Establishing the time and era of the Sri Lankan civil war for Madras Cafe was the most challenging part of making the forthcoming movie for director Shoojit Sircar.
"Since the film is based on a serious subject like terrorism and civil war, the main challenge was to create that genre and time. It's not an action-packed combo with a Rambo-like character, but it's based on what has happened in the past," said Sircar.
He has admitted to using real bullets in sync sound to make it a realistic action film. Sircar also recently said that when the audience will enter the theatre, he will "transport you to a civil war" with the film.
The movie is said to have been in plans for seven years, and Sircar said he started working on it only four years back.
"Lot of hard work and research work has been put into the film. We read books, surfed the Internet and met people," he added.
Sircar, who dealt with the subject of insurgency in the 2005 film Yahaan, said the movie is not shot in Sri Lanka, as reported. It was widely shot in India, as well as in some foreign locations.
"Shooting with an entire team was a learning experience. But creating the right canvas was difficult. There were few action-stunt scenes for which we had hired experts. But, we mainly created computer graphics," said Sircar.
Madras Cafe is Sircar's second project with actor-producer John Abraham after the latter's debut production venture Vicky Donor. In the new movie, which releases Friday, John plays an investigation officer. Rockstar actress Nargis Fakhri plays a war correspondent.
Asked about his experience of working with John for the second time, he said: "It's always smooth working with John. Our partnership is clear and healthy. He does his job well."
"He is undoubtedly a brilliant actor, and it didn't take him long to fit into the character of an investigation officer," added the director.
Sircar, who is also a successful ad filmmaker, is also all praises for Nargis, and he feels Madras Cafe will relaunch her.
"She plays a challenging role of a foreign journalist. It was difficult for her to adapt to that accent. She wasn't comfortable initially, but she worked hard on her accent, speech and dialogues. Also, she spent few days with journalists to fit into the character. For her, it was difficult considering she is new in the industry, but she gave her hundred percent."
The filmmaker, who often experiments with the subjects of his movies, believes that the audience here is evolving, and opening up to films of varied genres and international standards.
He said: "It's the best time in Indian cinema! The audience is evolving. Also, we are trying to meet the international standards and viewers are ready to accept it. They are open to watching more films based on varied genres."