New Delhi: Dibakar Banerjee is known for his social satires but the director feels that upcoming political thriller `Shanghai`, an adaptation of Greek author Vassilis Vassilikos` famous novel 1`Z` in Indian context, is his most radical work so far.
Dibakar took on Delhi`s land mafia in his first film `Khosla Ka Ghosla` and went on to direct `Oye Lucky Lucky Oye` (about a famous thief in Delhi) and `Love, Sex Aur Dhoka` (about voyeurism in society).
"I don`t like to repeat myself because I want to keep learning but I have never done something like this. It is radical. It was a challenge to make the story fit in Indian context. It is a departure even for me," Dibakar told reporters.
Written in 1967, "Z" is about the real-life assassination of Greek politician Grigoris Lambraskis in 1963. It has been translated in many languages and was also made into an award-winning film in 1969 by French filmmaker Costa-Gavras.
Dibakar got hooked to the story the moment he led his hands on the book, but buying the rights was not so easy.
"I found the book and told my producer Preeti that I wanted the rights for it. She searched and found the writer, who like most of the creative people is sort of reclusive.
They, however, clicked during a meeting. He asked to see my photo and fortunately for us, he liked what he saw.
"He said, `I like this guy. I like his glasses`. He also read about my last film and agreed to give us the rights. In fact, he was amused that a story which first originated in Greek from a real incident would cross half the planet and find relevance in India," says Dibakar narrating the
`Shanghai`, starring Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi and Kalki Kochelin, releases on January 26 next year. Dibakar is currently busy shooting an item number with Abhay.
"Right now I am shooting an item number. Interestingly, there was always a situation for a song in the original story as well as in the screenplay. The item number comes at a very interesting point in the movie," says the director.
Dibakar, 42, is repeating Abhay for a second time in a very unusual role. The actor is playing a Tamil Brahmin, someone from the establishment unlike his image of a rebel. He also promises to change Emraan Hashmi`s image of a serial kisser with this movie.
"I am aware that Emraan has a certain image but that`s going to change post the film. For the first time I have introduced shades of humour in his character. He is very funny in the movie while Kalki plays a girl caught in small town politics," says Dibakar.
He is not worried that the film may invite comparisons from the book and its equally famous movie adaptation.
"The basic different between an original screenplay and an adapted one is that in the original you get to figure out your climax. Me and my writer Urmi have taken only the bare-bones of the story. So our imagination was not spent in inventing the story but in stretching it out. I am looking forward to it," says Dibakar.