Excerpts from the TV interview with Komal Nahta (ETC), June 19, 2010
He was called Baba when he was in his 20s, and he’s still called the same at 50. One of the most loved actors of the industry, Sanjay Dutt talks about his upcoming film Lamhaa, turning producer with Rascals and his upcoming projects.
Komal: You are generally associated with fun or action films and not issue-based ones. Why did you choose a film like ‘Lamhaa’?
Sanjay: Bunty Walia (the producer) took a risk of making a film with a cause. I felt it was a fantastic film. Not just a docu-drama – it has a commercial angle and the music is good. More importantly, the film talks about the people of Kashmir who are stuck between terrorism and security. We don’t understand what they’re going through, the way they are plagued by fear on an everyday basis.
Komal: How do you choose your films? Do you consult family and friends or do you go by your hunch?
Sanjay: I cannot listen to a 3 or 4-hour narration of a film. I’m not among those who will keep going over the script over and over again for days on end. If a script can impress you in 5-10 minutes then it’s more than enough.
Komal: You said that you select movies if they strike a chord. Then how do you explain your flops?
Sanjay: Maybe it struck me in the wrong place! (laughs). You do some movies as favours, for friends, some for money…these movies do become red marks in your career when you look back. I keep telling my friends not to waste me on the screen…but it happens.
Komal: You are turning producer now, will you finalize scripts in the same way?
Sanjay: The principle is going to be the same. I have to be impressed by the movie in one line. I believe in inputs by all artists and their suggestions. I’m really excited that my film will be beginning in October and Ajay Devgan and I have decided the title Rascals. I want to do a good job at it, at least for the workers; I can’t compromise there.
Komal: You are going to be a producer. Are you prepared for starry tantrums?
Sanjay: My father used to tell me that an actor is like a child you have to pamper them, give them whatever they ask for and bear with their tantrums. So I will pamper them and deal with their tantrums.
Komal: Any plans to turn director?
Sanjay: Why not! I will direct a film one day. I don’t know the subject, but I will do it someday.
Komal: Tell us more about your role in ‘Lamhaa’.
Sanjay: I play a military intelligence officer who is recalled to the valley after 14 years to find out about a sinister plan by some militants. He has to mingle with the Kashmiris and in the process realizes what they’ve gone through.
Komal: Did you research for your role or was it spontaneous?
Sanjay: It’s all spontaneous.
Komal: What’s coming up?
Sanjay: There’s Dhamaal 2, Rascals and a Rajkumar Santoshi film. The sequel to Lage Raho Munnabhai may not be Munnabhai Chale Amerika because of similarities to My Name Is Khan but there will be a sequel nonetheless.
(as published in Koimoi)
More excerpts (as published in Koimoi):
Sanjay Dutt’s journey has been a long one so it isn’t surprising that he is revisiting the theme of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in his upcoming film Lamhaa [Watch Teaser], after the 2000-film, Mission Kashmir. A troubled state and a troubled star. But Sanjay Dutt is long past that and even at 50, he’s still the baba of the industry.
The actor credits his late father Sunil Dutt for imbibing humility, “My father had told me that no matter how big you are, you have to be humble. He used to say, ‘Always keep your feet firmly on the ground.’ When you are down, people will treat you the way you treated them when you were up. The more humble you are, the more they will help you rise to the top.”
These lessons have helped Sanjay Dutt in the darkest hours, “When I was in jail for more than two-and-half years, I never thought of films; I just wanted to get out. I just wanted all the humiliation for my family to get over. It’s only the blessings and love of the people from the industry that has got me through.”
From friends, the talk veers to Sanjay Gupta. Their friendship and gradual split is well talked about in filmy circles. This too, is water under the bridge for Sanju baba, “Nothing went wrong; he’s a fantastic technician and he has given some great movies. I just think that he shouldn’t have used my name too much. As a person, you have to make your own individual relationships. I have worked really hard on my relationships over the years and he was ruining them. I told him not to, but…” he shrugs.