Anurag Kashyap says Sushant Singh Rajput chose Drive over his film, claims actor ‘wanted validation from Yash Raj Films’
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap opened up about late actor Sushant Singh Rajput and said that he chose to work with certain heavyweights of Bollywood as he wanted the ‘validation’. Anurag said that he offered Sushant two films but he decided to work with bigger banners instead.
In an interview with NDTV, Anurag said, “Sushant was very successful. You make your career based on your choices, not on your talent. Aap kya choose karte ho, aap kiske saath kaam karte ho, woh aapka career banata hai (What you choose and who you choose to work with, makes your career). Sushant was super successful and made choices himself.”
Anurag said that he had just finished casting for Gangs of Wasseypur when he met Sushant. “(Casting director) Mukesh Chhabra used to operate from my office. Sushant aaya, maine kaha, ‘Yaar, tu Bihar ka ladka hai. Mujhe pehle milta toh main tujhe film mein kaam de deta (When Sushant came to meet him, I said, ‘Oh, you are from Bihar. If I had met you earlier, I would have given you a role in the film).’” Anurag then recommended Sushant’s name to filmmaker Abhishek Kapoor, who was specifically looking for a television star for Kai Po Che!
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Anurag said that he cast Sushant in his production Hasee Toh Phasee and approached Parineeti Chopra for the female lead. Sushant ended up talking to Yash Raj Films (YRF), who was handling Parineeti, and signed a three-film deal with them.
“YRF called him and said, ‘We’ll give you a deal. You do Shuddh Desi Romance.’ Sushant, who used to sit in my office with Mukesh and all of us used to sit together, signed up with YRF and dropped Hasee Toh Phasee, a film of an outsider because usko validation YRF ka chahiye tha (he wanted validation from YRF). It’s with every actor, so I am not holding any grudges,” Anurag said. Hasee Toh Phasee was eventually made with Sidharth Malhotra, in place of Sushant.
Anurag offered Sushant another film in 2016 but that did not work out either. “Years later, in 2016, before the release of MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Mukesh went to Sushant and said, ‘Anurag has written a script looking for an actor who can play someone based out of Uttar Pradesh.’ Dhoni released, became a success and he never called me back. I was not upset, I moved on, I did Mukkabaaz,” the filmmaker said.
Anurag said that when outsiders come into the film industry, they seek validation from certain big banners like YRF, Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions or Sanjay Leela Bhansali. “That validation you are seeking, and one can’t blame you. It’s a choice you have made but you also have to deal with this. The boy was very talented but at that time, he chose Drive over a film that I was doing because he was dying to work with Dharma,” he said.
Sushant died by suicide on June 14. It has been alleged that attempts were made to stall his career as he was an outsider who refused to become a sycophant.
In a recent interview, Kangana Ranaut alleged that Aditya Chopra blacklisted Sushant after he chose to end the ‘evil’ contract with YRF. She claimed that Karan then stepped in to sabotage Sushant’s career by offering him Drive, which he later ‘dumped’.
“Now, Aditya doesn’t work with him but his best friend, his childhood friend, Karan Johar comes into the picture. Very strategically, he hires him and shoots for this film for three years, and then he declares to the world that he is such a flop star, I can’t sell the film to exhibitors,” Kangana said, questioning why Karan could not find buyers for Drive, even after Sushant delivered a blockbuster like MS Dhoni: The Untold Story.
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