He started his career as an assistant to BR Chopra and Arjun Hingorani. Filmmaker Anil Sharma has grown and notched up 11 movies along the way. Vajir Singh chats him up .
There’s been a considerable gap between
Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan
I always keep a two-year gap between each of my movies. I enjoy watching my films with the audience. I try and gauge where I went wrong, what put the audience off and what made them applaud. I use that feedback to plan my next film..but ultimately I make what my heart wants to.
What went wrong with
Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo?
I worked hard on the project. It was straight from the heart. But the timing was not right..the political situation between India and Pakistan. There were some good sequences in the film but the audiences thought otherwise.
Are you saying patriotic films don’t do well these days?
what else can you show the audience?
Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo
is an example of that. People are not interested in movies dealing with terrorism. And as filmmakers, we can’t force that on them, we have to give them what they want. The bottomline is, every one wants their money back. At the end of the day, I’m a businessman.. a film
What about critics?
I’m yet to understand what cinema critics want filmmakers to make. One day I want to make a film from the critic’s point of view. Unlike others I don’t know enough to satisfy critics. I’m a viewer first and then a director.
So I know what audiences are looking for, but not what the critic wants. The critics didn’t have good things to say about
when it released but it went on to become a massive hit. Ditto for
and my own
Gadar-Ek Prem Katha.
Do you think your next film,
Apne,will satisfy audiences as well as critics?
What I say is my film is very sensitive. I’m not sure about the critics but it will click with the audience for sure.
Sensitive film and Anil Sharma.. quite an unusual combination.
That’s the irony with me. I’ve always made emotional movies. I started with
, then I made
Bandhan Kachche Dhaagey
Thanks to the media, I’ve been showered with the action director tag.
I always believed in comedies and love stories but looking at the market, I got into the action genre. My third film Hukumat became a blockbuster, and the industry labelled me an action filmmaker. After the success of Dhoom II and Krrish, they say action is back. I know. Every second actor wants to do action films now. But I want to make a love story now. Whenever I approach an actor, he says, “No one can make an action film like you. Let’s do one together”.
That’s the tragedy of being Anil Sharma (laughs). I don’t like heroes hanging from cables and doing
. I believe in real action..not all that stuff using special effects.
Why did you cast all three Deols in
Sunny (Deol) had told me about his desire to work with his father Dharamji and brother Bobby (Deol). I wanted to make a non-action film with them but it’s hard to think of a film with all three of them and no action.
For nearly four years, I’ve been looking for an apt script. After a point, I gave up the idea. But the day I decided to drop my plan my writer Neeraj Pathak came to me with this idea.
I immediately went to Sunny’s house and narrated it to all three of them. Finally, the four of us agreed that this is the script we must work on.
Isn’t Apne inspired by Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky?
No. I’ve always made movies based on original ideas or sometimes inspired by a novel. Why should I make movies based on someone else’s idea?
I love to nourish my own creation..my idea..my baby. There are other bigger directors here to ape Hollywood. Let them do it.
You’re never considered a big league director. Forget the film industry.
The only thing I care about is my audience. Why should I talk about my achievements? Go and check the collections of all my movies. Most of them have clicked with the audience.. more or less.
What it comes down to is how the media projects it. Other filmmakers are smart enough to understand that and woo the media. I don’t.
Look at Rakesh Roshan. He’s among those filmmakers who’ve given hits one after another. He feels had his son Hrithik (Roshan) not become the mega star he is today, people wouldn’t even remember his existence.
Even Dharamji — look at the hits he’s given. There was a time when he’d give a minimum of four hits every year but he never got credit for that.
Can today’s stars give more than one hit a year?
I’m not one of the Page 3 types who will go out and meet the world to be in the news. I’d rather have my work speak for me.
Why don’t you go to parties and network?
I’m scared if I go for an event and people don’t recognise me (laughs). It’s a possibility. Only people who know me are aware of my existence and know what I look like. I’ve always been media-friendly..but I don’t think they share the same sentiment.
I’m planning multiple projects. I’ll also get outside directors to make movies for my banner. Apart from the Deols, we’re also in talks with Saif (Ali Khan) and Akshay (Kumar). At the moment, it’s only Apne.