After leaving the world of acting years ago, what made you foray into film production now?
I forayed into film production as early as 1962 along with my brother and mother. Together we started a project called Palko Ki Chaon Main. But unfortunately after completing a few reels, we had to shelve that project due to date problems. It was not possible for me to keep running behind actors for their dates.
I had ventured into production because I was free at that time. Junglee was released in 1962 and it had taken just a few months to make. However, I have now ventured into it again because this is what I always wanted to do.
Tell me something about your first Bhojpuri production venture Ab Ta Banja Sajanwa Hamaar?
Ab To Banja Sajanwa Hamar is a family drama and stars Ravi Kishen, Nagma, Mona Thiba and Tej Sapru. The film has been made on a budget of Rs 14 million and is shot in and around Rajpipla, Aarey Milk Colony and National Park in Mumbai.
I want to release the film on 27 October. The film has been ready since long but the release got delayed due to the monsoon in Mumbai and Bihar, the elections in Bihar and Ramzaan.
What attracted you towards Bhojpuri cinema?
Why not Bhojpuri? It has a very earthy flavour and it is a very beautiful language.
I had my first encounter with Bhojpuri films in 1976 with Bairaag. After that I saw Ganga Jamuna and its screenplay had left a lasting impact on my mind.
At that time Mehboob Khan and Bimal Roy had questioned Dilip Kumar about entering into Bhojpuri films. They had said that people wouldn’t understand the language. But Ganga Jamuna became so popular that every person understood the film.
Would you also want to direct films now?
I would love to but I cannot direct films. One needs to have the right kind of family support if they want to act or direct films.
In production, I involve myself creatively with the screenplay and other aspects of filmmaking. So for this I make myself available as per my schedule. Moreover production is easy because I have been a part of the show business and have seen production work being done. After school, films are all that I have known.
But nonetheless if I were given a chance, I would love to direct a film that is romantic and emotional in Hindi or Bhojpuri. I wouldn’t mind directing or producing a comedy film in Marathi.
What kind of films would you want to produce film in future?
I will definitely want to produce another Bhojpuri film in the future. I also have a few Hindi scripts. But prior to all this I have to establish my credibility as a producer. After which, I would like to do one film with Dilip Kumar. Maybe I will lure him back into doing a role in Baba Jaan and Satya Master. which has been written by him.
What do you think of remake of films?
I am not for remakes and remixes at all. When my company Sharp Focus was interviewing Sanjay Leela Bhansali for a channel, he had informed that he would want to remake Devdas. I had told him not to do it. When I saw the film on TV, it had grandeur and great production values but no soul. I would still like to see the old Devdas and not just because Dilipji is there in it.
There is a film called Pukar where my mother played Noor Jahan. Kamaal Amrohi and Gulzarji wanted to remake it with me and Dilip sahab. But after we sat down with them for many meetings we begged them to excuse us. We don’t believe in remakes.
How can you ever replace that artist again? If Mugal-E-Azam was remade again it would be futile.