By Subhash K. Jha, Bollywood Hungama News Network
Sanjay Dutt, who celebrates his birthday today, is all set to play a gangster one more time. It's meant to be the ultimate comprehensive look-see at Mumbai's underworld. And who better equipped to star in it than Sanjay Dutt who has acted in more films on the underworld than Ram Gopal Varma has directed?
The whole world knows Balaji's Ekta Kapoor and Popcorn Entertainment's Suniel Shetty dote on Sanjay Dutt. To no one's surprise he had been signed by the two mega-producers for one more joint venture. This time it's another gangster flick entitled Once Upon A Time In Mumbai that will take Dutt and his director Milan Luthria through a whole decade of gangsterism in the 1980s.
Revealing details, producer Suniel Shetty says, "Initially we wanted to focus on one aspect of crime and smuggling in the 1980s. Now we're taking into account the whole era and ethos leading up to terrorism and international terrorism in current times."
Sanjay Dutt has played the gangster in 15-20 films including funny ones in David Dhawan's Hum Kissise Kum Nahin and Raju Hirani's Munnabhai.
So why one more? Explains Suniel, "Because Baba really suits the role. And both Ekta and I want him to be a part of the film. Basically, we'd like Baba to do as many films for us as possible. He's in our film Gen Next also. This is the one where the winners of Ekta's reality show Kaun Jeetega Bollywood Ka Ticket will co-star with Baba."
Earlier the plan was to only feature one female and male winner in the film with Dutt. But now Suniel feels the doors should be open to more talent. "Baba feels there can never be too much fresh talent. And Ekta's show goes on for five years. So there will be a lot more fresh talent coming out of the show and into Balaji and Popcorn films."
Suniel has vowed never to act in films which he produces. "It becomes too messy. There's too much looking over the shoulder. Too much anxiety about what's happening behind the scenes."
For now Mission Istaanbul would be the last of Suniel's productions where he plays part. "But it's only a bit role. I've made sure I'm not featured in the publicity. Right now I'm busy as an actor in other people's production."
Suniel is shooting for his first intense love story since Dharmesh Darshan's Dhadkan. "It's a really mature love story directed by Kabir Sadanand called Tum Milo To Sahi and I'm cast opposite Vidya Malvade. In fact as an actor I've two releases coming up in two weeks. After Mission Istaanbul there's Mukbiir on August 1. Both very different films from one another. I don't know why they're being compared."