‘This is one of Big B’s best performances’

“It’s not a dark film, contrary to perception, but it definitely isn’t commercial masala movie. In the film, Mr (Amitabh) Bachchan is playing a Shakespearean stage actor. The film is about his life –he’s done Shakespearean plays, and that’s why the film is in English – because he’s always in his theatre mode, reciting dialogues out of some play or the other. Arjun Rampal plays a film director and tries to seduce Mr Bachchan into the world of cinema, though Mr Bachchan believes that theatre is the best form of acting. But the film is about how Arjun brings him into the world of cinema and what happens next,” Arindam explains.

He thinks that the actors’ performances in The Last Lear will surprise people. “People think Preity (Zinta) is all dimples and bubbliness, but they’ll love her performance. She plays the role of an actor in Arjun’s film. Once he manages to bring in Mr Bachchan, there are confrontational scenes between Preity and him,” he says. “The reason I got them all is that, while it’s not a film for everybody – it’s in English – if I’d made this film with anyone else, there wouldn’t even be five people in the auditorium. With all of them there, I’m sure people will come in and once they do, they’ll love it. If not his best, this is certainly one of Mr Bachchan’s three best performances. Now it is up to people to debate whether Black was better than this, but most people might find this one to be Mr Bachchan’s best,” says Arindam.

So, does Arindam plan to stick to niche cinema, or does he want to venture into more commercial films? “We won’t get into potboilers, but definitely into massive commercial cinema, with scripts that are different,” he explains. “Chak De, Lagaan, Taare Zameen Par are all from the genre we’re into, but they all had mass appeal. I’m sure we’ll find such scripts and get into such films soon. There are better people making commercial masala films and romance. Farah Khan is good at potboilers, and you can’t beat Yash Chopra at romantic films even today. Bachna Ae Haseeno did everything one can do in that category. So when other people can make it better, why try that genre?” he says.

And what are his upcoming projects? “There are about four to five films in pre-production stage, all of which are sensitive and sensible,” he says. “Most of them will now have a larger market. The first one’s called I’m 24, and it’s got Ranvir Shorey in it. It’s going to be a good film in terms of reach – everybody should be interested in it. It’s a light-hearted romantic comedy, so I think everyone will love it.”

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