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UDAAN Producer Sanjay Singh: Cannes is my anniversary gift to Ankita!

May 27, 2010 04:16:28 PM IST
Bollywood Trade News Network
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Sanjay and Ankita Singh are on top of the moon. The son of the President of the Mumbai Congress Party, a qualified commercial pilot, a state basketball champion and a real estate businessman, Sanjay's first film in his latest avatar as a producer, UDAAN (produced along with Anurag Kashyap, directed by Vikram Motwane) has hit gold and been screened in competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival in the category Un Certain Regard. This is a huge honour for India and a bright feather in the cap of the film maker. The festival honours the best of the best worldwide, and this is the first Hindi film to make the grade after SALAAM BOMBAY.

We talk to the beautiful couple at Cannes:

"We are thrilled! This is my second time representing India, first at the under-nineteen junior level basketball championships and now at Cannes with a film. It is a real privilege to represent India at such a prestigious forum," says Sanjay.



Sanjay and Ankita have just celebrated their 2nd anniversary.

Says Sanjay, "We first met when Ankita came to Mumbai to see her brother off. He was going for higher studies to Australia. We were introduced to each other by the families and clicked immediately. It took us only a few days to make the decision to get married."

"Ankita loves to travel. So this trip to Cannes followed by a short holiday is my extended anniversary gift to her."

Ankita says, "Sanjay and I really get along well. I also come from a political family. My father was a minister, so I understand the expectations one has of a family that is in service of people. Sanjay is very driven to give back to society in some way, and do something meaningful, be it sponsoring the local YMCA basketball team or producing a good film or developing a major infrastructure project that will ease things for the city. I think it's beautiful and want to support him in this effort in whatever way I can."

The couple travelled to the Venice film festival for the premiere of DEV D, soon after their wedding. That's when Sanjay began to give some serious thought to film production.

"I was thinking of getting into film production for a while, but was not clear how to go about it. Then Anurag told me about this script. I've known Anurag long, and think he's a real honest, good, down to earth kind of guy. I loved the film as soon as I heard the script; I wanted to be a part of its making. It's the best decision I made," says Sanjay

"It was funny because some big names in the industry turned it down before it came to me. Some even asked Vikram to spice it up with an item song! I thought that only happened in stories, but here it was a reality" he adds.

Sanjay is a breed apart from producers who just are after commercial gain. He has a 'rags to riches' story - rising from the slums he lived in for 25 years, the hard way, to great commercial success. Financial concerns led him to drop his job as a pilot and get into a construction business that proved immensely successful. Now he's very motivated to give something meaningful back to society through cinema, sport or construction - his line of work.

What next?

"I don't want to get lost in the tags of commercial or art. A good film is a good film. That's the only lens I will look through while selecting my projects."

So can we expect a Khan blockbuster next?

"If it's real and grounded, then why not? But right now, I'm drawn to stories that reflect the real India, and in some sense give hope or inspire. UDAAN's father son story is one that will ring true for a host of people and so is very relevant."

Motivated by this success, the producer has teamed up with a French Production House for his next film, also being directed by a festival winner - Manish Jha. It's an inspirational story that sounds even more promising to the producer than UDAAN.

"People are quick to talk about something - as soon as an idea germinates in their minds. This is not the way we work. We like to do something first, and once we've reached a point of success then announce it. Now that we've done well with UDAAN, we feel confident in announcing the launch of our production house. "

"The next film tells the story of a man who goes through a tremendous personal tragedy and instead of being beaten by it, comes through shining, and creates a glorious destiny for his people. The story is very inspiring and I'm even more excited about it than UDAAN!"

This pilot sure has his feet on the ground and sights set sky high.


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