What was going on in your mind when the CBFC suggested cuts in the film?
I tried my best to make them understand to give the film a U/A certificate, and I’m still doing that. People from everywhere are demanding a U/A certificate for the film but I don’t understand why the board is not issuing it. There could be a possibility of a special provision if something is good.
What was the first reaction of the CBFC?
I can’t describe their reaction in words, you can gauge that based on the cuts they have asked for. First, they sent it to the revising committee because they didn’t want to give a censor certificate to the film. They said that the revising committee will give the certificate. But now that everyone is saying that the film should be given a U/A certificate, why can’t the board revise it? I am requesting them to give the film a U/A certificate for the benefit of the film as well as for the teenagers and the public at large.
How did you manage to save your film from the numerous cuts?
I took a few steps intelligently. They said that I can’t quote Upanishads, but I can quote what is written so they were trapped. Words like Geeta and Yajurved got cut but the content did not. We had to redub a lot of things. They asked me to remove the reference to Ujjain and Madhya Pradesh. It was a nightmare for the VFX team but we managed to edit it all out in some 70-odd hours.
Your target audience is not able to watch the film. Is it disheartening?
There’s definitely an angst. But we have to follow the law of the land. I can oppose but cannot rebel. I am here to make films and not bring a revolution. There are other things in life as well.
I was sitting at home for about 10 years because no one was giving me work after ‘Road To Sangam’. After that, you make a film and then you’re told that you can’t show this film. What do I do?
Do they know what we go through after the script is rejected by multiple producers? Sony, Karan Johar, Ashutosh Gowariker and others had all rejected the script. Finally, Akshay Kumar showed the courage to back it. He was very open to the script and said that the film needs to be made. Because of him we’re still standing strong otherwise ‘OMG 2’ wouldn’t have got made. I met Ashwin Varde, Vipul D Shah, and Rajesh Bahl and through them, I reached Akshay Kumar. If I hadn’t managed to reach him, the script would have remained in some corner. Maybe my kids would have made airplanes from those papers or somebody would have eaten chana in it. After getting an actor and putting in more than Rs 50 crore to make the film, the CBFC says that we can’t show it.
What was your reaction when the executive committee said that the revising board will take a decision on ‘OMG 2’?
I told them at that time as well that I have not done or said anything titillating or offensive in ‘OMG 2’ and why aren’t they watching the film the way it has been made? They told me that I’ll have to go to the revising committee which will scrutinize the film and give a censor certificate.
Who was the first person to call you from the industry after watching the film?
Rakesh Roshan called me and said that he watched ‘OMG 2’ at his Khandala bungalow and he liked it. After a long time, I watched a film that touched me, he said. Director Ali Abbas Zafar also called me.
How did this subject come to life?
My child hacked my Gmail account. I got scared and told my wife that when both of us will be out for work, he will watch anything on YouTube. Before I could make him understand what love and sex is, the internet would have taught him about it, and maybe the wrong way.
Do you think sex education should be mandatory in schools?
100 percent. There’s no other way. Changes that would take decades to happen earlier are now happening in a few days because of the internet. You can tell your child to not eat noodles at home, but there are many noodle stalls and shops on every corner of the city.
Anything that you wish you could change in the film?
I feel when it comes to depicting Chandu’s home, it is not clear that it is a Dalit’s house. It got cut because of the film’s length. A Brahmin having walked into a Dalit’s house or Lord Shiva arriving in a Dalit’s house could have been underlined better.
What kind of involvement did Akshay have in making ‘OMG 2’?
Akshay Kumar would ask a lot of questions like a child because he was enthusiastic to play the role of Lord Shiva and he gave a lot of inputs too. In fact, the song Har Har Mahadev was brought by him.
Were any changes made to his look?
It was the same since the beginning because Lord Shiva is like that. There was a tattoo on his hand which in the end didn’t look good so we removed it.
Now that you have got recognition, how do you see the journey ahead?
My view of life is very simple. I want to make films, play with my children, and do work that I like. I was never a part of the rat race and nor do I wish to be part of it. Every film brings its own challenges and struggles. I don’t think of easy work. People raised questions when I wanted to make ‘Road To Sangam’, but I managed to make that film in 3-4 crores. The same thing happened with ‘OMG 2’.
What are you working on next?
There’s one story that is even bigger than ‘OMG 2’. You shall know about it when it comes out. There’s a debt that all of us have to pay to a historical personality. We haven’t given him his due and I plan to showcase the same in my next.