Sanjay Dutt, Amitabh Bachchan, Arbaaz Khan in a still from Shootout at Lokhandwala.
Producer-director Sanjay Gupta says he is experimenting. With his production Shootout At Lokhandwala(directed by Apoorva Lakhia) minting money at the box-office, he is a very happy man. Gupta is also starting his next directorial venmture Alibaug (a human drama) soon. We caught up with him on his reaction to the success of Shootout…
Excerpts of an interview:
So, Sanjay Gupta is a very happy man now…
I am happy about the fact that we have stuck to our guns —continued making the kind of films we believe in and now its’ finding universal acceptance. Shootout… has a certain international standard to its making, it was a dark tale interestingly told. The film centres around just one incident, so we could have very well made a documentary.
So, dark tales do have an audience, isn’t it? I am reminded of Zinda, which didn’t do that well…
Zinda should have done much better. It was a little ahead of its time. It was an indulgence from a filmmaker’s point of view to make it really dark. But, yes I could have kept it a little brighter. However, that’s OK because it was my call.
Was Shootout… a difficult film to make?
It was a difficult film to write. But once the screenplay fell into place and especially the screenplay being non-linear, things were much easier. And the film was paced during the writing stage.
<b1>What has worked in its favour?
It’s the overall package — uniformly flawless performances, well directed, it’s going with the new wave that we witness in Indian cinema now. The film has had universal acceptance and it is growing from strength to strength.
And you always wanted stars in your film, isn’t it? Were they convinced unlike in Dus Kahaniyaan where they only agreed because you were there?
For Dus Kahaniyaan I had to convince the stars because of the format — each actor doing a ten minute film... it is something that nobody has ever done before. But in Shootout…, there was a very well written sceenplay with clearly defined characters. And you know what, every actor got to do something different.
So, Sanjay Gupta is experimenting in a big way…
Totally. I mean we do not make commercial formula films. We have had this conviction from day one be it Kaante or Musafir. We have always pushed the envelope. And now we are finally getting universal acceoptance. We are on a mission and will continue with films we beileve in.
Apoorva Lakhia’s previous two films didn’t work, but he has finally tasted success with Shootout…
I have not seen Ek Ajnabee. For me (to choose a director) the criterion is not his previous film. Had I seen it earlier, probably I couldn’t have woked with him. I just go with the honesty of a filmmaker. I talk to him and if I feel he's good in his craft, I sign him on.