Sajid Nadiadwala, who is the only big time individual producer who is constantly producing film after film and emerging a winner too at the box office in a big way, whether it is Kick, Baaghi or Housefull 3
What do you think when you look back at your illustrious career which has stretched for over 30 years?
Though I feel very elated and proud, I would also say at the same time that I have survived more by way of luck than talent. Otherwise how would you explain why my debut film clicked in a big way and fetched over 200 cr at the box office though I have never ever assisted any filmmaker all my life.
Why do you say that you have survived more because of luck than talent?
That is because I am really confused whether my films click especially in the case of my film Kick because either talent runs in me or purely because of favorable time. It is only now that films have started running because of talent. Earlier it was only luck which played a vital role in a film’s success.
In what way do you think corporatisation has changed the face of Hindi Cinema over the years?
Frankly speaking, I should confess that today there is more discipline only because of the advent of the corporates in the film industry. There is better coordination and superb synergy and streamlining as far as film making is concerned today. Earlier when I was making films like Ghulami, Judwa, Jeet or for that matter Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, everything was on zubaan and nothing was on paper. Now everything moves as per agreement on paper. Actors also are too professional today, though Dharmendra used to saunter in at leisure and shoot for Ghulami which I completed in a span of seven years. And it was supposed to be a quickie in its time.Do you know there were no continuity sheets and we had a tough time matching the color of his shirts when we used to shoot with him after a gap of a year because he was so busy and his dates were not available as and when I needed them. Today Varun is so “unprofessional” that he reports for the shooting half an hour before even I as a producer am able to reach the sets and we complete a film in a period of just two to three months. It was a pleasure to work with such an “unprofessional” actor.
What exactly is your next film after Housefull 3 – Dishoom all about?
Dishoom is an out and out action adventure film starring John Abraham and Varun Dhawan with Jacqueline Fernandez. Right now, we do not want to open all our cards and maintain a little amount of secrecy so that the curiosity level is there as far as the film is concerned. There is a lot of logic in the film besides entertainment and also a lot of twists and turns to keep the audiences spellbound. Nothing is taken for granted. All that I can reveal right now is that it is about a manhunt of 36 hours for a top Indian cricketer. Akshaye Khanna plays an out and out villain in the film for the first time while Varun Dhawan plays the role of a rookie cop.
How did you convince a reluctant Akshaye Khanna to stage his comeback after a gap of three years?
The entire credit for convincing Akshaye Khanna to agree to play the villain in the film ought to go to Rohit Dhawan who is the director of the film and not me, because he was bent upon getting Akshaye Khanna back as an actor and would have perhaps gone to Akshaye’s house in town 200 times and convinced him though he was very reluctant to stage his comeback.
You had written the Marathi film Lai Bhaari. Why did you not think of making Lai Bhaari in Hindi?
Actually I wrote Lai Bhaari when I was shooting for Judwa with David Dhawan as the director. I just could not make it in Hindi in the 90’s with Salman Khan in the double role that Riteish Deshmukh had essayed in the Marathi version, because I thought the subject had become dated and I could not take the risk of making it in Hindi though Riteish was ready to take a risk because of the budget of the Marathi film. I only wrote the story and the scenario and did not work on the screenplay. I know Marathi films have become bigger and better when compared to the time when Riteish asked for the rights for the subject from me and made his debut film Lai Bhaari in Marathi. I should know because I had problems in getting screens
when I released Baaghi as Sairaat was going strong. I had to face problems once again when I released my next film Housefull 3 because there are theatres in Maharashtra, especially Mumbai and Pune where Sairaat is still running.
As many as six writers took you to court for lifting their story before Housefull 3 was released!
It is true that six writers from various parts of the country took me to court for infringing on their copyrights by claiming that we had copied their story but all of us had a big laugh when the critics wrote in their reviews that Housefull 3 did not have a story.
In what way do you think Hindi filmmakers are facing problems from Hollywood too?
As Hollywood is even hiring people like Gulzar and Vishal Bharadwaj to write for the Hindi dubbed versions of their films like The Jungle Book, Hollywood is posing to be a big threat for Hindi film makers and have even entered places like Amravati and Bhopal in a big way. Hollywood is also getting actors like Varun Dhawan to dub for their films like Captain America: Civil War. We also face threats from Bhojpuri films as well as Marathi films like Sairaat today. Sairaat has done a business of 85 cr while Baaghi has lagged behind.
What do you think we lack in India?
We lack cinema houses to screen the films that we set out to make. We are fighting with the government for theatres because while in China every week 14 theatres are being made, in India we do not even make 14 new theatres every year
Why are you not as prolific as a director?
It is easy to produce films but very tough to direct a film. I directed Kick as Salman gave me a push
Which are your own five best films?
Jeet, Judwa, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, the Housefull series and above all my favorite director’s Kick
What next, after Dishoom?
After Dishoom, I plan to come up with Rangoon, Judwa 2, Housefull 4, Baaghi 2 and Kick 2, which I will direct.
Interview by : Jyothi Venkatesh