Alia Bhatt was left shaken, crying: Mahesh Bhatt on daughter’s reaction to Sadak 2 script
In his 50 years of filmmaking, Mahesh Bhatt has directed gems such as Saaransh, Naam, Arth, Aashiqui and Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin etc. But the director decided to hang up his boots after his swansong, Zakhm. Twenty years later, he is set to come out of his retirement and helm the sequel to his 1991 hit, Sadak.
What changed his mind and he decided to direct Sadak 2? Bhatt replies in his trademark style, “It just happened! The winter had crept into my heart and now, there is fire again.” And what makes his comeback all the more special is that the Sadak sequel will star his star daughter, Alia Bhatt besides Sanjay Dutt, Pooja Bhatt and Aditya Roy Kapoor. Sadak 2’s teaser was launched on Mahesh Bhatt’s 70th birthday.
So, you are back to where – many would feel – you always belonged.
Well, it took Sanjay Dutt and a silent cry, which I heard from his heart, that made me respond [this way]. When I first wrote the story and screenplay of Sadak 2, I narrated it to Sanju, Mukesh (Bhatt) and Pooja (Bhatt). They all loved it but the next day, Sanju came back and said, ‘It’s a very good script but don’t make it.’ There was a stunned silence. But he was like, ‘Who will transport these [onto the screen] scenes and nuances which you have pulled from a heartfelt space?’ It was Sanju, who injected the idea into me. Honestly, I also saw merit in what why he wanted me [to direct it].
How did you get Alia on board?
It was Sanju, Mukesh and Pooja, who suggested that it should be narrated to Alia but we hadn’t considered her while writing the script. Alia is a difficult cookie to crack because she only responds with her heart; she’s very clear about whether she wants to embrace it whole-heartedly or say no. Honestly, she doesn’t have to say yes and prove anything vis-à-vis our relationship; I also wouldn’t belittle our relationship by putting this burden on her. We gave a full narration to her and by the end of it; she was left shaking and crying. That was one hell of a triumph. After all, besides being a reigning star, she’s also recognised for her tremendous merit as an actor.
Have you ever wondered why one day, your love for film direction withered away?
When we were thinking of a director for Sadak 2, I also wondered, ‘Why am I being reluctant?’ It was because the desire and passion – which kind of nourished my career – to make movies had withered in me. There was a time when I hated the idea of going to a film set. But this time, love happened again. I felt something was rumbling inside when I was writing the screenplay. When you felt that you had put a full stop to your life, it said, ‘there is no full stop to me and that kind of jolted me and filled me with a new vigour and energy.’
Today, you turn 70, and it seems you are ready to unleash Mahesh Bhatt 2.0?
(Smiles) I think I am going to be in my most radiant phase. I am 70 and have spent 50 years in the [movie] business. I was telling Pooja the other day that I still remember the first conversation that I had with my guru-boss, Raj Khosla. He asked me, ‘Do you know anything about movies?’ And I said, ‘Nothing.’ So he was like, ‘Zero is a good figure to begin from.’ Now as I reach 70, I feel zero is a good figure to arrive at because nothing is more precious to an artiste than a profound knowledge that he doesn’t know anything because then you have the curiosity and the thirst of a child.
From now on, are you going to continue direction?
Sadak 2 is a comet that has flashed through the hearts. I have no plans to kind of build on this. This is a phenomenon which just happens as it’s a matter of the heart. I had put a full stop to my directorial career but my life said, ‘No, once more. I want an encore.’