Ameesha Patel and Sunny Deol in Gadar 2
In the past, you have said that no film is as romantic as Gadar: Ek Prem Katha. Today, 22 years later, when you are all set to release Gadar 2, do you still believe that?
Absolutely! I don’t think there has been any film which is as romantic and has touched families and youngsters in a way that film did. People made Gadarwhat it is. It has got so much love all these years, and when it was released in theatres again recently, I saw how happy people were. It seemed like they were watching a new film. It gave me a boost.
Gadar: Ek Prem Katha was a love story with the underlying theme of patriotism. In an interview earlier, you said that we shouldn’t be giving films tags like ‘patriotic’ etc. How would you describe Gadar 2?
I don’t know why we need to tag films. Jo film dekhte hai, woh tag ke liye nahin dekhte hai, they get absorbed into the world of the film. People didn’t go to see Gadar because of the action. In fact, the action was not of that calibre, and we didn’t have special effects back then. The action was driven by pure emotion, where a person is protecting his family and fighting for a cause. Tara Singh (the character played by Sunny) has emotional strength; it is not just about physical strength. For Gadar 2, we had to come up with a subject around that period, so there is little change to the ambience. The audience believed in those characters (in the first film) and with Gadar 2, they will be reliving it all over again.
Stills from Ghayal and Border
You are the OG action hero, and your kind of action has always been more raw and real. Today, the action we see in our movies is far more stylised, and many say it is of international standards. How do you view it?
In our time, we didn’t have all these gadgets and VFX. We would fall and get hurt. I have suffered multiple injuries and gone through back surgeries. Today, we are copying everyone, we are not creating our own action. Earlier, we would ourselves be involved in our action scenes, and be a part of creating the action scene. The action today has become too gimmicky, yes, it might look good on screen, but earlier there was a certain beauty to it, which has been destroyed. I have nothing against what people are doing, and if the audience is connecting with it, maybe the action is working fine.
Do you ever feel unnerved by the current uncertainty that everyone is talking about – that no one from the movie business can figure out what is really working at the box office?
I have never felt unnerved by box-office numbers as I believe that there is so much to do. There are many ways of portraying stories, but every Friday, we change our vision, and we say that, ‘Yeh nahin chal raha hai, toh aisa karo’. But this has been happening forever, it’s not new. Yeh jo hum uspe baith ke thesis karne lagte hai, we don’t need to. We need to believe in our stories and tell them to our audience.
Gadar: Ek Prem Katha had clashed with Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, and there are many big box office clashes this year. Even Gadar 2 is clashing with another film on a Friday. What do you feel about that?
Gadar did 100 crore plus, while Lagaan did much lesser. I don’t understand why people compare – whether it’s from the business or likeability point. Gadar didn’t have the perception, people thought it is this masala film, yehpurani type ki picture hai, purane type ke gaane hai. On the other hand, people thought Lagaan was classic, etc. The so-called people who talk about films had run down Gadar completely. It went on to become a people’s film, and they loved it. At award shows, I remember that they made a spoof of Gadar, but we weren’t bothered by it. It has happened with some of my other films too, like Ghayal and Dil, which clashed. There is no comparison, but people like to do it. What I am trying to say is that jo film zyada acchi hoti hai phir bhi aap usko doosre films ke barabari mein le aatey ho. Jis cheez ki barabari nahin hai, mat karo.
How attached do you get to your success or failure?
Everyone likes success, obviously. I get flustered at times, not because of the failures, but because the perception game is so big that good content/cinema often doesn’t get the credit it merits. What is not as good, uska dhanda accha ho jaata hai because of perception. The world is moving at such a fast pace right now that everything is a fashion – how you talk, what you eat, what you watch. Mostly people don’t have their own taste, as they are following the rest. I feel what has gone wrong in our country is that we are all just following trends like – we should eat this, follow this diet, that routine, khane mein yeh add karo, woh mat karo. Today, everyone’s make-up and clothes are so similar that they all look similar. So rather than indulging in the emotion, our movies want to reflect that and maybe the audience wants it to be that way. I guess that is the way it is.
Sunny Deol with son Karan
Three generations of actors at home, what are the conversations like? Is your son Karan’s taste in cinema different from yours?
In our family, we are all like reflections of each other. I don’t know how my kids are going to handle today’s world out there (laughs!), but they will have to. How they will do it, I have no idea. I never knew much when I joined the industry, so I would be shocked by things, because at home it was a different reality. But eventually, you start seeing the world, understanding reality and adapting to it.