Proud father-son jodi (Vashu and Jackky Bhagnani), after the success of F.A.L.T.U., are back with another youthful love story in Ajab Gazabb Love. The movie is scheduled to release coming Friday. Currently travelling across India to promote their latest venture, the Bhagnanis took time out of their hectic schedule to discuss their story before and after Ajab Gazabb Love with Sagorika Dasgupta
How has the film shaped up? Are you both happy with the result?
Vashu Bhagnani (VB): I am very happy with the outcome, especially since I am seeing the audience’ reaction. They are the best judge of a film’s buzz and the crowds are going berserk in every city we are visiting, especially young people. They just love the songs, especially the Boom boom song. I couldn’t have asked for a better reception.
Jackky Bhagnani (JB): Ever since the promos released, people have been calling me to say that the film looks really interesting. They are saying it’s cute and hilarious. This means, somewhere down the line, my character is working. In fact, I did not receive compliments like this for my first two films. People liked the songs and the concept of F.A.L.T.U. but in this film, they love the songs and my physique too. There’s no better feeling for an actor than to be appreciated for his performance. That’s how you know your efforts have paid off.
Did Jackky always want to be an actor or was it something he developed?
VB: No, he didn’t think about it till he was 16 as he was executive producer in
Deewanapan (2001). Then, while visiting the sets, he started learning and
experimenting with that aspect of filmmaking. It was just a few years ago he decided to be an actor.
JB: I always wanted to be an actor but I was shy as a kid. But one day, I picked up the courage, walked up to my dad and told him, I wanted to be an actor. The first thing he said was that I had to lose weight as I weighed 125 kgs! That’s when my journey to become an actor began.
Usually, Vashuji casts an actor in a role only when he is convinced they fit the role to the ‘T’. Did he tell you that you were the one and only choice for this role?
JB: Yes. Well, at least that’s what he said. It feels good because he is such a successful producer and he has launched a lot of people. He could have taken any A-league actor but the fact that he chose me gave me a big high.
I am also honoured that both Sanjay (Gadhvi) sir and dad thought I could pull this off.
Were you criticised when you launched your own son and the film didn’t work?
VB: Yes, that happens. But Jackky has done good films and he has proved he has talent.
JB: I am a guy who loves challenges, who likes to be told he can’t do this, so that I can prove them wrong. I get a kick out of that.Just like when I was fat, people thought that iska kya hoga. Then I lost weight. I was not a dancer, so I learnt to dance as well. This journey of mine will go on. I am not perfect and I like challenges.
There are a lot of people who are better looking and worse looking than I am and they are doing well. As an actor, you are not a model. It’s not really about what you are wearing or how you look. It’s about making a connection. If the audience can connect with me or my character, that’s important.
How did he handle the criticism?
VB: He is smart enough. He has been in the industry long enough to know how the trade works. The other actors treat him like a younger brother.
Jackky’s first film didn’t get a great response but F.A.L.T.U. did well.
VB: F.A.L.T.U. received a good response in spite of Housefull, which released a week later, that year. The song Chaar baj gaye par party abhi baaki hai became a rage, and 18 months later, people are still singing it. People are so crazy about him that while touring the country, we literally have to drag him away from an event.
What is the father-son equation you share on the sets?
JB: It’s superb. He is not like a producer on the sets. He is very simple, very clear cut. When I am at work, I am not spoilt but when I am at home, I am. But c’mon, every dad spoils his son. (Laughs)
Do you guys discuss films at home?
VB: Of course! We are a film family, so it’s natural to discuss work at home. Whether it’s the opening of a film, its marketing style or even its content. We always discuss cinema.
JB: Yes, obviously. He asks me and my sister various questions because he wants to know what the younger generation likes… marketing, what the college students like, what kind of music. When I am doing a film, my involvement apart from acting is a little less because I concentrate on acting so my sister takes over completely.
Just as he keeps in touch with you and your sister about what the youth like, do both of you offer him inputs if he goes overboard?
JB: We used to but now we know he has way more experience than any of us, to give him any advice! There are so many production houses copying my father’s style of film promotion, the kind of marketing he is famous for, his kind of posters, TV and radio promotions, touring cities from Nagpur to Patna, etc. He started all this during Hero No. 1. Pehle koi bhi yeh sab nahi karta tha. Now even the big production houses and big actors are doing the same. And you can’t blame them because there is just so much happening out there and you have to get through the clutter and tell people about your product.
VB: And why shouldn’t I do it? Who wouldn’t? I am not doing my son any favours. If I have done it for Abhishek Bachchan, Riteish Deshmukh and Anil Kapoor, I will do the same for this film too. During Tera Jadoo Chal Gayaa, people went crazy with the kind of publicity we did.
As a father, what does it feel like when you see your son getting mobbed?
VB: Earlier, I used to introduce myself as a producer who has worked with Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt. Today, all I have to say is ‘I am Jackky Bhagnani’s father’.
JB: Honestly, both Nidhi (Subbaiah) and I are shocked. After F.A.L.T.U., I didn’t do a film for a long time. I was in Mumbai and wasn’t aware of the film’s impact outside Mumbai. We’ve already visited ten cities and the turnout at every college we have visited was phenomenal. Half the world thinks F.A.L.T.U. was my first film and they ask, arrey aapki first film itne aachi hai, so why did you take such a long break? They don’t know that the industry still judges me by Kal Kisne Dekha. So it’s a great boost. The way people have reacted to Boom boom boom, the kele wala kele le lo scene and the concept is nothing short of amazing.
What does it feel like to sign autographs and be mobbed by girls?
JB: I am still not used to that kind of attention, not even when I was in college. I haven’t stopped grinning, and I don’t know what to do as I fee shy. (Blushes)
Why was this song added at the last minute?
JB: It was always there. It is the promotional song, the end credits song, the party track of the film. It’s not been added; it was shot last because I was shooting for Rangrezz. I was in Mysore and Hyderabad then, so they had to wait till I returned to shoot it.
VB: After Ajab Gazabb Love, Jackky has Rangrezz, which will release in January next year. And I will be making three movies, from November to next November. That’s my plan.
JB: I have a lot of offers but have not said ‘yes’ to any of them because I am still waiting. My funda is that people don’t notice which production house has made the film. They are engrossed in the film and the last two years have proved that. Vicky Donor came from nowhere, F.A.L.T.U. came from nowhere, Tanu Weds Manu came from nowhere. I am waiting for the right film. Getting the right film when I sign one outside my father’s banner is very important. I have learnt a lot from the mistakes of my first film. If F.A.L.T.U. was my first film, my career would have been different. We’re talking about my foundation here.
In Rangrezz, will we see you doing something different from the romantic-comedy genre you have done before?
JB: It’s completely different. If my roles so far are like the North pole, Rangrezz is the South pole. South pole ke bhi dusre taraf hai ekdum alag.
VB: This film is an action drama. You will see him in a never-seen-before avatar.
Why didn’t you cast Jackky in Himmatwala?
VB: Himmatwala is Ajay Devgn’s solo film. It’s a one-man army film. It’s not that Puja Films will make films only with Jackky. When we spot a suitable role for him, he will do it. When there is no space, he will not.
JB: Dad and Sajid Khan only wanted big stars for the film.
What’s happening to the F.A.L.T.U. sequel? When do we see you doing that?
Both: We will be doing F.A.L.T.U. 2 next year. Hopefully, the response we are getting for Ajab Gazabb Love will translate onto that film.