Gangster flick D, which releases this Friday, is often touted as a prequel to Ram Gopal Varma's Company.
In a conversation with Raja Sen, D's prolific producer explains just why this isn't a prequel, and his concept of the star system, among other things. Excerpts:
How would you personally sum up D?
First of all, on the face of it, it might look like just another gangster film. But there's a difference between, lets say, D and films like Satya and Company. Satya and Company are two very dark and brooding relationship films; there was no hero. The difference is that D has got a hero -- it's got a strong protagonist. In terms of making a point, it's almost like a throwback to the early era of the 'angry young man' kind of films.
Something like Don
Yeah, exactly! Somewhere along the line, we stopped making that kind of cinema. And there was a Shiva or an Arjun who were cornered against a situation and they had to rebel. But the difference in D is that he just makes a conscious career decision of becoming a gangster. So I believe that mindset gives it a spin that is very different from what you might have seen before.
See, it's not a prequel to Company in terms of the characters and the story. But it is a prequel to Company in spirit. What I mean by is that if Malik (the mob boss, played by Ajay Devgan) was there already in Company, how did he become Malik? How did he reach that stage?
So D is about a guy who starts off somewhere, and he's a very thinking kind of a guy. He's not an emotional person; he doesn't react to situations. Instead, he's virtually choreographing the situations. So it's a development of a character. That's the reason that everyone is assuming this is a prequel to Company. But in reality, the film is not connected to Company at all.
Is D a Ram Gopal Varma concept?
No. I was involved at the conceptual level, but the film is completely Vishram Sawant's idea.
What about the casting? What can you tell us about the D actors?
I signed Randeep (Hooda, the film's leading man) a couple of years back, when I was planning a film called Ek. But the film was shelved, and Vishram came to me and said he wanted to cast Randeep. Since I already had a very high impression of him, I immediately agreed. All the casting decisions were made by Vishram; I didn't interfere at all.
The film doesn't have a star, to speak of. Do you believe a film like this doesn't really need a big cast?
I've got different ideas about the star system. I think every star was a new actor at one point of time. So I feel that using a star is more for commercial purposes, to sell the film and give it an identity. But for the film to work per se, I don't believe it has so much to do with the star.
A star is an advantage when you need a guy to play a certain image: For example, when I took Ajay Devgan (in Company), by the time the audience came in, they were all ready to take him seriously. Vivek (Oberoi, in the same film) had the role which developed more in the film, so I felt a new actor would perform better.
So similarly, for D I wanted a certain unexpectedness. I didn't want people to try and anticipate what he might do and might not do. That will work for this film. Hence, the decision to cast a new actor.