It was hard to shoot ''Dhobi Ghat'' with Aamir: Kiran Rao

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) Kiran Rao was initiallyreluctant to cast Aamir Khan in "Dhobi Ghat", her low-budgetlove ballad on Mumbai, because of his iconic status but thedebutante director says a "new equation" helped her in goingahead with him.

Aamir plays a painter, one of the four importantcharacters in the movie and he is also the producer. The othercast members include new faces like Monica Dogra, Prateik andKriti Malhotra.

"We had to find a new equation to work and it took ussometime to find it. It was my new film, I have never directedbefore...With others it was different because we all werelearning but with Aamir I had to settle into that equation andlearn not to take him for granted because he is my husband andtreat him like others," Kiran told PTI in an interview.

Now that her long-cherished dream is about to berealised, Kiran says she feels like a mother.

"It actually feels like I am about to deliversomething that has been growing inside me for so long. It is afeeling of great nurturing. I am concerned about how it willturn out to be," says the director.

Most of the film was shot on real locations and thoughAamir''s presence created problem in controlling fans and crowdKiran says they got away by planning in advance.

"It was hard to shoot with Aamir but we planned aheadso most of the times we got away with it. I remember Aamircame in the middle of the night in the building, that is hischaracter''s home in the movie. We stayed there for three weeksbut no one got to know that Aamir was shooting there," saysKiran.

"Dhobi Ghat" (Mumbai Diaries) premiered in TorontoInternational Film Festival last year to rave reviews butKiran admits her film is unlikely to appeal to the generalaudience. She, however, is confident that the film will open anew space in Indian cinema.

"It is a big risk but we are going for a much smallerrelease than any other Aamir Khan film. We have made it on asmall budget so there is no monetary risk. It is first of itskind and I am hopeful that it will open a new space withinIndian cinema," Kiran says about her film, which hits theatreson January 21.

The ''Maximum'' city is the fifth character in Rao''smovie. It is a metaphor on the city and meditative study ofwhat it means to the people, who come from different parts ofthe country in search of a new destiny. .

Kiran says she wanted to "show the city within the city" and it took her some seven months to recce the locationsbecause she did not want to settle with a wide shot of themetropolis.

"Actually finding locations was like casting anothercharacter. We spent some seven months to settle locations. Iwanted each location to convey a certain face of the city andthe character. Arun''s house is in an old locality in MasjidBandar area called Bhat Bazar, which is a different Mumbai. Itwas heartwarming to know the old face of the city," she says.

Kiran, who started her Bollywood career as anassistant director in films like "Lagaan", "Monsoon Wedding","Saathiya" and "Swades", says she always wanted to be adirector. Incidentally, she met Aamir during the shooting of"Lagaan".

"I always wanted to be a director. It has been thecall of my life. I love art and films are a great meetingplace of different forms of arts. So this is something I willcontinue to do."

Asked about the post "Dhobi Ghat" scene, Kiran says,"I don''t know myself. I will learn as I go along but I havecouple of ideas and will start working on them soon. I amhoping to develop them into movies." PTI BK ZMN

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