In an exclusive interview with Koimoi, Bollywood’s Men in white, filmmaker duo Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla get candid on their upcoming directorial Machine, which also marks the debut of Abbas’ son Mustafa.
Why did you choose to launch Mustafa with Machine?
He was an assistant director in our last three films— Players, Race 2 and Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon. While the script for Machine was being prepared, he was involved right from the beginning. We always follow a policy of writing the script first and then zero in on actors, who suit the requirements of the script. After the script was completed, we thought of casting a new boy because it demanded an actor who did not have any image.
So, then you thought of casting Mustafa?
No. We did not have Mustafa on our mind; neither did he approach us for the role. Our younger brother Hussain Burmawala’s son Zainul is also an assistant director with us. He was the first one to come up to us suggesting Mustafa’s name for the role. He said, if we are looking for a new face, then why not Mustafa? We were not convinced with the idea instantly and took some time to think. Then we called Mustafa and asked him to read the script and enact it. After analysing his performance, we were quite impressed. It was only after this that we informed Mustafa that we have selected him for the role. In fact, Mustafa is the only actor we have auditioned so far in any of our films.
What was Mustafa’s reaction after hearing this?
He was not ready for this news. He was very happy and surprised initially and then became emotional. After almost 15-20 days, we got to know that he secretly wished to play this role but never told us!
Did Mustafa ever express his desire to become an actor?
Never! When he was in the US, he would make short films, act and direct as well, but he never opened up about his desire to us. It was Mustafa’s friends who spotted his talent and suggested him to become an actor.
Is Mustafa an introvert?
Not at all! He tells us everything, but we don’t know why he did not tell us about this. After all, it’s not a casual thing to do a lead role in a film. It’s not an easy call! Perhaps that’s why he was taking time. We also wanted to make sure he knows the craft well. We knew his capabilities as an assistant director but needed to be sure about his acting skills too. After we saw the showreel, which comprised of different types of scenes enacted by him, we became confident and started the shoot.
Where has the film been shot?
The entire film has been shot in Georgia except for one song, which has been shot here— Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast. It took us 57 days to complete shooting in Georgia. Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast took three days.
The pink car which has been showed in the song Itna Tumhe as well as in the trailer is beautiful! Where did you get it from?
It is an antique car. When we went to check the location for Itna Tumhe, we thought, the sequence requires a car which is attractive, cute and convertible. It should grab the viewers’ attention. Our line producer showed us many cars but when we saw the pink one, we fell in love with it instantly! It was just the kind we were looking for!
What is Mustafa’s character in the film?
The film is basically a love story. It’s a multilayered character with different shades and there are lots of turns and twists. We would not disclose much about his character now, otherwise, the charm of watching the film will be lost.
A little bit about the film’s story?
It’s all about love and the heart. All we want to say is that don’t just get your brain, but also bring your heart to the theatre when you come to watch the film! The basic theme of the film is that you should always follow your heart; to quote Swami Vivekananda, ‘In a conflict between the heart and the brain, always follow your heart.’ We don’t want to reveal anything else.
Why has the film been named Machine?
The mystery lies there! The audience will find it out in the last 20 minutes of the film. Machine is not a robot or any other machine. It’s all about the heart. That’s why we have put the tagline, ‘Heart is the only machine that feels’!
Does Kiara’s character have negative shades?
Her role is very interesting and has shades of grey.
Why was Kiara Advani chosen as the female lead?
The character required someone who looks pretty, glamorous, hot as well as someone who acts well, as there are dramatic scenes. Kiara fitted it perfectly. Also, her character is equally important as the male lead.
Why is the film’s release preponed by a week?
We got a very good response on the song Itna Tumhe and the trailer. So, we thought we should bring it to the audience a little early.
Was there any other reason?
What are your plans about Mustafa? Are you planning to cast him in some other film?
We have launched him and our job is done. The rest depends on him and his luck and of course the film’s box office performance. We have not thought of casting him in any other film right now. We would let him take time and choose his next project himself. In fact, he is free to take his career forward the way he likes. There is no pressure from our side to continue as an actor also. It’s entirely up to him. Mustafa wants to do an action film, as he is good at stunts. He is also trained in gymnastics and martial arts. Machine does not have a lot of stunts, even though it has car races. We didn’t include unnecessary action and stunts in the film just because Mustafa needs to exhibit his skills in his debut film.
Machine, a romantic thriller directed by Abbas-Mustan and starring Mustafa and Kiara Advani in the lead, is all set to hit theatres on 17th March.
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