they come for the film. Yes, getting the stars is a huge bonus and plus, but the actors themselves know, that’s why they take time to choose films because they know that stars get you an opening, but the film needs to work.”
He further adds, “Hrithik and Tiger have worked extremely hard in the film. They didn’t sit back and say -‘Oh we’ve got a great combination with YRF, and we have a great banner, good action director and ‘we are there, so the film’s a success’. No, they worked really very hard, they know it themselves. They pushed to make a great film and everybody, the producer, the actors the technicians really worked hard to make War the success that it is.”
And when people look back at the film for generations, what does Siddharth Anand think will be their takeaway? He says, “I’d like to believe that it would be the action genre-defining film of that generation. I would like to believe that. I think we gave them the spectacle that they get from all the big scale international films they watch and that they are exposed to.”
Anand adds, “So, I think somewhere they would be proud that we’ve also made a film like that and that we can make films like that with a fraction of the budget that the Hollywood film’s get. So yes, (I want them to) to remember it as a fun action film. A film that they can see again and probably they can show the next generation and say ‘that time we used to have such films.’ I think it’s asking for too much but yes, I want them to remember it as a fun action film.”