Thanks to modern technology, interacting with your favorite Bollywood stars is a lot easier now. While they are available to you on Twitter almost all the time, additional modern tech allows journalists from all over the globe to network over a single satellite and interview your favorite stars without having to globe trot all the way to Mumbai. Last week in New York courtesy of Cisco TelePresence Technology, the cast and crew of Raavan became the first to utilize this platform in the form of a press conference. Journalists from the US and Dubai were able to to talk with Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Mumbai) along with Vikram and Mani Ratnam (Chennai). Using high definition video, the conference was designed to give the cast and crew the effect of being in a regular press conference without feeling that they are geographically separated. BollySpice was there to be a part of this new form of interaction. Check out our excerpts of the Raavan Teleconference.
Journalist: Is the movie like Ramayan? How do you think it relates and is Abhishek like Raavan in the movie?
Abhishek: It should be Ravaran not Ramayan (they all laugh).
Aishwarya: It isn’t like Ramayana unless people chose to draw parallels to it
Journalist: This is your third film with Aishwarya and Abhishek. Why did you choose to cast them in the lead roles?
Mani: The character was right for Abhishek. The roles are very different to the ones they’ve played before.
Journalist: Were you afraid of taking risks on the stunts for the actors? Were any of the actors apprehensive?
Mani: There was a lot of safety around the stunts and actors.
Vikram: We are still recovering from it. Nothing was done using duplicates.
Abhishek: I was looking forward to the stunts and not the scenes.
Aishwarya: The constant switching of languages was more most difficult. Even Mani realized that it was difficult but the whole team was doing it and it was an adventure we all enjoyed.
Journalist: Who is the real hero of the movie?
Abhishek: Mani is the hero.
Journalist: Abhishek and Aishwarya, how was it working with each other? Do you critique each other’s performances?
Abhishek: We have others critique our work. Ash is a very supporting wife and co-star. She is very interactive with the team all the time and very supportive.
Journalist: Abhishek, what have you discovered as an actor after this film?
Abhishek: You prune up after 15 minutes in water, snakes swim, rat-snakes attack, leeches attack in the wrong place (laughs). When you have love and respect for Mani, you will do whatever he says and what gets the job done. Mani isn’t going to let you do anything that isn’t safe. You would be a fool to say to say no for a movie like Raavan.
Journalist: Rate each other as an actor on set. Is it easy or difficult to work together as a couple?
Abhishek: Ragini is the best performance of Ash’s up to date. I thought she was outstanding in Guru but this time she is more amazing than Guru. She acted with a lot of dignity and strength; didn’t whine or complain when doing any of the stunts.
Aishwarya: Abhi is amazing to work with. He is very free and accepts characters with a variety of genres. He breaks himself free and works as a team member and I love that about him. We don’t rate each other; we just like working with each other. We used to all call Vikram “Kenny Sir” on the sets; it’s a pet name. Abhi gave to Vikram. Raavan was a wonderful journey and we are very grateful for the work. Mani is my real guru. I used to call him “Mani Sir” but he told me to call him Mani after Guru. I thank him for all the wonderful women I got to play.
Abhishek: I look up to Vikram and sought his advice on playing Raavan. I would consult him and he very openly shared suggestions. We were called the “Raavan Club.”
Journalist: Rate Mani’s work?
Aishwarya: He is not rate-able. We’re fortunate to enjoy is creativity, as the audiences enjoy his movies and actors are fortunate to get to act in his movies.
Journalist: Mani is mild at Heart and Wild on Field. What is your take on that?
Abhishek: Whatever film Mani makes, his personality portrays some of the character. He is the leader, captain and he is a lion at heart! (All laugh)
Aishwarya: My confidence with working on Tamil films was a lot easier after working with Mani for Raavan. Before I would have to read the scripts for the scene beforehand. Now I go on the sets and do the scenes right away
Journalist: Abhishek, How was it acting like a tribal leader after coming from a well to do family?
Abhishek: When Mani tells you what to say, you do your job properly. We’re actors; it doesn’t matter where our background is from.
Journalist: Mani, when did you start thinking of this project? Was it a long journey? How did it shape up?
Mani: it took as long as the first film; a lot of evolving and shaping up.
Journalist: Mani, there are a few books and directors commentary on the DVD’s in Indian Cinema. Will there be a commentary track on the DVD of Raavan?
Mani: Sometimes you’re so done with the movie, this is the last thing you want to think about or do. However, I know it will add value, it will happen more eventually.
Journalist: What do you hope the audiences will take away from them when they leave the theater?
Abhishek: People will question themselves after the film. Was it right or wrong with what happened in the film. Everyone has the open choice to make their decisions.
Vikram and Aishwarya: We hope that our efforts are shown after people watch the film because we are taking with us good memories.
Raavan hits cinemas June 18th. Be sure to catch it! We will be there for the red carpet premiere and have a review too! So check back here for even more Raavan goodies!