Mumbai: After changing Vidya Balan`s picture perfect image in `The Dirty Picture`, director Milan Luthria is planning to explore the dark, subtle side of Akshay Kumar in his much anticipated sequel of `Once Upon a Time In Mumbaai`.
The director, who loves to cast his actors against their popular image, is looking forward to score a hattrick with the film, which begins shooting in July.
"The whole idea is to pick up a challenge. I want to catch the certain dark, emotional and subtle style of Akshay which I feel has not been explored much. When you present such a big star in a different way it adds a lot of intrigue for his fans," Luthria told reporters in an interview.
Akshay too is looking forward to the action film, which will be a change for him after a spate of comedies.
The director says that though he takes inspiration from the era when gangsters ruled Mumbai, his film is not about Dawood Ibrahim or Chhota Shakeel.
It is, as he puts it, "large doses of fiction" which touches upon issues that remind people of that era. He prefers to call his film "a love triangle".
"I would not call it a gangster film at all. It is about people from underworld who have high sense of drama and lead high voltage life. It is actually more of a love triangle in the tradition of `Muqaddar Ka Sikandar`. It is large doses of fiction with some reality in it.
"What I am trying to do is to recreate an era where gangsters had gangster friends. Some of these friendships did not turn out well. They also had this fascination for Bollywood actresses and courted them. These are the elements that I have picked up."
Luthria grew up watching the cinema of the `70s which he feels has contributed a lot to his style of moviemaking, "which has larger than life quality and where heroes speak the language of flamboyance and drama."
The flamboyant style was quite visible in his last two hits 'Once Upon a Time In Mumbaai' and 'The Dirty Picture', which earned Vidya Balan her first National award. Luthria too counts it among his best films.
"This movie was trully a turning point. It had a cosmic quality to it and I think we had a stroke of genius when we cast Vidya to play Silk. I was often accused of doing male dominated films by my friends but I did not want to make a sob story. This particular story was perfect and I am still surprised that we managed to pull off something so daring."
Another thing that Luthria has come to treasure in his career is the trust that he inspires in his actors, which often helps him get unmatched performances from them.
"Thankfully, actors do trust me a lot. I talk a lot to my actors.
When we started working on `The Dirty Picture", I told Vidya `You trust me and do what I say and if at the end of the day you think that there is something objectionable I will remove it`. I was extremely protective about her because I could sense a lot of courage."
Luthria made his directorial debut with 'Kachche Dhaage' in 1999 and went on to direct films like 'Chori Chori', 'Deewaar', 'Taxi Number 9211' and 'Hattrick'.
Though his first film and 'Taxi Number 9211' did well and were appreciated for their content, the turning point for Luthria came with 2010 drama 'Once Upon a Time In Mumbaai', which was followed by 'The Dirty Picture'.
The director, however, feels that each of his films helped him learn something.
"I am happy with all my films whether they did well at the box office or not. I am happy to have had a gradual career graph. It kept me real as a person. I am happy that I cannot be called a fluke now. I have made some wonderful friends along the way and I have large bank of ideas which I want to convert into great, entertaining films."