Jannat 2 opens on May 4 and Murder 3 will flag off this year-end. Both sequels feature Emraan Hashmi in the lead. The actor said it would be difficult to keep him out of these two franchises.
Tell Mahesh Bhatt this, and he retorts, “No one is indispensable to a work of fiction. Sean Connery was the first James Bond, but we’ve had several Bonds since. Emraan found his voice through these films and right now it’s difficult to imagine anyone else taking the brands forward. But that’s out of choice, not compulsion. We don’t want to repeat the heroines though.”
Jannat was an expose on match-fixing, Jannat 2 on the illegal arms trade. During research, it was learnt from the Delhi police that nawabs and kings employed skilled artisans to make firearms.
When the British came to India, they wanted exclusive control over arms and ammunition and banned these craftsmen.
“Many were unemployed, but the art didn’t die. Centuries later, with sales of arms escalating, their successors were tapped. And old skills were honed by people whose avatars you’ll meet onscreen,” says Bhatt.
The film’s writer Shagufta Rafique’s sister Saeeda, and niece were shot dead by her brother-in-law and film producer Brij, on a Diwali night. Brij later killed himself, only his son Kamal Sadanah survived.
Bhatt himself had a gangster with a country-made revolver turning up at his office. Learning he was not in, the goon fired at his office door and exited.
“Had I been in, I might not have been alive today,” says Bhatt, reminding you that Gulshan Kumar and Mukesh Duggal weren’t as lucky.
“Even Rakesh Roshan and Manisha Koirala were fired at and Sanjay Dutt’s life devastated because he was alleged to have an AK 47 in his possession. Jannat 2’s message will be that the gun should not be in the hands of a civilian, but only the police force. We believe we are insulated from such crimes. But what happened with us could easily happen to you.”