How did the genesis of Zila Ghaziabad take place?
I was at a friend's place in Ghaziabad and from his terrace, I could see this railway station with the name 'Ghaziabad' written quite bold and clear. I could sense certain weight in this single word. I instantly called up my people in Mumbai and registered this title. It was four years back and that time I didn't even have a script with me. I met writer Vinay Sharma and our journey began from there. Basically, my whole thought was to bring something mega on screen. See, if you look at David, it has gone down the drain. If you see these simple films with characters showing facing their problems and all, no one is really interested.
I believe Sanjay Dutt was quite interested in doing the film with him as a central protagonist here. It must have been some experience to have someone as senior as him on board, isn't it?
Yes, I always wanted to work with him. In my mind there was no Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan or someone else; it was always Dutt saab. I have seen his films since years. Of course with him coming in, the pressure was there but then he is a guy who totally surrenders himself. In fact, I remember Arshad (Warsi) telling me that Dutt saab is the most secured actor around. Unhe nahi farak padhta ki unke saamne kaun khada hai. When he comes in front of the camera, he is just so fantastic.
You definitely sound impressed.
For us in the unit, it was such an enjoyable experience to see him do it all in a single take. Moreover, he isn't someone who retires to a vanity van after every shot. Instead he would be there on the sets, have his smoke and be there amidst us all. He has over three decades of experience and that makes it easy for everyone.
There were rumours though that he was being a little difficult during the film's making.
See, when delays happen then kuch na kuch rumour toh udthe rehte hain. In fact, agar kuch khabar aati thi aur hum Dutt saab se poochte they ki kya hua toh he used to say that maine toh kuch kaha nahin. That was good enough for us. He was committed to the film and that's what that matters. There were others around him who complicated a lot of things for him and us which was fairly sad. When outsiders create a lot of mess then it is disheartening.
Meanwhile, you also have Arshad Warsi as the main villain. For him too, it was being said that he wanted his role to be increased.
Arshad is a very smart guy and he understands that screen time of any particular actor shouldn't spoil the show for film as a whole. For us too, it was important that the villain factor should come out well on screen. He didn't have any issues about any particular dialogue or the screen time. There was just this song which he had shot with Minissha that had to be chopped out. See, you can't expect people to digest that a villain is romancing his girl and breaking into a song. Sometimes, things look good on paper but on screen you don't get the right feel. We have used the song for promotional purpose though.
As a director, I don't even get to know that how much money is due for anyone or whether an actor would do the dubbing only after his cheque is ready. I would know only when the production calls me. My work is to get the work done in the given time. See, making a film is a huge money game. Fee of actors is huge. Moreover, Zila Ghaziabad has been made by a single producer and not a corporate. I am sure there would have been a lot of problems. You don't see independent producers investing 40 crores. The fact that the money is showing is a good feeling.
I am sure you must be also getting a good feeling due to the fact that from a humble beginning (Delhi Heights, Jugaad) you have managed to pull together this true blue multi starrer.
Absolutely. The time period when I had started making films, I was more inspired by the likes of Dil Chahta Hai. I used to think that it is realistic films that people want to see. I made two films and realized that there was very restricted audience for such cinema. I realized that somewhere I was wrong since people want to see larger than life films. Reason being that people are anyways going through their own issues and don't want to see the same old stuff on the big screen. They want to see things that they can't do themselves. They want to go to locations where they can't go. They want to see Salman bash up 20 guys.
Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more