By Devansh Patel, Bollywood Hungama News Network
Some people age more quickly than others, Sanjay Gadhvi - both in person and in his work - displays a confidence and maturity. From Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai to Dhoom and Dhoom 2, Gadhvi has grown bigger and better with his bikes and babes. From a six pack Hrithik Roshan to a sexy pack Minissha Lamba, Gadhvi is going in for a complete U-turn with Kidnap. Not just an action packed entertainer like his previous two, the director goes for a more gripping relationship drama revolving around a kidnapper in his fifth attempt. In this exclusive one and a half hour meeting with Sanjay Gadhvi, Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent Devansh Patel finds out why Kidnap is more dearer to him than Dhoom and Dhoom 2, why he thinks that it was unusual for Sanjay Dutt to do Kidnap, why he believes that Kidnap had to wait for Imran Khan, why Minissha Lamba will make the guys sweat and will Kidnap 'dhoom machade'?
We all know that you wanted to cast Sanjay Dutt in Kidnap. But what made Sanjay Dutt say 'yes' to the film?
I think an actor like Sanjay Dutt would say yes to a film because the script excites him. I think any actor would do that; somewhere down the line, Sanju might have identified his personal life with the script because he has a teenage daughter who lives very far and he hasn't been able to maintain a relationship with her. There was a time when he was kept away from her. So, in Kidnap's story, he is divorced from his wife, has left India and is working out of New York and of course, he is the world's richest Indian who has a net worth of 51.7 billion dollars. But everyday he just misses his daughter and he really longs for her and at one point he comes to know that she is kidnapped. I guess the script suited Sanju as much as Sanju suited the script.
Tell us something about the promo where you've shown all of Sanjay Dutt's wealth. We hear that Sanjay Dutt used his own personal belongings?
All the watches shown for one second in the promo are all Sanjay Dutt's personal watches. We had two guys guarding it right through the shoot and they are really expensive. I won't go into the prices because they might just attract attention from the revenue department. I just told Sanju that I needed some mind blowing watches and he said, 'Bro, take mine'. Sanjay Dutt is a guy with a big heart and he doesn't think twice.
We've always seen Sanjay Dutt giving his best when given Vaastav, Shabd, Zinda, Musafir where he has played tough roles. What's in store for him in Kidnap?
It's very unusual for Sanjay Dutt to do this kind of a film. 'Unusual' now is a word which has become synonymous for me with Kidnap because it's got all the trappings of a regular Indian film but in terms of the relationships, the circumstances which change or do not change for all four - the father, mother, kidnapper and the daughter - is something to watch out for. I don't think we have had such a situation in a regular commercial film of the popular kind. If Hollywood were to make this film fifteen years ago, Harrison Ford would have played the role of Sanjay Dutt. I see it as an international film. I told Sanju before he started work on Kidnap, 'Baba, you've got a huge body of work behind you and have been around for thirty years nearly but with all due respect your claim to fame is Vaastav and Munnabhai. Both are 'bhai's'. One is a serious and the other is a funny guy. Kidnap is going to be different because you're playing the world's richest Indian who comes 10,000 miles to save his daughter whom he hasn't met since 8 years because she is kidnapped.' That was it to convince baba for Kidnap. An actor always likes to do things which he hasn't done before and Sanju baba will be seen doing exactly that.
The way you're making films soon might see you as the richest Indian director. What say?
I don't care too much about the money part of it. That's why I've not turned a producer. So, I am not after the 300-400 crores. Let the producers take care of it.
Your last three films were a Yash Raj produced films. Why go somewhere else for Kidnap?
Because I didn't want to turn producer. This is what happens when a director finishes a three year contract with Yash Raj. Yash Raj wants to strengthen the relationship and take it forward in which the director then turns producer. So it becomes a 'Yash Raj Films presents' and 'produced and directed by Sanjay Gadhvi'. So the entire finance is by Yash Raj and they are partners in the profits. That's what I assume. The only way I could be making films with Yash Raj would be as a director. Yash Raj and Adi have made me a brand what I am today. I didn't want to play safe this time. I wanted to go on the wild side. It's boring to be going to five star hotels always. Sometimes you want to go to the desi dhaba also.
How did you manage to rope in Shree Ashtavinayak for Kidnap?
We had a lot of options in front of us. There were lots of actors they had access to and I was working on four or five films simultaneously with different writers, of which I had made Ashtavinayak aware of that fact that Kidnap would be available to them. Kidnap was supposed to be the second film at Yash Raj directed by Sanjay Gadhvi. 7th June 2002, Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai released. It was a success. By September the same year we had locked the idea of Kidnap and Shibani Bhatija the script writer was on board. We were working on the script till April 2003. It was now ready. The main role of Vikrant Raina was written down and there was only one person who could do it - Sanjay Dutt. It's a very wrong strategic move on the part of a writer or the director to write a script that's so difficult to cast. I'd advice youngsters to write a script which have multiple choices. Kidnap is a script that if Sanjay Dutt had said a 'No' to, we would have not been able to make it. So in 2003 when Baba was approached, he wasn't able to give dates in which Yash Raj wanted it. He said that he'd only be able to give dates in December 2004, nearly a year and a half after the time when he was approached. I couldn't wait for that long and I made Adi Chopra aware of it. So we worked on other ideas and Dhoom happened. After its success, Adi called up to let me know that he had got thousands of emails saying that a sequel of Dhoom should be made. He then called me up to ask me what next. I said that I wanted to make Kidnap because it's a meatier script. But he was determined on making Dhoom 2. He told me that Kidnap will only remain my baby, it was yours to take and yours to make. Adi and I were clear from day one that I will only be doing three films and not turn producer. Before Dhoom 2 released, I had already signed Ashtavinayak for Kidnap. The fact that he gave me Kidnap with the title and the script shows that we are in great equation. Till today, I go once a month to Yash Raj's studio to meet them and eat in the cafeteria.
