Interview : Sanjay Dutt



BOOK LAUNCH picture gallery

Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, LAGE RAHO MUNNA BHAI, the film, not only regaled the audiences across the globe but also made box-office history. Seldom have sequels generated interest to the extent the film continues to do.

Now the unforgettable characters and the witty dialogues of LAGE RAHO MUNNABHAI have come alive again in the form of a book published by Om Books International. The book seeks to bring alive the unforgettable characters, mostly witty and some hilarious dialogue as well, that made it an iconic film – to the extent that the word ‘Gandhigiri’ has not only become a sort of catch-phrase amongst the youth in India credited for having restarted the trend of non-violent political protests, but become the title of some recent serious studies.

Naturally, it was a date with history of another sort when the riveting and racy script of the blockbuster by Om Books in collaboration with Vinod Chopra Films was launched as a book at a glittering ceremony recently. Apart from host and publisher Ajay Mago, actors Sanjay Dutt, Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani; producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and director Rajkumar Hirani made the event memorable with their presence.

“I would love to relive Munnabhai over and over again.”

We caught up with Sanjay Dutt, the lovable don who brought Gandhigiri back into fashion, and got him talking…

How does it feel that now, you are sharing the stage with your LAGE RAHO MUNNABHAI team again after a long period of time for the book launch of the film’s script with Om Books International?
I am very lucky that Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani chose me to play Munnabhai. The film has changed my life just as it has changed the life of many others. And that is why I feel so happy that Om Books is bringing out the script of the film as a book. Ajay Mago has brought it out in a very short period of time.

How did it feel reliving the moments of working with Vidhu Vinod Chopra?
Working with Vidhu Vinod Chopra is always a pleasure. He is my well-wisher, my friend and he loves me as much as he fires me. I remember once when he called me to fire me because I was late on the sets. I told him, No No, I am always on time. The truth was that I found it difficult to wake up early. And Vinod Chopra told me “I will cut it from your salary.”

And did he do that?
When he film got over I got a call from him saying that he is cutting Rs 60 lakh from my salary. But the film went on to become a great hit and he paid me Rs 1 crore more! And now we are launching the film’s script in the form of a book. That is Vidhu Vinod Chopra for you.

view LAGE RAHO MINNABHAI movie stills

view LAGE RAHO MINNABHAI movie stills

What according to you is in this script should book a berth?
The book is a very interesting reading. For, it is something that we as a family have lived and will continue living. And I am glad Gandhigiri is a trend that youngsters seek to follow now. This film has been an eye-opener to not just the youth but to me as a person well. Naturally, any moment attached to the film is very close to my heart. The book launch is one such moment.

Tell me about your moments of fun too…
He he! I have had my moments too. Like the time when you go to meet Vidhu Vinod Chopra for a film, he makes you read the entire script. What I do is I go up to his room, smoke a few cigarettes, spend one and half hours and tell him “brilliant script,” because it has to be that with him in the picture. And he knows I am just saying that without reading. So he makes his team give me a brief of the film! Even today, he called me and told me be there on time! I was 30 minutes early… And he came 15 minutes late!

There was also a time when Vidhu called me up & told that I have to be on the sets at 7am. I wanted to teach him a lesson. So I stayed awake all night and reported on the sets at six am. He light up at 7.15 and I went over and screamed a huge Hi to him from far. And he grinned and yelled back… I know I know, you are just being so smart because I am late today. I had a hearty laugh that day. Actually, I love every moment of Munnabhai. And I would love to relive those moments over and over again.