Director Of The Month – SANJAY GUPTA

Exhibit : Hello Sanjay, you’ve been in Bollywood since more than two decades now. Do you think you have reached your satisfaction level? SANJAY: I haven’t reached the satisfaction level yet, it’s a long way to go. Being a filmmaker, a story-teller, writer, you have to be constantly evolving, constantly honing your talent, constantly involving new things and putting in your work. So, satisfaction is a long, long way off. I think I will never be satisfied with my work.

Exhibit : There was a gap of seven years between Zinda (2006) and Shootout at Wadala (2013). A ny reason why? SG : There as a gap because I had expanded my company’s portfolio and we concentrated more on post-production, into equipment, as well as multiple production. I was the 1st, independent producer to start multiple films and the 1st independent producer to make 5 big films together like Dus Kahaniyaan, Shootout at Lokhandwala and others. So, I had worn more over just a producer’s hat. In that gap, I had released almost 7-8 films and then I decided to go back to directing full time, but I was also producing simultaneously. So that way, I went back to Shootout at Wadala, then Jazbaa, and now Kaabil.Exhibit : Do you think your movies have become stereotypes? Do you have any plans to change your genre of movies? SG : Personally, I don’t think any of my films are stereotypes; be it Kaante, Musafir, Zinda, Shootout at Wadala, Jazbaa or Kaabil because you can’t categorize movies like them into one group. They are not stereotypical at all!

What has kept me going, I guess, is my hunger to work harder every time, and to out-do myself with every film.

Exhibit : You have worked extensively with Mr Sanjay Dutt. Never thought of doing the same with the Khans or some other actors? SG : That was a long time ago. And no, not really. I’m done with sticking to one actor for all my films. I would rather work with descent people, get good experiences and work with more people.Exhibit : Many directors who started working at the same time as you are no longer making films. What has kept you going? SG : What has kept me going, I guess, is my hunger to work harder every time, to out-do myself with every film. Like I mentioned in the beginning, I’m never satisfied with my work. I always feel and know that I can do better. Although I give my best to everything at the time of doing it, I always feel I could have done more.Exhibit : How has the Bollywood changed since the time you joined it? What role has technology played in the same? SG : The mind-set has changed in the industry. It is a lot more professional now and a lot more people are involved with the process; be it writing or other technical things. And even when it comes to actors. Earlier you had an actor doing multiple films but now most of the actors are doing just a film at one time, giving it all and then moving it for next which is always the case in Hollywood. Secondly, as far as technology is concerned, it’s not really helping to tell better stories.It’s just telling the same stories in a better way, but not helping to tell better stories. The films are looking better today, the quality of sound, the quality of picture, the quality of projection is much bigger and better than they were 5 years ago. That’s a constant growth when it comes to technology.


  1. Your personal favourite among your own movies: Zinda
  2. Inspiration: Life inspires me that includes everything a picture, a painting, music or any kind of memory.
  3. Books you read again and again: I generally don’t re-read a book, but I always wanted to go back to The Fountain Head by Ayn Rand
  4. Cars your drive: Audi Q7 and Isuzu d-Max pickup truck
  5. Gadgets you use: Treadmill

Exhibit : Given a chance to create your own gadget to help you professionally, what would it be and why? SG : I would create an ultimate and a great VR set. It would encompasses all kinds of visuals, which can give the feel of a movie scene being wrapped around my face and can give me the whole Dolby Atmos sound coming through the two speakers. It would be like a helmet which would have speakers all over on the inside to create an atmosphere around my head and have an I-max screen in front of me.Exhibit : A mong the newbies, whose work do you really like? SG : I really like all of them because each of them brings their own individual personality to the work. All of them are good as they are well committed and they love taking risks, which is wonderful. I don’t have one particular favourite, to be honest.Exhibit : Have you ever dreamt of working in Hollywood? SG : Well, I would be lying if I say no. Which director does not want to work with Hollywood and make films in English? The simple reason for regional directors wishing to make Hindi films is to reach PAN India audience, likewise if you work with a Hollywood actor, you are reaching the world-wide audience. So, the question is not what kind of actors you work with, really, as we have got fantastic actors here, too, but to reach wider audiences. I would rather take an Indian actor go all over filming in and across the world.Exhibit : Jazbaa was critically well-received. However, it didn’t please the box office. What do you think didn’t fall into place? SGI think it was not correctly promoted and marketed. It could have been advertised and promoted in a better way. We were not really focussed on our target audience and the music was not communicated effectively, so that is something thatdid give us a bit of a hit. Although, we did hear a lot of critical trail, but the good part is nobody lost any money. At the end of the day, all partners made money in the film, not as much as it was expected to make, but we did. As long as my film is not in loss, I am happy.Exhibit : What future project are you most excite about? SG : Well, right now, I am busy shooting Kaabil. It’s one of my most ambitious films till date. It’s with Hritikh Roshan, and I am directing it and not producing it. So, after a long time I am just wearing a director’s hat, and it’s produced by Mr. Rakesh Roshan. It is definitely the most challenging script that I have ever taken on, and putting that across effectively, on screen is going to be a big, big challenge and a lot of fun, as well.



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