Abbas-Mustan try untried pairs in their next thriller

May 15, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, May 15 (IANS) After making murder mystery "36 China Town", director duo Abbas-Mustan are set to launch their next thriller which will have some fresh pairings. Saif Ali Khan teams up with Bipasha Basu for the first time in the yet-to-be-titled film, and so do Fardeen Khan with Katrina Kaif and Anil Kapoor with Mallika Sherawat.

After working with Mallika in "Darna Zaroori Hai", Anil has taken a shine to her. "She's hard working, focused and fun to work with. I love her guts and her honesty," Anil told IANS.

Looks like Anil will have lots more opportunities to get to know Mallika better in the film being produced by Tips. It will be shot in Australia in one schedule from September to November.

Abbas and Mustan are constantly trying new combinations and permutations within the same suspense-thriller format. "What can we do if producers only approach us to make thrillers?" said Abbas.

"We tried something different in 'Tarzan The Wonder Car' and gave up. We are happy with our niche. Other directors make family films or comedies. We are known for our suspense thrillers. Even our new release '36 China Town' is a suspense whodunit.

"When we had made our first thriller 'Khiladi' there wasn't such an active media machinery to give the suspense away. Now everyone knows who the killer is. So in '36 China Town' we have added loads of humour to the whodunit to sustain audiences' interests.

"Everyone except Akshaye Khanna - who plays the investigating officer - has humorous moments."

Abbas and Mustan are the champions of soft-spoken sophisticated suspense thrillers. The director duo are in London for a 90-day schedule with Bipasha, Ajay Devgan and Sanjay Dutt to film what Abbas calls a humorous adventure thriller.

Talking about the title of their latest release, Abbas said: "There is an interesting story to how we got the title. You know, all the China Towns the world over have their own geographical and culture boundaries.

"Likewise we wanted to create a world within one area and give it a number, like a residence. The set we created has a casino, a dance area, roads... everything. Most of the film was shot there."

Abbas raves about his stars and producer.

"This is our third film with Kareena (Kapoor) and second with Akshaye. They both agreed immediately. We had liked Shahid Kapur in his first film 'Ishq Vishk' and had decided we'd work with them anytime something suitable came up.

"'36 China Town' has an ideal role for Shahid. The fact that Kareena and Shahid hadn't clicked in 'Fida' didn't bother us. Every story has its own rhythms and requirements. It is up to the directors how they use the stars."

Special words are reserved for producer Subhash Ghai with whom they are planning to make another film.

"The fact that he is a producer as well as a director helps him understand the workings of a film far better than anyone else. Subhash-ji isn't the least interfering. In both 'Aitraaz' and '36 China Town' he let us do exactly what we wanted. But he was always there to help us," said Abbas.

"We are now working on another script for Subhash-ji to produce. The film will go on the floors as soon as we write it," he added.

Talking about the originality of their just released film Abbas said: "Our writer Shyam Goel says it's inspired by a novel."

Very few know that these two never take a break. "Why should we when we have so much fun making films? Every film is a vacation for us."

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36 China Town


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