The revelation was made among many others in a press conference today at an undisclosed location. Mr. Dawood seemed elated at the way things are going, and confirmed that he has already received assuring replies from some Bollywood directors and producers with whom he shares warm relations. With his characteristic modesty, he acknowledged that he hadn’t expected such enthusiasm from his Mumbai based friends. “They are all interested, and it has only made it difficult to pick the right ‘gang’ for the movie,” he said. Sure; refusal to give a role could irreparably ruin his relations with some of them.
When asked whether the Indian people or the world at large (he is planning for a world-wide release) is ready for a blast accused in a role of a revolutionary, Mr. Dawood, seemingly infuriated, replied, “I don’t even see the point of such questions! What has my personal life got to do with my creative career… my on-screen role? Questions like this are just an expression of a narrow-minded bias against the revered mafia-subculture!”
He further vindicated the expected success of his project by alluding to the persistent demand of entertainment among people. He said, “People in India have surprisingly short memory. Who remembers that our immensely talented Sallu also very skilfully crushed five people under his car? Who remembers that the boom-boom in Mumbai could never have been possible without Sanju baba’s selfless aid? But everyone remembers Dabangg; everyone remembers Chulbul Pandey. And who can forget that cute epitome of Gandhigiri… Munnabhai? You see the point is that people are entertainment hungry. This is a Global-yug. No one cares for morals anymore. If anyone did then how would you account for all that money their movies are cashing at the box-office? 100 crores! 200 crores! Do you see my point?”
While appropriating the professionalism of the film industry, he accused the press itself of lacking it: “The film industry… or for that matter any creative industry, is beyond such petty grievances. Who’s got the time for these things… except I don’t know… underpaid journalists!”
The press conference that seemed to be heading towards a sudden end was saved in time by a dumb NTMN journalist who asked Mr. Dawood on the USP of the movie in addition to its avant-garde repackaging of a terrorist as a revolutionary. Overjoyed at his plans for introducing newer elements in his movie, Mr. Dawood replied that that he has already ordered some 20,000 extras and a huge consignment of explosives and ammunition from his friends at Al-Qaeda and Hijbul-Mujaeddin, and that the movie will stand-out for its realistic portrayal of action scenes.
The high-profile press conference ended with a jubilant “terrorist-cum-will-be-actor” promising the entire world a masterpiece that would take by storm the film communities all over the world: “Look, I am no Spielberg and I won’t make a Pearl Harbor—with all its fake sets and unconvincing fighting sequences. Everything would be real in this movie. There would be real blasts and real men will be sacrificed at the altar of creative freedom. All great art demands sacrifice… demands devotion and I think it’s time our film-makers learned that. This movie would be flesh and blood itself. This movie will be a Masterpiece!”
Given the deplorable state of Indian Cinema when the film-makers, having run out of ideas are busy with lousy remakes and gross plagiarism, it is only such promises of experimental cinema that keep alive the hopes of cinema lovers. And one gets a feeling that a storm is really coming.
(editorial inputs: Zoyeb Batliwala. Kshitij and Zoyeb are currently interning with NTMN in our Youth Internship-cum-Training Program.)