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J.P. Dutta is hurt but certainly not out
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
The failure of his dream epic "LOC" and the resulting isolation may have left the movie mogul disillusioned and temporarily bruised, but J.P. Dutta is already looking ahead.
He has left "LOC" behind and gone off on an extended holiday to London with his devoted wife Bindiya and their two daughters.
"Very frankly I needed this break. I couldn't take the heat in Mumbai -- and I don't mean the summer heat. The flak I faced for 'LOC' wasn't only totally expected, but also deeply hurtful. It was like I was being punished for having made the worst film on earth. Was 'LOC' really that bad? Not fair!"
JP actually manages a dry chuckle from his posh hotel in London.
"There was a point of time when I seriously thought of giving it all up. 'Bas ab bahut ho gaya', I said to myself. But I've gotten over that. Now I'm here to holiday as well as sort out my production plans in this part of the world. I needed that space between my last film and next and also needed to decide my next plan of action."
While JP has a couple of definite ideas in his head he's definitely not making another war film.
"I think my war films are done. Now I need to move on to a completely different genre and style."
He already knows what he plans to do next but isn't revealing anything much more. "I'll say one thing. It will shock those who think I've become the war specialist."
Gathering his creative energies away from home has been an eye-opening experience. All the stars who swore by his name seem to have vanished from his life. The phones have stopped ringing.
Laughs JP: "It doesn't surprise me at all. Why should it? I've been around in this industry for too long to expect anything else. It's my wife Bindiya who forms all these supposedly permanent ties with our actors, makes them part of her extended family.
"And then when they disappear she gets extremely angry and upset. I know what was being said behind my back by my own actors before the release of 'LOC'. I know what they're saying now. I'd have been surprised if they had behaved any other way."
One "LOC" actor Saif Ali Khan, who has gone on record to accuse JP of tardy payment, is currently in the same hotel in London with his wife Amrita Singh and their two kids.
"We bumped into one another. Saif said we should've a drink together. But it's an offer that I wouldn't like to take up right now," JP laughs without amusement.
Post "LOC", the man reminds one of Guru Dutt after "Kaagaz Ke Phool". The spectacular work about the disillusionment of the film industry was expected to break records. But it broke the filmmaker instead. JP seems to be sailing in Guru Dutt's boat right now.
"You could say that. I guess the song 'Dekhi zamaane ki yaari bichde sabhi baari-baari' from 'Kaagaz Ke Phool' is currently eminently applicable to my life."
He isn't the first lion in exile since Guru Dutt. After the slow death of his dream project "Mera Naam Joker", Raj Kapoor had withdrawn into a shell -- only to emerge victorious with the runaway hit "Bobby".
"I'm at peace with myself. I can look myself straight into the eye. But can those who are bitching about me do the same?" is his parting shot before he promises to return to Mumbai at the end of June.