Huge expectations riding on your film?
The expectations would always be there with the Dhoom franchise. My job is to write the script and then write with the camera. I don't have a head for numbers. It is very scary. I would like to think I've done my job. I've tried to be true to my vision. The idea is to offer the audience something they normally don't see in Hindi cinema. In the previous two Dhoom films, the fun-caper quotient was high. This time we did something a little darker and more edgy. There is more drama this time.
Why such a long gap between your first and second film?
Right after directing Tashan, I wrote Raavan for Mani Sir (Mani Ratnam). I didn't just write Raavan I was with Mani Sir on the sets. However, I got the idea for Dhoom 3 while I was working on Raavan. The minute I finished with Raavan, I got down to working on Dhoom 3.
What do you think went wrong with Raavan?
I think somewhere the fact that it was bi-lingual went against it. I feel it fell apart in trying to do justice to two languages. I still feel Mani Sir should make that story again in some manner or the other. Maybe we couldn't engage the audience enough. However it's futile to do post-mortems…
Not really. It helps you to not make the same mistakes again. I am sure you haven't repeated your mistakes from Tashan in Dhoom 3?
That's true. As a director I can't change certain basic ways of looking at cinema. But while making my first film I learnt many things about myself. The biggest lesson I learnt was to never let go of my gut feeling. Whenever I've let go I slipped up. If I like an idea or a scene I should do it exactly the way I like it for the audience to like what I do.
Are you saying in Tashan you were forced to compromise?
When you're doing your first film there are some things you need others to do for you. And sometimes what others do for you may not match your vision. But since it's your first film you're too scared to protest. And it wasn't to do with the stars. I just thought we could have done the action scenes differently. Anyway, this time I've learnt not to say yes until I actually mean it.
For this the credit goes to my producer Aditya Chopra. From the first Dhoom film (which I wrote) Adi has been the first person I've bounced my ideas to. We've a very close working relationship. With Tashan a litany of things went wrong, not all of them to do with the film's merit. However during the making of Tashan, Adi said that if ever there will be a Dhoom 3 I should direct it.
Formidable cast in Tashan, now In Dhoom 3. What was it like working with Aamir Khan?
I've to confess he's a director's best-friend. Raju Hirani agreed with me. He says this guy spoils the director. I can't tell you how supportive Aamir has been with me. I respect and love him as an actor. But I think our rapport went beyond the professional. Not for a day did I feel I had a star on the sets. He was so gracious with me and my team. He is such a low-maintenance guy.
No moments of dispute with him?
Surprisingly no. He did make a suggestion about his performance which I really liked. But there were no moments of doubts between us.
Did you make sure Katrina's dancing was different from what she had done earlier?
Yes, to some extent. I absolutely didn't want to do another generic song-and-dance with her. We introduced acro-dancing for her for its novelty value. I've always been fascinated by the world of the circus…when you see Dhoom 3 you'll see how the circus lends credibility to the story I had to tell. I introduced Katrina to the world of the circus. And the way she worked on her dancing took my breath away. She worked on her clothes, look and steps. Her dedication was amazing.
Do Aamir and Katrina Kaif have love-making scenes?
(Laughs) It's a different kind of chemistry from Aishwarya and Hrithik in Dhoom 2. There is something very riveting about Aamir and Katrina. As for the intimate scenes, you will know on December 20.