Sanjay Dutt didn't require much convincing or cajoling to come on board for Eros International's ALADIN. The moment he heard the film's concept, genre and the way it was envisioned to be brought on screen, he pronto said 'yes'. This is not all. The moment he was on board, he was quite impatient about the film coming on floors ASAP and didn't want to wait for long before director Sujoy Ghosh started calling the shots.
Says a source attached to the film, "Sanju baba actually became quite childlike when narrated the concept of ALADIN. He hasn't worked in a film belonging to this genre before, the kind that involves fairytale elements embellished in a narrative that is set in today's times. The legend of ALADIN and 'Genie' is known worldwide and Sanju baba didn't require much thinking to be a part of the project. As a fun loving villain, who was capable of showing the mean side of his any moment, the character was tailor-made for him and he knew that instantaneously once the part was explained to him."
Incidentally, it was Amitabh Bachchan himself who first had a word with Sanjay Dutt around his role of 'Ringmaster' in ALADIN.
Confirms Sujoy Ghosh, "Yes, after I had this rather elaborate narration of ALADIN with Mr. Bachchan, we were discussing around who could play the role of 'Ringmaster'. We agreed that it had to be Dutt saab and I was supposed to reach out to him the next day. However, to my surprise, before I could speak to Dutt saab, Mr. Bachchan had already reached out to him. When I met him, he mockingly pulled him for not speaking to him directly. I explained that I had all the right intentions to do so but didn't have any clue that Mr. Bachchan would himself take the first step."
Kicked about the entire idea, Sanjay Dutt was on board pronto. "I still remember it was year 2006", Sujoy gets nostalgic here, "Dutt saab was so excited about donning the hat of 'Ringmaster'. Pun intended."
Sanjay Dutt had a condition though before saying yes. "Yes, he didn't want anyone to fiddle around with his look", laughs Sujoy, "His only condition was that he wanted the moustache of 'Ringmaster' to be kept intact. Of course, we had no reason not to agree."
Starring Amitabh Bachchan as Genius - The Genie, Ritiesh Deshmukh as Aladin and Sanjay Dutt as 'Ringmaster', ALADIN also marks the debut of Sri Lankan beauty Jacqueline Fernandes who is paired opposite Ritiesh. With music by Vishal and Shekhar, ALADIN is produced by Eros International in association with Sujoy Ghosh's production company Boundscript.