Udayavni Special

Taking Vicky Kaushal for ‘Ashwatthama’ was a no-brainer: Aditya Dhar

Team Udayavani, Apr 5, 2020, 3:32 PM IST

Mumbai: Director Aditya Dhar says choosing Vicky Kaushal for his next, actioner “The Immortal Ashwatthama” was a split-second decision as the actor fit the bill perfectly.

Aditya, who broke out on the Bollywood scene with his 2019 blockbuster debut “Uri: The Surgical Strike” starring Vicky, is once again teaming up with the actor.

“Uri” was an eventful film for the actor-director duo, who went on to win their first National Film Award — best director for Aditya and best actor for Vicky.

The director, who has begun pre-production work on “Ashwatthama”, said he scouts for actors who share the same passion and dedication like him.

“My criteria is simple, I require fantastic actors who are ready to give their best and are easy to work with. I don’t like people with a lot of baggage and rather those who are simple and straightforward and their agenda is to make a brilliant film,” Aditya told PTI in an interview here.

“If my priority is Ashwatthama’, my actor’s priority should also be Ashwatthama’. Vicky fits the character, it was a no-brainer for me because when he is doing a project then nothing else matters to me, he will give his blood and sweat for it, he did that with Uri..’. And he will remain my first choice for all my films,” he added.

The film, billed as a superhero action film set in modern times, is being planned as a trilogy but Aditya said they will make the third one depending on the response to the first two.

Though the team has cracked the basic idea for all the three parts but they are concentrating on the first one at the moment, he added.

“The film requires a lot of planning because this is something that has never been done before, it is huge. The work is on in terms of writing,” the director said, adding the team aims to start rolling by year end or early 2021.

Aditya believes spectacle films such as “The Immortal Ashwatthama” with a touch of Indian mythology must be served more to the audience.

As per the epic Mahabharata, Ashwatthama was the son of guru Dronacharya, who fought for the Kauravas in the battle of Kurukshetra.

“It was high time we brought such stories to the audience, the kind of fantastic stories we have in our mythology. I wonder why nobody made those into films in so many years. My idea is to create something that is at par with everything that is around the world or Hollywood.”

The director said that Vicky is currently busy prepping for “Takht”, which will in a way help the actor to work on “Ashwatthama”.

“It will be unfair for me to tell him to do anything right now related to ‘Ashwatthama’. I want him to give his 100 per cent for Takht’. There is a huge prep for our film but I don’t want to distract him from Takht’. Once he gets done then he will have to concentrate on our film.”

Besides Vicky, Aditya said the team is looking for a female actor and a villain, who will have well-written arcs.
“It is one of the strongest female characters we have ever seen but we haven’t finalised anyone yet, we also have a strong antagonist. We are looking across the spectrum for it, like from the south. Maybe a newcomer, we are keeping our options open,” he added.

In a genre largely dominated by men, Aditya believes filmmakers must learn from Hollywood action films and create well-rounded characters for women actors.

“Unfortunately, the mistake lies within us, as filmmakers we don’t write that many (strong) characters, we need to write it. It is not that they are not capable.

“We see Gal Gadot and we say she is so good at action or Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow’ and we say wow’, they train and become like that. It is not that difficult.

Produced by Ronnie Screwvala, ‘The Immortal Ashwatthama” will be shot in a start-to-finish schedule, spread across 80 to 90 days, in locations such as Greenland, Iceland, Tokyo, New Zealand and Namibia.

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