‘We Had The Choice To Go With Some Other Actress For ‘Munna Badnaam’
Q. When you started off with ‘Dabangg’, was there ever a thought that you could turn this into a franchise?
A. The last scene of ‘Dabangg’ which we shot, hinted that we might come up with a next one. Arbaaz Khan at that point of time, asked if we were looking a little pompous about that film and even planning a sequel. I told him if it works then well and good and if not, there’s nothing we could do. But, everyone liked the film so, we did ‘Dabangg 2’ which was also quite appreciated.
Q. How did you zero in on Warina Hussain for ‘Munna Badnaam’?
A. We cast her for the song because she did ‘LoveYatri’ with Aayush (Sharma). After that, we had the choice to go with some other actress. But since, we had worked with her and she was good in that film, we thought she will do wonders with the song.
Q. How challenging is it to take a franchise forward?
A. It’s very difficult. But ‘Dabangg’ has fallen in place. Even the fourth one has fallen in place. This happens only for films like ‘Rocky’ series.
‘I Couldn’t Relate To Chulbul From His Younger Days’
Q. Along with producing ‘Dabangg 3’, you have also written the film…
A. I came up with the thought and Arbaaz and me just kept on improvising on it. Then, we decided to explore Chulbul’s past and that’s how the prequel was built up. The thought was to begin the film with an idea and then, go back to how my character became Chulbul Panday and then, his past meets his present and how Chulbul has to deal with that.
Q. Since ‘Dabangg 3’ is a prequel, could you relate to some of the characteristics of Chulbul Panday with how you were in your younger days?
A. ‘Dabangg 3’ is a semi-prequel (laughs). I couldn’t relate to him at all. Chulbul was a simple boy.
Q. Your throwback picture with Saiee Manjrekar went viral on the internet. From meeting her as a kid to now, she being your heroine in the film, do you think she has done justice to the role?
A. She has done a wonderful job. I will be shocked if this industry doesn’t get a big star after ‘Dabangg 3’.
‘Heroism Doesn’t Mean Romancing Girls’
Q. You are considered to be a pro when it comes to high-octane action movies, which end up as blockbusters. But you still don’t let that get to your head. After so many years of success and achieving so much, how do you ensure that success doesn’t go to your head because you put in the same effort in every movie?
A. When I used to watch films, I used to come out of theatre in awe of the hero and think about becoming one. That’s the same funda which I am using now. I don’t think anything works better than heroism. Heroism doesn’t mean romancing girls. It means doing something for someone whether small or big, against all odds and you mean that happen. So when we talk about action, it makes no sense till the time you don’t have the emotion backing it.
Q. Who coined the name ‘Chulbul Pandey’ for your character in the film?
A. Actually, Arbaaz bought ‘Dabangg’ to me. Originally, it was a very dark film, small film to be made under Rs 2 crore. At that point of time, it was supposed to star Randeep Hooda and Arbaaz. So Arbaaz said he has been approached for this and it’s a good one, so just hear it. Then six-eight months passed before I finally heard it. I think UTV was supposed to do it. I liked the feel of the film but Chulbul was out and out negative. That film didn’t have any action, certainly not at this scale. There were no songs and we never get to know who killed the mother. We started working on it and Abhinav (Kashyap, director) agreed to all those changes. He did a very good job with the first one. We also asked him to do the second one but for whatever reasons he said he didn’t want to do it, that we didn’t let him make his film.”
Q. Would you ever consider playing an antagonist in a film?
A. (pauses) It depends.
Q. Your film ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ completes 30 years on December 29. What’s the feeling like?
A. It feels like the day before yesterday, I was looking for work and signed ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’. It released yesterday and today, I am at this position here. So, these 30 years of Maine Pyaar Kiya goes from day before yesterday, yesterday and today. That’s how quick this journey has been.
‘Preity Zinta Is Superb And Has Good Energy’
Q. What kind of freshness has Prabhu Deva brought to this film?
A. He has a lot of contribution in the film. He brought in a different kind of heroism from the South. He understands the genre of heroism and how one should to bring in romance, humour, emotions. He makes you dance in the songs too.
Q. Recently in an interview, you spoke about a crossover between Chulbul, Radhe and Devil…
A. Aise hi maine bola diya. Don’t take me seriously on these things. That was a thought we had.
Q. On that thought, since we have so many cop dramas happening, will there be scope for all cops coming together, considering the audience easily accepts senior actors like you, Ajay Devgn and others in the khaki uniform?
A. It took us time as well to fit into this uniform. I played a cop for the first time in ‘Patthar Ke Phool’. That film did pretty okay. Next one was ‘Auzaar’. The main journey started from ‘Veergati’. Before that, my character did romance, action, comedy and danced as well. ‘Veergati’ brought in some heroism and respect. Though the film flopped at the box office, it was liked by the audience.
Q. What made you think Saiee Manjrekar was the perfect choice for ‘Dabangg 3’?
A. We wrote the character and we had seen her. So, we knew she was the girl for the film. It was just an instinct. Like how, we had it with Sona (Sonakshi Sinha). The way she was in the film, before we signed her, she looked nothing like that. But, there was a faith and intuition on in her that she would be Rajjo.
Q. There were reports about Preity Zinta’s cameo in ‘Dabangg 3’ after she posted a picture in uniform with your character Chulbul Pandey on social media…
A. Preity Zinta wanted to do something for Halloween. She wanted to dress up as a cop. I was shooting some patchwork on the last day of ‘Dabangg 3’ when suddenly, I saw her in a cop uniform. I went back and changed into Chulbul’s outfit and clicked pictures with her. I love her and I do these things. She is superb and has good energy.