Siddharth Anand: Want Indian 'Rambo' to be world class in action, emotion
With Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone already hoping India doesn't "wreck" an upcoming remake of his iconic actioner 'Rambo'. He says he's going all out to make the world to sit up and see what India can do with action and emotions.'
The brawny and rugged look of actor Tiger Shroff on the "Rambo" remake's poster -- unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival last month -- drew eyeballs. Siddharth is only hopeful the team lives up to the expectations.
"Rambo is a global icon. When we launched the film in Cannes, we realised the magnanamity of the character. When we spoke to journalists from across the world, they all were very enthused and keen to know what we will do with it, because it's a much-loved character," the director told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
"It's a character that resonates in every part of the world. We know there will be a lot of fans and detractors -- watching it with a keen eye. It has the potential to reach out to people across the globe, and we are aiming to make a film that's world class in action and emotion," he said.
"I'm competing on a global level. I do not just want to make a film that's iconic only in India. I want the world to sit up and see what India can do with action and emotions," Siddharth added.
This is Siddharth's second remake after he officially adapted Hollywood film "Knight and Day" and made "Bang Bang!". Before that, he had helmed romantic dramas like "Salaam Namaste", "Ta Ra Rum Pum", "Bachna Ae Haseeno" and "Anjaana Anjaani".
"I suddenly switched to action and took to it like fish takes to water. I really enjoyed the thrill of what I could bring to screen, the kind of action we did in 'Bang Bang!'. I was wanting to take it further, and what better character than Rambo," he explained, adding how crucial it was to give "Rambo" an Indian hook.
"Just because you have a brand like 'Rambo', it might get people into theatres but it won't bring them back. That's what I need to do -- bring up an emotional connect more than the action in it."
The original film series is about John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam War veteran and former US Army Special Forces soldier. For the desi remake, there had to be a "complete overhaul" with ths script.
"India doesn't have that history, so obviously there had to be a major adaptation in the sense of character, story and setting. That's why the project has taken two years. We have taken the mythology of Rambo forward and that's what we are playing on... More than remaking it," he said.
Is the setting then about India and Pakistan?
"That would be the first thing that will come to people's mind, but it's not," said Siddharth, who has co-written the project with Sagar Pandya.
What he knows is "opinions about the film will be very polarised" -- just as they were when Tiger was announced as the actor who will fill Stallone's big shoes.
"There will be fans of the film and then those who will be agnostic about it that there shouldn't be a remake... Or there will be both sides who will be waiting to see what we do. So in all ways, we have immense pressure to satisy both haters and lovers -- that's the challenge," Siddharth said.
"Also, I feel you have to bring your own take when you do a remake. You should have your voice heard with it. 'Rambo' will have my voice, the way I see an issue prevailing in our country and which is what the character is fighting for."
"I am excited about getting that out. People think 'Rambo' is just another mindless action film, but it's not."
Siddharth hopes the movie goes on floors in February 2018, and is ready in time for a release towards the end of next year. What about the budget?
"We are clear in ambition, we have a target in sight, and we're going all out," he said.
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