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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

New Beginnings

Sanjay Dutt is excited that the action genre is back with Dabangg and Knock Out.

Written by Geety Sahgal | Mumbai |
October 22, 2010 8:14:22 pm

We are sitting in Olive,a suburban restaurant in Mumbai,and Sanjay Dutt,whose film Knock Out released last week,is all smiles. Surprisingly Dutt is pleased that Dabangg is a super-hit! “I loved Dabangg. I am so glad that somebody like Salman Khan had the guts to make a typical commercial entertainer like that. He has gone back to the genre I had started with. Given a chance,even I would love to do a movie like that again,” he grins.

The film industry has changed a lot since the early days of Dutt’s carefree ways. Reflecting on the changing trends in the movie industry where filmmakers are perpetually exploiting new and varied subjects,the actor says that they should not forget mainstream cinema. “For a couple of years everyone,including producers and directors, had lost the inclination to make such films.

It was either mushy love stories or off-beat subjects. I couldn’t understand what was happening. I am so thankful to Salim-saab,Arbaaz and Salman Khan who proved the genre,where the hero who takes on the system,can never die. If we look down South we will see the filmmakers there never forgot that and that is why heroes there are worshiped like Gods,” says the actor,adding that now that Salman had started the trend,he would follow suit.

Right from his debut film Rocky that catapulted him to stardom in 1981 to a career spanning three decades in which Dutt appeared in over a 100 films,it is easy to discern the typical Dutt movie. Typically embellished with gloss,glamour and substance to which generous dollops of action,romance and emotional drama are added,he’s exploited them all in blockbusters such as Naam,Sadak,Saajan,Vaastav,Mission Kashmir,Parineeta, The Munnabhai films and All The Best. While almost all of them were films that tugged at your emotions,only All The Best was an out- and-out comedy,a genre which he seems to have mastered after appearing in flicks like Dhamaal and David Dhawan films like Jodi No 1 and Haseena Maan Jayegi. “Action is fine but comedy is very difficult in terms of saying dialogues and reacting to your co-actors,” he said.

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Now with Knock Out,Dutt is all set to exploit his reflexes with a long-barrelled rifle to keep fellow-actor Irrfan Khan in focus. “When Mani Shankar narrated the script,I found it fascinating as it was about a hero of a different kind. It was also interesting as I was getting to do action after a long time. The action directors who did Bourne Identity came down to train me in martial arts and Parkour. Kidnap had bits of action but Knock Out was different,” smiled the actor,adding that like all Mani’s films this too is ahead of time with terse dialogues and excellent music.

The only thing that he found bizarre was shooting for the film,as not only did he have to say all his dialogues to an imaginary Irrfan (as the latter was in a ’phone booth),he also had to imagine his responses,something he had never done before in his long career. “I was holed up in a room for 40 days all by myself! It was very difficult in the beginning as we are used to having our co-stars in front of us but slowly I got used to it!” said a smiling Sanjay,adding that the film is not based on Phone Booth.

“Apart from Irrfan talking from a ’phone-booth nothing else is similar,” he insisted.

As for him demanding that an “item” number be added in the film,something along the lines of Munni badnaam hui,Dutt laughed. “The idea to have an “item” number in the film was conceived four months back,and I am not even in the song!”

Dutt seems to be a content man and feels he is in the best phase of his career. “After all the ups and downs,God has been kind to me. Professionally I am in that phase of life where the roles are getting better with age. I have a good mix like Power,Rascals,Double Dhamaal and Munnabhai Chale America,which starts next year. “It’s really unbelievable that that I am doing such a variety of films. Ultimately you look for satisfaction and the people’s appreciation and I am getting both. Of course economics is also a part of the business,” he laughs.

Does introspect,when his films like Kidnap and Luck don’t do well? “Of course I try to think what went wrong. Like for Lamhaa,I was telling Bunty Walia that if we had a super-hero like Rambo,maybe the film would have done well. Seriously speaking,I never blame anyone for a film’s fiasco because I heard the script,believed in it and did it.”

He is visibly kicked about his new production venture. “When my father’s production house Ajanta Arts shut down,it was his dream that I revive it one way or the other. I tried to launch a company keeping him in mind but because of the recession it did not take off. But now things are getting better and Rascals will be my first film under Sanjay Dutt Productions. I have signed directors like Soham Shah,Milan Luthria and Anees Bazmee,but I won’t be there in all the films,” he elaborated.

As for the twins that his wife Maanyata is carrying he appears very excited. “I love kids and am very attached to my nieces and nephews. I am very happy and am looking forward to spending time with them. Trishala is 22 so it’s been a long time….”

Any wish? “I am 51 years old. I wish people would stop calling me Sanju baba,” he grinned.

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