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A very nervous and anxious Anees Bazmee headed for Ajmer Sharif with his wife on Thursday. "I go before the release of all my films and spend 4-5 days in Ajmer Sharif. I'm able to overcome my nervousness there. This time there was no time to go days in advance. But on Friday when I'll be in Ajmer Sharif it will be the time for a very big festival called Chatti Sharif. I didn't plan it this way. But now that I've the opportunity I'll be in Ajmer Sharif throughout Chatti Sharif. On Saturday, I'll be in Jaipur to watch my film."
"Yes, I'm nervous," admits Anees. "I don't make four films a year. I make one film every two years. So I've no immediate project to fall back on. I've put my entire life in Singh Is Kinng."
Some years ago, when Ashutosh Gowariker was directing a film called Lagaan, he was constantly asked whether his producer Aamir Khan was ghost-directing the film. Anees Bazmee faces a worse predicament. His Singh Is Kinng producer happens to be a reputed director himself.
Protests Anees, "But Vipul never interfered. He's a smart producer. He knows I've 32 years of experience behind me in the industry. Vipul has only directed three films. People are aware of my experience, and my last two films were massive hits. So when a producer invites me to make a film why would he interfere? I hate producers who intrude in my work. And anyone who signs me knows it. Vipul loves and respects me. That's why he approached me. I'd love to do another film with him. If Vipul didn't have confidence in me why would he let me direct? He'd have done it himself."
At an event in Delhi on Wednesday Anees Bazmee told the cast of his new release Singh Is Kinng, "What I've made is nothing when compared with Mughal-e-Azam. Whenever I watch that film I feel I should be doing something else. How did K. Asif do it?" Since the film boasts of a number of hit combos-Akshay Kumar-Katrina Kaif, Akshay-Vipul, Akshay-Anees Bazmee-does Anees feel the film could be a victim of over-expectation? Says Anees, "I'll say only one thing. I've made a very good film. It's a much bigger film than my No Entry and Welcome. But I wasn't thinking of those films while making Singh Is Kinng. I didn't want to repeat the earlier formula. For the first time, I've incorporated action scenes in my cinema. I don't like action. But because of Akshay we had to include it."
Regarding the hero being Sikh, Anees says he was sure he'd do justice the community. "A lot of my friends are Sardarjis. I'm very fond of them for their lifestyle and daring. I've never done a film that would hurt any community's feelings. Quite frequently I get rid of potentially funny scenes when I feel they're offensive. I want to distribute love not hatred through my cinema. I personally approached major Sikh communities to watch Singh Is Kinng. They pointed out scenes that were not quite right. We recalled Akshay Kumar from South Africa and re-shot those scenes. Then the Sikhs were quite happy. Our intentions cannot be doubted. People who saw the film on Wednesday say Singh Is Kinng is better than my No Entry and Welcome. We're all excited. My wife thinks this is my best work to date. My children love it. That's a relief. If people in my home don't like a film how can I expect people outside to like it?"
Anees has shot It's My Life with Harman Baweja and Genelia D'Souza for 20 days. "I normally shoot one film at a time. It's because of my producer Vipul's planning that I could complete and release Singh Is Kinng eight months after my last release Welcome."