'My wife was in tears after watching SAARE JAHAAN SE MEHNGA'
Be it classic satirical TV sitcom 'Office Office' or laugh riots like GOLMAAL series, SON OF SARDAAR, ATITHI TUM KAB JAOGE?, etc, actor Sanjay Mishra, has been enthralling us for years with his quirky comic characters. Now Sanjay is gearing up for his upcoming film SAARE JAHAAN SE MEHNGA..., satirical take on Mehngai (inflation), where he plays lead Puttan Pal. The film is set to release on 8th March 2013. Recently we caught up with Sanjay in a candid chat. Here are excerpts:
What is SAARE JAHAAN SE MEHNGA all about?
The film is a satire on the daily grind of a common man and his various struggles to enjoy life with meagre resources. It's a story of Aam aadmi - every middle class Indian who has to think hundred times before spending a penny extra from the monthly budget. The film is based on the life of the contemporary middle class which I am sure every Indian can relate to. It's a tongue-in-cheek narration, making it into a light comedy. We have a song in the film that goes 'income to saali baanjh huee, mehengaai ke paanv hain bhaari, roz jane yeh price naye, har roj badhe laachari' which is so vocal of today's condition.
Elaborate on your character in the film
As I said, it is a story of a middle class man who has to run his family in a certain monthly budget and yet keep everyone in the family happy. I play Puttan Pal, whose life is a struggle to make both ends meet. Even for simple pleasures of life such as eating mutton once a week or a good family outing occasionally, he has to recalculate and adjust his monthly budgets drastically. He comes up with an ingenious idea, not realizing the problems family would get tangled into as a result of this idea. However, it creates many comical situations.
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How well do you connect with Puttan Pal in real life?
Before marriage, I was this carefree bachelor who splurged without a second thought. I purchased expensive cameras, travelled all around or worked whenever I felt like. But all that changed after I got married a few years ago. For the first time in my life, I got to know how much a bottle of milk or vegetables cost. I became more accountable. Today, I know what the word 'family' and their happiness mean to a man. I can say that the character of Puttan Pal has taught Sanjay Mishra many things in real life.
What are your criteria for choosing roles?
I always look for three things before accepting any project - the director, the production banner and my co-stars. Many times the concept or the role narrated is very good but the film in the end turns out to be a disaster. I think the director needs to be totally clear about his cinematic vision to execute the story idea effectively. So it is important to work with a good director. Actors are important because they ultimately carry the story forward on the celluloid from director's mind. Also, the production house plays an important role in providing comfortable working conditions and a healthy atmosphere during the shoots.
This is your second film with Revel films. How has been the experience?
Yes, this is our second film together. I accepted this film because Revel films' previous movie PHAS GAYE RE OBAMA earned me lots of accolades, so in a way I owe them a lot. Producer Ashok Pandey is a thorough professional. He never interferes in anyone's work and gives total freedom to his creative and production teams. There is always a very friendly atmosphere on his sets and the whole unit is like a family.
Were you apprehensive initially to work with a debutant director Anshul Sharma?
I know Anshul since a long time; in fact he was the Chief Assistant Director in PHAS GAYE RE OBAMA. So we have worked together before.
I can assure you that this film has shaped up very well. When I was watching the film with my wife, she had tears in her eyes. She told me that certain scenes in the movie really touched her heart and I think this is a compliment to the director's job. Even one of my NRI friends saw the film and she told me how the movie lingered on in her mind for a long time. Creating this kind of impact on the audience is the director's responsibility and I think Anshul has done his job brilliantly. He has earlier worked on films like PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA, DEV D, OMKARA etc.
How was working with Pragati as your better half in the film?
There is always a risk of working with new artists as it is hard to gauge the chemistry on-screen. But we are looking great together on the screen. Pragati, with theatre experience, is one of the finest actors of the film.
How is the music of SAARE JAAHAN SE MEHNGA? Do you have any favourite numbers in the film?
Oh, the music by Manish J Tipu and lyrics of Naveen Tyagi are simply outstanding. One of my favourite numbers is 'aoun de aoun de paise aoun de aoun de khushiya'
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Were there any funny incidents during the shoot of SJSM?
The shooting of the film was great fun throughout and I had really good time on the sets.
I remember there was a scene in the climax where I come out of the shower and start running on the road. In the original scene, I was supposed to wear my pants but to make it more realistic and funny; I decided to only wear a towel. The climax was shot for almost a week and my costume was only the towel. Everyone on the sets was laughing during the shoot.
Another scene was where my on-screen father Vishwa Mohan Badolaji asks for mutton for a meal. But just before the final take, all of us had overeaten so much that we couldn't even look at food or eat for the scene. It was a funny situation but somehow we managed.
Any more projects lined-up?
Yes, there are but at the moment I can reveal only about two movies - PHATA POSTER NIKLA HERO and AAKHO DAIKHI.
Finally, inflation is a major concern for the country today so what advise can Puttan Pal offer to deal with it?
Well, my character Puttan Pal has given a very good solution to the problem of inflation. But to know what that is you will have to watch the movie. (Smiles)