Is Sanjay Gadhvi lucky to have Imran Khan after the actor's phenomenal success in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na?
It's a bonus. A big big bonus. When I casted Imran for Kidnap, I had no clue that he was doing a film called Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na. When I met him, in three seconds I decided that he is my Kabir for Kidnap. We had cast Sanju already. The search was on for a kidnapper now. I was clear about the fact that I didn't want a slightly older looking actor like John or Abhishek. Then it would have been like a man versus man thing. I wanted it to be boy versus man. There aren't many young boys in the industry. Shahid is the only young boyish looking but then again the screen age would come into play. Shibani mentioned to me that Aamir Khan's nephew is looking to be an actor. So my producers called him over to the office and Imran was kicked about it because he knew that Sanjay from Dhoom and Dhoom 2 had called him. I walked into the cabin and he has this habit of removing his shoes and sitting cross legged on the sofa. The next thing was that he was doing Kidnap. I did a test shoot and only then I came to know that he was shooting with Abbas Tyrewala's debut film, the same Abbas who had written lyrics for my debut film Tere Liye. Kidnap is and will remain Sanjay Dutt vehicle but Imran now makes it that added bonus after Jaane Tu's success.
So what type of a kidnapper is Kabir? I mean, has it got that Sanjay Gadhvi's disguise look?
You're right. I could not get into the disguise look as I had already donned it in Dhoom 2. So this guy Kabir does not give a damn about his face being seen. He is not a terrorist, nor does he have a kaajal in his eyes. You have to see Kabir to like him or should I say, hate him!
Is Kidnap a thriller genre then?
No. It is a film about relationships. I have to make a transition from the Dhoom genre to other kind of films because I stand the risk of getting stamped as a guy who can make only fast paced action entertainers. Dhoom and Dhoom 2 were like Bad Boys, Rush Hour, Lethal Weapon or Die Hard series as all these films had action, comedy and were entertaining. The films I make are packaged entertainers. As a director what satisfies me is a high voltage drama. Kidnap is a sharp selection of the script on my part. It's got the Sanjay Gadhvi flavour in the beginning only to keep reminding my audiences that Kidnap is still a film from the maker of Dhoom and Dhoom 2. There is action in Kidnap but not like my earlier films. Kidnap is an intense film.
We've seen a lot of six pack abs from Hrithik in Dhoom 2, then comes SRK with his six pack in Om Shanti Om but let's talk about the new abs in the business - Minissha Lamba abs.
(laughs) Minissha Lamba abs man! Wow! She is going to be the surprising factor of Kidnap. She is going to knock the seats out of some other guys all over the world. She is hot in the film. In fact, the post production guys in the lab who were processing and developing the fresh cans of film and transferring it on to the video were shocked. Someone from the camera department goes and says, 'Who's this chick?' So the other guy casually says, 'It's Minissha Lamba'. She worked out so much for Kidnap that the Yash Raj camp was unhappy as they wanted her to put on some weight for Bachna Ae Haseeno.
Was it important to have songs in Kidnap? Bollywood film without songs cannot be made huh?
I am the kind of filmmaker who has no problem with songs. I don't think if there are songs in the film, the film becomes anything less. I don't think that if your film doesn't have a song it becomes more watchable or it will be taken more seriously. Songs are a part of Hindi films. There was an era when they were used as cinematic devices by the greats like Raj Kapoor, Raj Khosla, Manoj Kumar and Vijay Anand. These are the names which come immediately to my mind, especially Vijay Anand. He took the song picturisation and the weaving of the song into the story to a different level. There is Hema Malini walking ahead and Dev Anand behind her and the cops behind them in Johnny Mera Naam. That was song picturisation then. You'll have to see what I've done in Kidnap. You'll be surprised.
Are you superstitious?
Not really. But to some extent I am because I am a nice old Gujarati boy with Gujarati parents. I've been brought up by very liberal parents. So you pray where you think God is kind of a thing. Like in Navratri there is a little puja of the mataji, etc and along with that there is a little bit of awareness about superstition, horoscope, astrology, etc.
Will there be any Gujarati boy who will in the near future make an action packed film like you?
(laughs) I don't know yaar! It's unfair to make a sweeping statement that no one else will be able to do it. But there won't be any Gujarati's making Dhoom's again (laughs). Those days are gone when Gujarati's used to be just the business community. The new generation Gujarati is a very international individual. I won't be shocked to see a Gujarati become the President of the United States of America one day. Anything is possible today.
Will Kidnap 'Dhoom Machale'?
See, this phrase 'dhoom machale' is so dangerous that I can only hope for the best. As a filmmaker I have changed tracks now and I have made a film that I believed in ever since 2002. Every film has its own naseeb and Kidnap I think had to wait for Imran Khan. That's why we couldn't make this film in 2003. It had to wait for Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na to be released. My plans were to release Kidnap in December 2007. Maybe it had to wait for Sanjay Dutt too. So, Kidnap is worth the wait and these are the things which also make me believe in fate and astrology.
So tell me something about Kidnap which you haven't revealed to anyone.
(laughs) Ok. The packaging of Kidnap is a novelty. The emotions and the relationships in Kidnap are cliched and old like what we've seen in films before but the approach is a very modern day types. I hope the film is appreciated in places like the U.K and the U.S. by Indians and non Indians because of the packaging. You'll be surprised to know that the film is about six days. 25th of December is the day when Minissha gets kidnapped. The climax is on 31st December, on New Years eve. So it's about these six days that the richest man in the world is trying to save his daughter