For his "Miss Lovely" -- a film exploring the world of C-grade cinema -- the censors had initially ordered 157 cuts. Now his upcoming drama "Daddy" delves in to the life of the Big Daddy of Mumbai mafia Arun Gawli. Director Ashim Ahluwalia says safe films are just not his calling.
"There are always risks in the kinds of films I like to make. I don't enjoy safe movies," Ahluwalia, a National Award winning filmmaker, told IANS.
"Daddy" features Arjun Rampal sinking his teeth like never before in a role of a man who was for a long time associated with major kidnappings, extortions, contract killings and other major crimes in Mumbai. Always seen with a Gandhi cap, Gawli was elected legislator in the 2004 assembly elections and continued to be one till 2009. In 2008, he was nabbed for Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar's murder along with over a dozen associates.
The film's newly launched trailer gives a dekko into the gangster-turned-politician Gawli's dark world.
"Arjun approached me to make the film, rather than the other way around. He had the rights to the Gawli story and asked if I was interested. I just had an intuition that he would be terrific if I was allowed to direct freely, which is what happened," Ahluwalia said.
The "Daddy" trailer, which came out on Tuesday night, had got over 1,705,000 views by Thursday morning. Ahluwalia is ecstatic.
"It's been incredible to get such a warm reception to our trailer for 'Daddy'. It's a very different film to anything that's been made and I'm happy that audiences have been open to that," he added.
Of late, the censor board has been creating a fuss over films featuring stories of real life people, urging filmmakers to seek their permission. So is everything on that aspect sorted out?
"Yes, we have Arun Gawli and the family's permission to make the film. We had worked on these permissions for over two years. It wasn't easy but we wanted to make a true life story, unlike any other gangster film made in India."
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