"The wait was frustrating. The film got postponed once due to Sanju’s verdict (he is currently in jail), and that led to a domino effect. The other time, we weren’t ready with the music. Then, we were looking for a solo release week, which we have finally found," explained the director, who kept himself busy in the interim by working on a novel. "It’s a period adventure thriller that I’ve been researching for eight-nine years now," he added. Also read: Ungli has its finger on the pulse of the nation
Talking about Sanjay, who sports grey hair in the film, Rensil said the actor had no inhibitions about looking old on screen. "In fact, he wanted to colour his hair white. But since he was shooting for another film simultaneously, we picked a salt-and-pepper look instead. He has a very lived-in face with lines; it suits the role," he said.
The director admitted that with the verdict of Sanjay’s court case coming out around the shoot of the film, he did consider an alternate plan in the eventuality of the actor having to go to jail without completing the shoot. "For the makers, the worst thing that can happen is an incomplete film. Re-shooting is expensive, and is the decision of the production house. It would have shot up our budget considerably, but if that would have happened, I would’ve asked Anil Kapoor to step in for the role. I am working with him on a TV series anyway, so I would have turned to him if I’m was in trouble," he explains.
Ungli features five characters who take on the system. The theme is instantly reminiscent of Rang De Basanti (RDB; 2006), which coincidentally, was written by him. "RDB dealt with a larger issue — dead pilots, bad Russian spare parts etc. The world has moved on since, and social media is very active now. Anna Hazare has proved that there’s a whole new generation that wants to make a difference," he clarified, adding, "When an auto driver says no to you, it may ruin your morning. There are potholes that need filling, and politicians who put up ‘Happy Birthday’ posters across the city. Why are they doing this, and who is allowing them to?"
The director admitted that his film shares RDB’s sentiment, but it’s for a new audience. "In India, there has never been a vigilante film, with a guy in a mask, turning the system on its head. As a person, I can’t look away from things. As film-makers, we have an obligation towards society. We can use our craft to mobilise public opinion, and it doesn’t have to be preachy," he explains.
Apart from the film, Rensil is also directing the second season of 24, with Anil Kapoor in the lead role. He said, "The first season worked very well, and that is how we got season two. In fact, all our sponsors are back with us, and there are many film actors who have called to ask if they could be part of the upcoming season."