Happily married for 16 years now, they give one the impressions of being an ideal couple — a rarity these days. A love that bloomed when Akashdeep Sabir was a director and Sheeba an actress, they now share the relationship of not just man and wife but also director and producer.
Here to shoot their upcoming Hindi film, Santa Banta, of which Sabir is the director and Sheeba the producer, the two share bits about their lives so far.
A true-blue Punjabi, Sabir’s mother belongs to Ludhiana and father to Chandigarh. The director of films such as Miss 420 (1998) and Ghaath (2000), numerous TV soaps as well as live stage shows, Sabir announces he isn’t a part of the rat race. Naturally, he doesn’t take too kindly to being referred to as a ‘comeback director’. “Who decides that when you make one film, you have to come back with 10 more? I never went anywhere.
I work for satisfaction,” he says. As a result, he refuses to conform to the set definition of success and failure. “I’m on my own trip in life. Through the years, I have done what I wanted to without any fear of the outcome. Success or failure don’t bother me,” says he.
In college, Sabir worked as an interior designer to earn some extra bucks, as a result of which he ended up doing the home of actress Rekha and filmmaker Nasser Hussain’s office. “Later, I acted in serials such as Karamchand, Chehre and Hum Phir Milenge. Soon, I was directing TV soaps and events including the Screen Awards, Filmfare, Stardust and many others,” he adds.
Sabir was then chosen as the CEO of Sahara, in which his job profile included choosing scripts, finalising the director and putting together all aspects involved in making a film. “We made 25 to 30 films, such as Superstar, Ab Tak Chhappan, Vaastu Shastra and Darna Mana Hai. I signed on Ram Gopal Verma to make 10 films for us,” he shares. Though it is evident that Sabir gets easily bored of things, he confirms this when he says, “After my stint in Sahara, I entered into real estate business in partnership with friends. So, I got to see my sons’ growing up years, which was the greatest gift of not working then.”
Now that his creative juices have lured Sabir’s interest in films again, he says about Santa Banta, “Like Spiderman and Superman, the name is already a brand. It’s fun-filled, based mostly in Fiji and Punjab. The cast includes Boman Irani, Vijay Raaz, Vir Das, Lisa Hayden, Neha Dhupia and Ram Kapoor among others.”
The distribution rights of the film have been sold to Viacom 18. “It’s very important to have a corporate firm that believes in you. At the end of the day, I don’t have an all-India network for the film’s release. Corporate firms guarantee a good release. Distribution of films is sheer commerce with no creative satisfaction,” feels the director.
His upcoming projects include Phaney Khan, that he will co-produce, The Men Who Killed Gandhi, produced by Manoj Bajpai and him and Paisa Bolta Hai.