Nana Patekar stomped off the Raajneeti sets during a shoot in Bhopal over creative differences with his director, patched up with him later but refused to accompany the cast on their cross-country promotions, yet Prakash Jha insists that he’s not miffed with his Krishna. "Nana had made it clear that he would not accompany us around the country, but would do his bit from home. I was okay with that, not everyone has the same energy or enthusiasm," he reasons.
Quiz him about his other veteran’s non-participation in the publicity run-up to the release and Jha says, “Naseersaab too had told me that he could not give too much time to my film since he was shooting for another project.”
The buzz is that Naseeruddin Shah was upset with his three-minute screen time, after his role was snipped on the editing table. The filmmaker growls, “Don’t ever say such things. Naseersaab, who plays Surya Dev from the Mahabharata, got exactly what he’d been promised. For that matter, no one’s role was edited out. I tried to do justice to every one of my actors and if I failed, it’s my loss.”
Ajay Devgn aka Karan, it’s being said, got a raw deal in terms of footage, which is why he too was missing at press conferences and even the film’s premiere last week. “You’ve seen the film, you know how wonderful he was. How can anyone say he was over-shadowed?”
So, Devgn, along with Amitabh Bachchan and Katrina Kaif, will be a part of Jha’s next. Aarakshan? “I’m not going to discuss Aarakshan right now, you will have to wait for an announcement that you can expect to hear soon.”
Talking about Kaif, a lot was written about her resemblance, in terms of look and character sketch, to Congress High Command Sonia Gandhi. “Now that everyone’s seen the film, I wonder if they even remember Sonia Gandhi in connection with the role. So why rake up all that again?” he argues, insisting that he’s just revelling in the fact that the film is going great guns.
Collections on the rise
“Even in Bihar, collections on Monday were better than those over the weekend. I knew what I was doing and given that the characters were based on tried and tested ones from the Mahabharata, I was confident that the film would be liked. But even I had not expected it to be accepted in such a big way,” he exults.
So has Raajneeti’s commercial success helped him finally shed the tag of an art filmmaker? “I was consciously walking away from tag since Mrityudand. That was the first time I used big actors, songs, the lingo of commercial cinema and dramatised scenes by making them larger-than-life. And since then, the learning process has been on. You have to adapt to compete in the market,” he points out.
Critics have been cribbing that the film is too intense and drawn out, particularly in the second half, and much too filmi. “When you do any kind of work that you’d put up in public domain, you should be prepared for reactions. And so long as my film is commented upon, I’m happy,” he chuckles. “I’ve spent enough time to understand and edit my film and I have no regrets on any count.”
It was reported earlier that the film’s satellite rights had been sold to Colours TV channel and it would be telecast after four weeks. “That’s complete misinformation. The film has been sold to STAR and it will be aired at an appropriate time,” he snaps. Given the open ending, is a sequel in the pipeline? “No, I’m not thinking of a sequel, Raajneeti is over for me,” he insists.
On screen politics may be, what about rajneeti (politics) in real life? “I fought one election, I’ll never fight another. Politics is over for me, I’d rather concentrate on making movies.”