Blue and Boss – Both films were set in an action zone. However, you are changing tracks with Azhar.
Each film lends itself to how its base is. I do not carry any pre-conceived notions around the kind of genre I want to attempt; it is the story which lends itself to how you shoot it. Moreover, each director is different and has his own way of interpreting a subject. Just because I made action films earlier doesn't mean that I can't tell a different kind of a story. Azhar is pretty much attached to reality but it is not a biopic. It is based on certain facts and events in Azhar's life and how he overcame these hardships. You would be disappointed if you step into a theatre expecting a biopic.
Azhar's life also means big drama!
Yes, big story, big drama and big film! The core story here is so big on emotions. In terms of scale, what with matches too being shown in stadiums, there are so many dramatic moments. Also, when you have an actor like Emraan on board, the battle is already half won. He works so hard.
But then he doesn't look like Azhar and his personality is different too.
This is where his hard work comes into picture. This guy is really so dedicated and he truly got into the character of Azhar. He made sure that he got the nuances of Azhar right. In last so many months, he hasn't done anything else but focus on Azhar; that's how much involved he is in there. He has done so well to even walk like him. From the look perspective too, he has put on stubble, stayed clean shaven or grown a moustache just like Azhar did.
Meanwhile, controversies could well be the order of the day in the narrative, right?
When you watch Azhar's life, there are a lot of questions asked. I don't think there is any aspect of his life that we haven't touched in the film. His glory, downfall, getting back his life again – there is no aspect that his fans would want to see and it would be missing. (Smiles) Also, I can't have an Azhar film without him playing crocket. So you get to see his wrist shots and three back to back hundreds on debut too. Then there is also Azhar's life shown when he is at home.
Azhar bhai has been supportive of the film throughout; he was always there for all the advice. He coached Emraan on everything, be it walking the pitch, wearing pads or eating. Now Emraan even eats biryani just like Azhar bhai (smiles). He has been supportive throughout and has never shied away from any of our queries. Also, he has treated me like family right from the time I have known him. You know, there is not much spoken about him in media. As a human being he is a gem. When audience watches the film, they would get to see that side of him.
You have worked with Akshay Kumar in your first two films. Any future plans?
As a filmmaker we want to see how our current film works and then make the next one. There is nothing planned. That said, I would like to work with Akshay and Emraan together in a film.
I hear that your son Ethan is quite fond of Akshay.
The only people that he knows in the business are Akshay sir and John Abraham. For him, Akshay sir is more like a father figure than a star. When he says something, he listens to it.