Singham Returns is your ever first film that has garnered Rs. 32 crore on its opening day. Did you ever expect it to get this kind of acclaim?
I don’t know how to express myself. Yes, I am very, very happy. The collection of Rs.32 crore is an all-time high opening for any of my films till date.
The film has even surpassed the collections of Salman Khan’s Kick that has collected over Rs. 200 crore in about five weeks?
Everything depends from film to film. I feel dejected when good films don’t do well. So I don’t take this number game very seriously.
With the Rs. 200 crore club trend that has set in, do you think Singham Returns will achieve that mark since it has already set the cash registers ringing?
It is not easy to even achieve Rs.100 crore. Till date only a couple of films have crossed the Rs.200 crore mark and that was during the festival period, like Diwali or Eid which is a very different thing altogether. So one cannot expect every film to do a business of Rs. 200 crore. While it should not become a burden for the producer, we should constantly strive to make better films.
You are now being termed as a superhero. Comment.
I don’t know about that. It is the media that coins such phrases for us. (laughs) However, while the character of Bajirao Singham has not changed, this time the film is more dramatic and much more real. That is the big change. The action is also very real. The issues that have been handled are also bigger because Mumbai, the city where the film has been set in is bigger.
What is Bajirao Singham upto this time?
Besides handling small issues like eve teasing, the main issue revolves around hoarding black money mainly by politicians during elections. Singham is fighting against very powerful people. That is the fun of it, and he is working in the same style as he did in his chota gaon earlier. But, as I have said, he hasn’t changed. He has the same ruthless attitude when it comes to criminals.
Does the film have a message for viewers and police?
Yes, it does. What is actually Singham? For me, it is to bring out the ‘Singham’ moment in you and that does not mean you have to go and fight people, it means you have to do one good deed, so things change slowly.
Well then, will that help to change the system?
Definitely. After the release of Singham, there was a change in the system. The common man’s trust in the cops has increased and even the attitude of the cops have changed as they also want to project a clean image. Today, we have educated cops who are sensitive to the problems faced by people. Many cops have approached me and said that after watching Gangaajal and Singham, they were inspired to join the police force. I would not like to name them, but some of them hold34 very high posts today. So things are changing. Singham, I would say, made them think. And I hope Singham Returns also does that.
Which has been your best cop film till date?
I am very confused between Gangaajal and Singham. I have played a cop many times, but these were true to the character and even people have loved them.
How would you describe a true policeman?
I would say, one who is responsible, does his job well and on time. He has to understand the problem before him and also has to have a caring attitude. Having said that, policemen too are like us ordinary mortals. And they too face similar situations like us actors. Since we sign numerous autographs, we too get irritated, and may snap at the next person who approaches us for an autograph, but the person may not understand and feel snubbed. Likewise, for the cops too, it is like, arrey itne case hain… tu ek aur kyon leke aaya mere paas.
Coming back to Singham Returns, you have Yo Yo Honey Singh singing in the film obviously for commercial reasons.
The song that he has sung is more of a promotional video and comes at the end of the film with the titles. It was a good song and we stuck to our famous line, Ata majhi satakli. A film generally needs a song like this to give it a push.
A Rohit Shetty film is always full of action and even you enjoy doing your own stunts. So, how was the experience this time?
There are some breathtaking scenes that I have enjoyed doing. But this time I have kept them a little more real. I have used less cable work and have done the stunts myself. A scene that really hit me hard was the one in which I am thrown and hit my head against a vehicle, and another in which I am suspended in air while shooting the goons. It was a striking shot. We need to do such scenes sometimes. Moreover, I have got used to the risk that comes with doing such scenes. (laughs)
Having said that, Singham Returns has a good balance of story and action. Singham had just two action scenes, with hardly any stunt sequences in the climax. The climax of Singham Returns too does not have stunts. Like the first film, here too the climax will inspire you. We have also maintained that if there is a corrupt politician in the system, there is also a good-hearted leader. Hamare society mein se hi aise log nikalke aate hain. Even in our industry, there are good and bad people. But we cannot pinpoint the qualities of anybody.
The film has not been short of controversy. Even before its release a Hindu outfit, Jan Jagran Samiti objected to certain scenes.
Yes, that was sorted out amicably at the outset. They objected to a certain scene in the promo, but many a times what is shown in the promos is different from the film.
Isn’t it stressful to be associated as both a producer and an actor?
The responsibility is doubled in this case, because as a producer, one has to see that everything is in place. But if you have a good team, you don’t have to worry. In this case, Rohit has handled everything very well. He also makes his debut as a producer with this film. I have been producing films for very long and this, I felt, was another good film to be associated with. So we have both produced the film together along with Reliance Entertainment.
Singham Returns was at an advantage as there were no major releases and it was a long weekend considering Independence Day was on Friday and Janmashtami on Monday.
There were some big releases in the South. A film featuring a big star there affects the business of our films. However, holiday period does make a big difference to a film’s box-office collection. My films that released during Diwali earlier have always done well at the box-office.
Why then didn’t you release Singham Returns during Diwali?
We thought that Independence Day was a better period to release it as the movie has a patriotic and national flavour to it. Moreover, Shah Rukh Khan had already announced his next, Happy New Year for Diwali.
Can we look forward to Singham 3?
Yes, if we get a good script.
Like many Bollywood actors, you too have ventured into regional arena with Vitti Dandu.
I have always been fascinated and wanted to support regional cinema as they are content-oriented. I am willing to work in any good film that comes to me. I am presenting Vitti Dandu, a Marathi film and it has shaped up very well.
Besides this, my next release will be Action Jackson. My banner is already in the process of working on a few projects that I shall announce when the time is right.