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Zinda was exhausting: Sanjay Gupta

Zinda completes his trilogy of cult films. Film preview | Music review

india Updated: Jan 11, 2006 16:21 IST

Thereare a number of things that stand out about filmmaker Sanjay Gupta's movies: the rocking music, the highly stylised editing and shooting and the similarity of his films to cult classics (Kaante was reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs, Musafir was compared to U Turn).

His latest film Zinda does not stray from any of these criteria. The film's music is burning up the charts and dance floors, the black, white, blue and red colours of the film are generating interest and the comparisons to Korean director Park Chan Wook's Old Boy are abundant.

Gupta's not one to be deterred by criticism, as this interview shows.

Are you surprised at the response to Zinda's music?
It's my greatest victory. I didn't expect it to get both critical and popular success, after all it is fashionable to criticise my films. But I have delivered consistently with the music of my films. In Zinda there are no item songs or lipsynch songs, since it is a serious film. I have worked with people whose music I like and asked them for their interpretation. I have also written lyrics for the first time.

How do you react to being labelled a DVD copycat director?
Who is not a DVD copycat director these days? You show me any movie and I'll show you where it's picked up from. I never denied that Kaante was inspired by Reservoir Dogs.

So you do not deny that Zinda is inspired by Old Boy?
It's not entirely inspired by Old Boy, which is in turn inspired by The Count of Monte Christo. Both films have a classic premise.

What about the style of the film?
Zinda completes my trilogy of cult films, of films that do not follow the conventional formula (referring to Kaante and Musafir). They are films that break barriers and take risks. With Zinda I have moved away from the Michael Bay/ Tony Scott style of filmmaking to the David Fincher/ Darren Aronofsky school which is highly stylised but controlled and minimal. Zinda does reflect my frame of mind because I was not a happy person last year. The screw-ups in your personal life reflect in your work. I have made my peace now and am happy with the way the film has shaped up. I've tried to make a responsible film and taken myself seriously as a filmmaker. But Zinda was the most exhausting film I've ever done.

How do Sanjay Dutt, John Abraham, Lara Dutta and Celina Jaitley fit in to the plot?
I'd rather keep the dynamic between the four quiet. But I will say that this is Sanjay Dutt's coming of age film. After this, there is no way he won't be in the top three actors of the country. Somewhere, Sanjay never really got his due. The interaction between John and Sanjay is excellent. So far John has worked with his peer group. Here he's worked with someone he's grown up watching and he's taken him on, one on one.

What is your future plan as a producer and director?
I'm going to take a break, but as a producer I am looking at working with Homi Adajania (Being Cyrus). We are trying to get the rights for the book Q & A. I am also getting the rights to the play Class of 84 and would like Rahul Da Cunha to direct it. Our company won't just make grisly, dark films but cutting edge films. I plan to have three productions this year, including my own. I want to work with people from who I benefit too. I can pro vide the technical back up, but they should have the passion. Only if you have a life beyond cinema can you be a better storyteller.

First Published: Jan 11, 2006 16:21 IST