Filmmaker Rohan Sippy denies he chose Goa to shoot his forthcoming Dum Maro Dum - which delves into the narcotics mafia and sex trade - to show the pretty coastal state in bad light. Goa is brought in 'as a fictional character', he says.
'It could have been any place...It could have been Mumbai. Goa has been brought in just as a fictional character. Goa has not been chosen to show it in a bad light,' said Sippy.
When Dum Maro Dum promos hit the screens two months ago, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) was unhappy as it felt that the film could have bad repercussion for tourism in the state.
Rohan, who has directed two films in the past, Kuch Na Kaho (2003) and Bluffmaster (2005), says after exploring Mumbai in his last film he wanted to explore a new place.
'The film doesn't imply that Goa is the worst place to visit or anything negative; it is just a character of my film.
'In Bluffmaster, I had already explored Mumbai, so I choose Goa because I wanted to explore the scenic beauty of the place which is world-known. It's the best place, it's a paradise on earth and with its beauty, I wanted to bring some thrill. I found scope of creating drama and it has left a stunning visual effect on me and will on my audience too,' he said.
Releasing April 22, the film stars Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Rana Daggubati and Prateik Babbar among others.
This is his first directorial venture in six years and Rohan confesses that the long gap after Bluffmaster, which released in 2005, was a conscious decision.
'A six-year break... now it sounds it has been too long. But, yeah, I must confess I am too lazy. I did produce a couple of projects in between.
'On the direction front I took time because I wanted to be right with all the elements for the next project - the script, the cast, the core elements which I have very rightly put together in Dum Maro Dum.'
So, was the film shot entirely in India or did you go abroad also?
'My film is entirely shot in India and I just don't believe in the concept of shooting abroad. Our country has unbelievable variety to offer and there is just no shortage of beauty to justify any script and its demands,' said the director who studied at the Aiglon College in Switzerland as well as Stanford University.
Rohan, son of filmmaker Ramesh Sippy, enjoyed teaming up with scriptwriter Shridhar Raghavan for the movie.
'Sridhar wrote the film two years ago and soon after that we went down to Goa to spot our prime locations. Roughly three drafts were made and a lot of improvisation kept on going while the shoot was on. We wanted to be right about our projection, so we dug our minds all the time. The team work was commendable and came out pretty well.'
Asked about his expectations from the film, Rohan said: 'My film is high on entertainment value, brings along a lot of suspense and the dark thrill, which will keep the audiences glued to their seats. In the two-hour-ten-minute duration, the film brings three stories together. It starts with Prateik who is a student, then brings Abhishek and then Rana.'
So, what about the hot item song Dum maaro dum?
'The item song was not part of the script from the beginning; once we saw the first edit, we felt a peppy number was needed to create the mood before the climax of the film to enhance it.
'We have had item songs for quite a long time in our industry; it has nothing to do with 'picking up the trend'. Moreover, in between, films were made to cater to the NRI audience and we lost the connect at that time because those scripts were pure romance-based and an item song couldn't fit. But now we are back on track where we have a cop, a criminal, an item song, a villian, a hero.
'It helps to create an early buzz for your film.'