Anil Sharma wants to break free of his Veer image. He is tired of being tagged as an action filmmaker and now wants to try his hand at romantic comedies.
“I started my career with an emotional film, Shraddhanjali, moved to Hukumat, and post its super success, suddenly became this ‘dhishum-dhishum’ (fighting) director. But I’ve had enough ‘maar-dhaad’ for now. These past few months, I’ve been working on a couple of lighter scripts and I am now waiting for producers willing to take creative risks and knock on my door,” he chuckles.
Does this turnaround have anything to do with the fact that his Salman-starrer, Veer, failed to deliver at the box office?
“Veer did really well in certain territories, it made over Rs 60 crore. No other film this year has made such a killing at single screen theatres,” he argues. “It was only the multiplex audience whose expectations were not met.”
Sharma points out that he grew up watching Chupke Chupke, Pyar Kiye Ja, Padosan, Dumb And Dumber and some of Chaplin’s silent films. “I don’t remember watching a full-fledged action film,” says the man, who is remembered for Gadar that was more of an action film than a ‘prem katha’ (love story).
Incidentally, is a sequel in line? “I’d love to make one, but I need a script that’s as great as the original. I don’t want to overshadow Gadar’s immense success with an average sequel,” he points out, even as he rubbishes rumours of him making another Apne with the three Deols — Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby.
Ironically, there’s still a strong connection with the Ds who too have been trying to break out of their He-man stereotypes and are currently working together in a romantic comedy titled Yamla Pagla Deewana.
“Yeah, even actors face such hurdles,” he acknowledges. “Why only the Deols, it took years for even Amitabh Bachchan to lose his angry young man image. Who remembers a brilliant film like Manzil?” Sharma sighs. “For that matter, even Dilip Kumar had the image of a tragedy king and the Khans are similarly saddled with tags too. Shah Rukh Khan is a romantic hero, Salman a comic entertainer and Aamir Khan the social messenger. One hit and you are hard hit,” he smiles ruefully.
So, would he say that Gadar and Veer were compromises too?
“In a way, yes, I had to do these films because of commercial pressure. But Gadar made history, so I’m happy. But maybe now, I’ll do equally well with a rom-com and then, will be remembered as a maker of love stories too.”