Getting sharks to act in 'Blue' was not easy

Mar 25, 2009 Radhika Bhirani

New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) Even if directing three Bollywood macho men, two sizzling beauties and one Australian pop diva didn't seem a tough bet for debut director Anthony D'Souza, wielding the megaphone for 40 sharks for an underwater action sequence for "Blue" surely gave him jitters.

"The scariest part of 'Blue' was in fact the sharks. Getting them to act in my film was not easy," D'Souza told IANS in an e-mail interview.

The particular scene with sharks has actors Sanjay Dutt, Akshay Kumar and Zayed Khan in the frame and it called for a lot of safety measures.

The director explained: "We had shark handlers present on the shoot to make sure that nothing untoward happened. But it was a risky business. Everyone who was around knew that these were living, breathing sharks and that it was their turf."

To perfect the scene, D'Souza brought down Hollywood's renowned underwater cinematography specialist Pete Zuccarini apart from getting James Bomalick of "Indiana Jones" fame to choreograph the action sequences, but he says it wasn't because India lacks their kind of talent.

"I would like to make it very clear that we (in India) absolutely do not lack international level talent in Bollywood. The location of my movie was the Bahamas and that required people who had shot in that area. That is the reason technical crew from Hollywood was asked to be a part of the film," he said.

The film, also starring Katrina Kaif and Lara Dutta, has a special appearance by Grammy award-winning singer Kylie Minogue, who will be seen in a song with Akshay. The director says it was a delight to work with her.

"Kylie was completely a director's actor. She did what was required of her. She reached the sets ready on the dot; she threw no tantrums and was a delight to work with," he said.

Contrary to reports that Kylie has a full-fledged role in "Blue", D'Souza clarified that she has "some dialogues and a song" in the film. "She is essentially playing herself in the film. She has shot with us for six days to finish her part," he added.

With such international expertise and glamour, one may expect "Blue" to be a truly Hollywood experience. However the director, who shot parts of the popular adventure series "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" earlier, says he has retained the Bollywood flavour.

"I watch a lot of Hollywood films and I have tried to make a film that looks like it is from Hollywood but is in fact a 100 percent Bollywood film. I am hoping that 'Blue' is an entertaining experience for the filmgoing audience. If that is achieved nothing else matters," he said.

"Blue" is slated for release in August, on the Independence Day weekend, and it was apparently clashing with the release of Vipul Shah's much-hyped "London Dreams". While there was a talk that the release of either film would be advanced, D'Souza has ruled out the option.

"There is ample scope for two big films releasing at the same time. As long as they are both good, there is enough opportunity for them both to do well. Aug 14 is a long weekend and I am not going to let that go for any reason," he stated.

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