Mahesh Bhatt was one of the most popular directors in the 1980s and 1990s. And it was in this phase that he worked with Shah Rukh Khan, who was enjoying his newfound stardom. But despite their successful track record, both the films they made together – Duplicate and Chaahat – failed miserably. In a recent interview, Mahesh recalled that despite his “dismissal performance”, Shah Rukh always stood by him.
“I am the only man who has made two bad films with Shah Rukh Khan. Though he was coming into his own and I love Shah Rukh, amazing guy. But despite my dismissal performance, he treated me like a king and it takes a king to treat another person like a king. I’ll always be grateful to him,” the filmmaker told Pinkvilla.
Mahesh Bhatt spoke about Shah Rukh Khan’s generous nature and said the actor in him is just a “vehicle on which the persona stands”. “You don’t make people like that. The actor in him is obviously the vehicle on which the persona stands but I’ve listened to his heart beat. There’s a very big man in him. A very generous, courageous, great human being,” he said.
Mahesh also recalled his time with Ajay Devgn and said that it was Ajay’s late father Veeru Devgn who had asked him to work with his son. “Tere haath se niklega toh actor ban jayega (He’ll become an actor if he works with you),” the filmmaker recalled Veeru’s words. The two first worked in a 1995 film called Naajayaz, which also starred Naseeruddin Shah. “There was an intensity in him. Very sincere guy. He was very unsure about standing up with Naseer saab. Naseer saab is a brilliant actor and I injected in him the confidence that he can do it and he did it. And then we did Zakhm,” he said.
Mahesh Bhatt further spoke about being spellbound by Ajay’s generosity after he watched Gangubai Kathiawadi. The film starred Mahesh’s daughter Alia Bhatt in the titular role with Ajay playing a smaller part. “I was quite spellbound by him by his generosity and his ability to step back and give the centre stage to Alia in Gangubai and that speaks volumes about him,” the filmmaker said.