The Ghayal Once Again actor reveals why he took 26 years to make a sequel to the superhit film and more...Read on...
Sunny Deol hit the screens last week with Ghayal Once Again. The film didn’t just open to rather good collections over the weekend, but also managed to garner decent reviews. Apart from the film’s content, it is Deol’s inherent niceness, I think, that reached out to critics and cinegoers alike. Sunny, who also directed the film, stayed true to his script. He did away with songs, hired one of the best crews in the world for the action and released the film himself despite the big financial strain. Here, he talks about the journey of Ghayal 2 and the road ahead...
The initial response to Ghayal Once Again has been encouraging. Are you happy or did you expect better?
Well, obviously one aims for the sky. I mean it’s nice because I have got good reviews. At times, I really do not know what a critic’s viewpoint is. I think like the audience. Because when I watch a film — I am not talking about my film — say a Hollywood film, I like to get involved in it. I am not trying to see whether the shot was right, whether the story-telling was on the pitch. As long as I am involved in it, it’s a good film for me and if I am not involved in it, then obviously all these flaws get noticed. Sometimes, one feels like no matter what you make, the audiences don’t understand it and they want to see movies like the show Bigg Boss. I don’t understand that.
True, you can never gauge what the audience wants as their taste keeps changing.
No, the audience as such has changed. But now the audience who go to the theatres go because of the perception around the film. Films of many actors who are stars, get great openings, not because they are doing some good work. It is because of the fan following they have created because of the ‘good boy, bad boy’ image they have created, which somehow seems to be working wonders for them. Nobody talks about whether they liked the film or not, they only talk about collections. So it was a big battle for me to make this film the way I wanted to. But it has been a great beginning for me right now. I believe that I am launching myself all over again.
The sequel came 26 years later. Why wait so long?
I wanted to, I really wanted to, but it just didn’t happen. I always had it in my mind that when I made the sequel, it should have the earnesty and honesty. I was not just trying to make a film for the sake of it. So maybe now, after this sequel, I might make a Ghayal 3 also. There are billions of reasons because of which it has not been possible to make it sooner. One of the biggest reasons was that I have mostly always worked with new directors and filmmakers and unfortunately, now, new filmmakers cannot survive the battle of the PR, publicity, and perception. So I am stuck with a couple of producers. I am hoping now that I have started to direct more films myself, take it further around because all I have to do is, be consistent. So when I do a couple of films, people will realise that I am doing a certain kind of cinema. When they see it once or twice, then this will go on the digital format, and onto satellite, so obviously the people who have not been coming to the cinema, will get to know…
Do you only want to do action films?
No, not really. It’s not that I just want to do action films. I basically like to do films which are very emotive. There is some character to it, somewhat a feel to it, like I am, like my Mohalla Assi….
It has been stuck.
I think it will release now. They are working on it right now, so hopefully, in March. This film needs a release and it’s from a great novel and we have made a good film. When I started shooting this film, I didn’t know if I would be able to portray the character to the expected level, but I always love challenges, so I jumped into it.
This time around, Ajay Mehra and Sunny Deol both were quite subdued. Was this a conscious decision?
No, it was not a conscious decision. I just thought the way the character was written, he has lost everything in life and he wants to kill himself. He doesn’t want to exist because there is no purpose. So then there is Omji’s character, the doctor give him a reason and then he starts working. So I couldn’t have seen the character any other way. That’s what I have always tried to do.
Also, your punchlines and one-liners that are so popular were missing in this film. You treated the character with more casualness.
If you have seen my good films, I have shouted in them, it’s not because shouting is required or it’s purposely being done. It is the output of the character. When the audience connects with the character, you have got it right. It’s very difficult to make everybody fall in love with a character as everybody sees it from a different point of view. In all the films I have done over the years, they were character-driven, stories and characters that they related to. But now all they remember is if I am shouting in some scene. That’s all they talk about. They will not talk about the vulnerability of the characters.
That bothers you?
The dialogue has to be spoken in that intensity. The outburst happens... it’s not that I am trying to do it deliberately. I get involved in the scene…. Obviously, there have been certain films where I also started playing up to it, those were bad. Those were really very bad.
So we will see you more in front of the camera or behind it now?
Yes, definitely. I want to do more direction in future. I really want to as an actor, too I will be seen more. I am already working on it. I definitely want to do Ghayal 3 now. I have 100 per cent decided that you’ll will see me this year, in at least two more films.
Your contemporary Anil Kapoor was part of Dil Dhadakne Do. Do you see yourself in a role like that?
I wouldn’t do characters where I didn’t have much to do. I wouldn’t enjoy it. I don’t want to be part of a film where I am just thrown in. I like to be very definite about whatever I do. That’s why I did Damini. I just did that character because he did his bit and then went away. He is not taking away from the hero, he just does his thing and leaves. I prefer doing such roles and I have to enjoy it on the floor, not that ke chalo karlo iske saath, aisa karlo... woh mujhe karna baada mushkil hota hai.
When you conceived this sequel, there was a lot of talk that you would approach Raj Kumar Santoshi to helm it once again. What happened to that?
Well Raj and I had spoken initially and he was not so keen on doing a sequel. Then after that obviously we were not working and then we hardly had any discussions about it. So I started looking at other directors but it was not coming up to that standard. So I decided to do it myself.
In Ghayal Once Again, you’ve done away with songs (except one). Was that a difficult decision to make, considering music contributes to a certain fixed revenue for a film?
No, it was not a difficult decision at all. I always like to have a flow of the script. If the song is going to disturb that flow, I would rather not have it, unless and until the genre of the film is like that. I really didn’t want to add songs because I couldn’t see Ajay Mehra singing. If a character had no reason to, why would he sing? So, he can’t have songs. There is no situation for a song, the way the screenplay was going, I had to be true to that. I have never compromised and I am not going to do that now.
This is also the first time you worked with a completely foreign crew for the action. How did that happen?
I have worked with foreign crews. Betaab onwards, we have had lot of foreign crews in our actions. I have worked a lot with them, initially. After that bulana band kar diya because the action directors here didn’t seem to like it. But for this film, I realised that action has gone way beyond what we do and we needed to match those standards. Earlier also, I used to be very involved, in the action part of my films, but when I was directing it, I couldn’t so I needed someone else to do it. I have seen Bourn Ultimatum series and I had liked that guy’s work. I was fortunate that he was ready to do it
You are an introvert. This is the first time you stepped into the public domain for film promotions. Was it difficult, considering this is not something you really enjoy?
Starting was difficult, but then I got into it with the mindset that I am going to love it and enjoy it and it was easy. I was not going to be scared about facing the media. I had decided let them ask me anything and I would answer. Everyone says, ‘Be very diplomatic’, but I started off by saying what I was feeling. That’s what I have been doing and somehow that has been connecting with people a lot.
One has also heard about the serious financial strain that the film put on you personally. Since you were playing a triple role (actor, producer and director), how did you handle it?
Tell me, in which business, is there no financial strain? It’s everywhere. Any business you take on and that’s part of your profession, whatever field you are in. It is just that one paper brought it out in a bad taste. I don’t know why they do such things. Khud ka accounts dekhenge, unko pata chalega unke bank mein hazaron crores ke karze padhe hue hain. Anyway...
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