By Ahana Bhattacharya
Mumbai, Dec 21 (IANS) Debutant director Ranjeet Gupta feels lucky to have been able to direct the late legends Om Puri and Jagdeep in their last film, the just-released Omprakash Zindabad.
Sharing his experience of working with the now deceased actors, Gupta said: “It was fun working with Om Puri ji from the moment I narrated the story to him. He loved it and jumped on board even without discussing the fee. His enthusiasm gave the whole team confidence. He was an experienced actor yet a very humble person. He never made me feel that it was my debut film. He made sure that we partied once a week after the shoot.”
Talking about legendary comedian Jagdeep, who passed away in July this year, the director added: “Jagdeep ji was an amazing person. Despite his age he was a child at heart. Initially, he said that he won’t be able to shoot in Lucknow as he was not comfortable with shooting outdoors. But we had to shoot in Lucknow because of the real locations in that city. Jagdeep ji stepped out of his comfort zone and travelled with us to Lucknow. He enjoyed shooting there.”
“He would always be in a jolly mood, and very enthusiastic. It was fun working with him. Like with Om ji, there was always an atmosphere of positivity and fun with Jagdeep ji. I really miss both the actors, especially with the film releasing,” Gupta added.
Inspired by real incidents, Omprakash Zindabad is a satirical comedy revolving around a group of people who misuse a rape victims’ compensation scheme by the government and turn it into a scam. Om Puri can be seen in the role of an aspiring political leader who manipulates people to be a part of this scam, informed the filmmaker.
Om Puri breathed his last in January 2017. Why such a delay in the release of the film? “We were supposed to release this film in February 2017. Even promotions had begun but at that time the Censor Board had raised some concerns. Meanwhile, Om Ji passed away. We were in a battle with the Censor Board for almost two and a half years and finally won. We were planning to release the film in March this year, but then lockdown happened,” explained the director.
Omprakash Zindabad also features Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Ishtiyak Khan and Zakir Hussain.