”˜Sarbjit will be Aishwarya’s Mother India’ – director Omung Kumar

Sarabjit 1








Brilliant acting  by  Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Randeep Hooda in Sarbjit

By Neeru Saluja

National award winning director Omang Kumar is known for cutting the edge with biopics. After making his directorial debut with Mary Kom, a biopic on an Indian boxer, he is all geared up for his next release Sarbjit which is already creating waves.

The film Sarbjit narrates the struggle of Dalbir Kaur (played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) whose sole aim was to get her brother Sarbjit Singh (Randeep Hooda) out of the Pakistani jail as he was mistakenly taken to be an Indian spy.

In a conversation with the director before the release, Omung reveals his style of direction and passion for transforming his actors. Viewing the promotions, there is no doubt as actors Randeep Hooda and Aishwarya are unrecognisable. A Mind Blowing Films release, this film is releasing across Australia tomorrow on May 20.

What inspired you to make the film Sarbjit?

This movie was meant to be made four years ago by another director. I had just finished Mary Kom and I wanted to do another film, but not a biopic. Sarbjit’s sister was trying to make the world aware of her story and how her brother died four years ago, but after my national award, I was not ready to do another biopic. Once I saw her videos and realised what she has gone through in life, I asked myself why I’m shutting myself away from a biopic. This was a story that inspired me to tell the world. I called her and wanted to know the smallest details of actually what happened.

Was Sarbjit’s family involved directly into the making of the film?

Dalbir Kaur came here, talked to us and told us all the details. She has been a part of the film throughout, from being on the sets to explaining the narrative to us. She was very happy to see her brother’s story finally made into a film.

We have also heard that it took Aishwarya only 15 minutes to accept the main protagonist’s role?

The role comes with a responsibility and I chose Aishwarya as I wanted a mature actress who can play the role of a 22 year old and a 60 year old. Aish is a director’s actor, she will mould herself accordingly. The moment I sat on the couch and narrated the story to her in 15 minutes, she said a yes because she understood the role. This film is going to be the ‘Mother India’ for Aishwarya.

Talking about Aish accepting the role in 15 minutes takes me back to the time when we knew you as the ‘Ek minute’ guy….ek minute ek minute anchor Ek minute!  

(Laughs aloud) It feels good when people recognise you as the ek minute game show anchor. They also say they used to watch the show when they were a kid which makes me feel really old!

Besides Aishwarya, how was it working the remaining star cast of Sarbjit – Randeep Hooda and Richa Chaddha?

Randeep Hooda is a fantastic actor. He gets into the skin of the character like no one does. Here I wanted him to push himself further, I wanted him to lose weight like no actor has done before. He thoroughly researched the character before he took up the role. He went into the psyche of Sarbjit, he wanted to feel how he lived in a six feet hole for 23 years. Randeep actually lived in a dark area in his house and he would walk in that area. Richa Chaddha is another brilliant actress. Even though she doesn’t have many dialogues, she expresses herself really well in the film.

Neerja, Azhar and now Sarbjit, 2016 sounds like the year of biopics. Are filmmakers taking a new approach?

After Mary Kom and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, the viewing pattern has slightly changed. The audience have started liking such kind of films. Producers and directors have now got a new avenue of telling stories rather than the cliche love stories and dishum dishum. Because the viewers have opened up their minds, the writers are now open enough to say something new. It’s not a trend, biopics are here to stay. We have seen love sagas since years, the audience wants something new now.

It’s also a platform for actors to show their real talent. Do you think history will be repeated for Aishwarya like Priyanka Chopra for Mary Kom?

You are getting to play a role from someone’s life and it depends on the actor how he or she moulds it.  I like to make movies which brings out the best in actors.  Mother India was not a biopic but ever actress wants to become Mother India. This will be Aishwarya’s Mother India.

In both of your films you have deglamourised the most beautiful women of the world. Is the transformation a deliberate attempt?  

I want to change people. This is a challenge for me. I didn’t want Priyanka to look like Priyanka, or Aishwarya to look like herself. I like to change people and see that transformation in actors. That’s a big achievement for me as a director.

Will you be releasing this film in Pakistan and do you expect a backlash?  

I want to release this film everywhere in the world otherwise how will people see the film. I will definitely take the film to Pakistan. Regarding the backlash, the facts and the story are already out there. Whatever happened can’t be undone. It’s a film that needs to be seen and hopefully this won’t happen again.

What will the viewers of this film – be it in Australia or India take home?

With this film, you will see a family relation in a different light. Everyone needs to see the struggle of this family. You will cry with them and you will laugh with them.

(For session times and trailer of the movie visit:  http://www.mindblowingfilms.com/)

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