After spending more than two decades in the southern film industry, director Siddique has entered Bollywood with "Bodyguard" and says that he finds the Hindi film industry creatively satisfying.
"The market of the Hindi film industry is bigger in comparison to the south. Here one can think big and execute it as well. There are no limitations. It is a creatively satisfying place for any filmmaker," Siddique told IANS in an interview.
"One does not need to worry about funds. The bigger you imagine, the bigger your dreams are, the bigger a film can be," he said while praising Bollywood.
Siddique has made "Bodyguard", a remake of his Malayalam film, in Hindi with Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor in the lead roles. The film is releasing Aug 31.
This is the third time he has directed the same script - the film was also made in Tamil as "Kaavalan".
When asked about the difference in the treatment, he said: "Language dosen't really make much of a difference if the story line has meat in it. A few changes have been made keeping in mind Salman's fan following.
"I am very happy to enter Bollywood, that too with Salman Khan. I feel very lucky to have him in my first Bollywood project. One does not need to give him briefing. He understands all the aspects of filmmaking."
Siddique feels language is not a barrier while adapting a script, but it certainly posed problems for him when he had to interact with people while making the film.
"It wasn't that easy for me to make a film here because I was out of my comfort zone and my working style. I was also among new people. The most difficult part was that I didn't know the language and so it became a little difficult to make others understand with my 'tuta-futa' (broken) Hindi."
"Salman and Kareena watched the other versions of the film. They understood the main plot of the characters. They understood what I wanted from them. When we started shooting, I didn't have to explain much to them as they had the idea about what I expected from them in a particular scene," he said.
After starting his career in the early 1980s, Siddique made films in Tamil and Malayalam. Priyadarshan is known for adapting Siddique's films - he turned "Ramji Rao Speaking" (1989) into "Hera Pheri" (2000), "Godfather" (1991) into "Hulchul" (2004) and "In Harihar Nagar" (1990) into "Dhol" (2007).
But he has no qualms about it as he feels the "give and take" process between Bollywood and Southern filmdom is "bridging the gap between the two industries."
"I had offers even before, but I didn't accept them at that time. But I think it was wise of me because this is the right time for me to enter Bollywood," he said.
Before foraying into Bollywood, Siddique saw over 60 Hindi films to understand how Bollywood movies are made.
Comparing the two industries, he said that the southern film industry is still in a developing stage.
"It's not that there are any problems with the southern industry. But it is still in its developing stage. We have great artists, good technicians, but the problem arises when it comes to funding," said Siddique.
"In South the movie market is growing. They are experimenting with story lines. The difference in cinema of both the industries is basically of the language. Otherwise, Indian emotions are same all over the country. Their understanding of a subject is more or less the same," he added.
He also feels regional films are finally getting their due.
"Not only in their own country but even across the globe. Now, their reach is not limited. They have set a mark in global market thanks to international festivals. Earlier the Kannada market was around Rs.80 lakh to Rs.1crore. But now it is around Rs.40 crore, alone," he said.
Though the director is smitten by Bollywood, there is one area that Siddique feels Bollywood needs to improve upon.
"We (people down South) start work early. Usually, we start our day at seven in the morning or maximum by nine. But here that is not the case. The working hours are a little odd for us. It is my humble request that if the industry here inculcates the practice of starting early, the atmosphere would become perfect. It will become more disciplined," he said.
(Manpreet Kaur can be contacted at email@example.com)