Mahesh Bhatt on Jalebi, being a non-conformist filmmaker and returning to the director's chair with Sadak 2

Seema Sinha

October 16, 2018 17:37:28 IST

Mahesh Bhatt quit direction many years ago with Angaaray, Kartoos and Zakhm being some of his last few releases, and now with the sequel of Sadak, he returns to the directorial chair after almost two decades. Sadak 2 (scheduled to release in March 2020) was recently announced with a lead cast that includes Sanjay Dutt, Pooja Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur and Alia. Mahesh Bhatt, who in the last few years, was in a semi-retirement state from active filmmaking and has essentially been the mentalist behind their film production banner Vishesh Films. He had earlier said that he had fulfilled his urge to make movies and so he decided to create people. So what made him change his mind that he decided to wield the baton again?

Mahesh Bhatt. Image from Twitter/@PoojaB1972

Mahesh Bhatt. Image from Twitter/@PoojaB1972

“I guess I had inhaled enough of life, my lungs were bursting and I had to exhale with Sadak. I have a great appetite of celebrating magic. So far, I was sitting outside the war zone and instructing people with all my love and wisdom. But I wanted to get back at being hands-on in the field like a warrior facing the other warrior. It just happened to me. If there was a spring in me when I was 20, there is another spring in me which is autumn,” says Bhatt in his typical philosophical style. This will be the first time that Alia will be directed by her filmmaker father, who however is tight-lipped about the project.

Did he miss directing all these years? “No, I didn’t because I am not the person who believes in austerity; I am not in a denial. There was a time to step away and I stepped away also because the desire to make movies had withered in me,” says Bhatt, who was creatively involved with his recent production Jalebi with Rhea Chakraborty and debutant Varun Mitra in the lead. “Jalebi belongs to the stock of my earlier films like ArthSaraanshZakhm and Daddy. My signature of walking separately from the crowd began to change with every success. Even we succumbed to commercial pressures of the market. Then Pushpdeep (Bhardwaj, Jalebi director) came and said that he wants to make a film with the old Mahesh Bhatt,” he said.

The cast of Jalebi: The Everlasting Taste of Love along with producer Mahesh Bhatt. Twitter@VisheshFilms

The cast of Jalebi: The Everlasting Taste of Love along with producer Mahesh Bhatt. Twitter@VisheshFilms

Bhatt, who has always maintained that his views are "very subversive" and that he is a "non-conformist", calls Jalebi a brave film, "immaterial of its fate at the box office". “We refuse to conform to what people say will work or not work. We believe in showing you that this is the path to take. I did it with Arth and I will do it again and again. (In the 1982 release Arth, Shabana Azmi played the cheated wife and Smita Patil the emotionally fragile mistress with the husband's role enacted by Kulbhushan Kharbanda). When everybody said that you can’t have a climax like this where the girl turns her back to her husband and then to her lover and walks away, I had questioned, why can’t I do that? I had four flops and I will have the fifth one, so what? But Arth began my career, it gave me the second innings. So I think Jalebi belongs to that non-conformist space. All stories end with they lived happily ever after, whereas, Jalebi goes beyond happily ever after. What we do (as the production house) is not because it is different but we think that this is us. This is what we are and we can bring out. This is our colour and we stand by it,” said Bhatt, further adding, “In this conformist age where everybody is conforming to everything even before they are born, the herd mentality rules and market wants to follow what is called the herd mentality to play safe and yet 95 per cent of movies bomb."

Coming back to Sadak 2, when we ask him his thoughts on directing two power house of actors — Alia and Pooja, and what's the difference he sees in them, Bhatt once again goes philosophical, “There is sun rise in a desert and there's sun rise on top of a snowy peak, they both are sunrises. Even if you spend a lifetime describing the difference you will not succeed. I can’t define my children. It’s like trying to put oceans into a small well of concepts and ideas.”

Pooja Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur, Alia Bhatt, Sanjay Dutt and Mahesh Bhatt. Image via Twitter/@TaranAdarsh

Pooja Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur, Alia Bhatt, Sanjay Dutt and Mahesh Bhatt. Image via Twitter/@TaranAdarsh

While the Bhatts have some excellent originals to boast of, there have also been some rip-offs from Hollywood screwball comedies, and slick-chic erotic thrillers in the recent past. However, Jalebi is a clean romantic drama, and Bhatt immediately comes to his own defense saying, “We also had Aashiqui and Aashiqui 2, then we made Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin…I took a conscious route to make what is called erotic thrillers because that is the cinema young people wanted when old foggies were giving family dramas. I made movies that created an Emran Hashmi, a Bipasha Basu that entertained people and that also made us cash rich. Sin can be profitable (laughs). Where would the churches, temples and mosques be if there were no sinners? Where would the cops, judges and even the media be if there were no sinners? Long live sin.”

Updated Date: Oct 16, 2018 17:37 PM