By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Most people might know JP Dutta as a stern disciplinarian and demanding director. But few know that once off the sets, he is a fun-loving person who loves flying kites! In fact, the director displayed his love for the soaring sport in Jaipur recently, when he taught his lead actress, Aishwarya Rai, how to fly a kite.
Says Bindiya, JP Dutta's wife, and online producer of Umrao Jaan, "We were staying at the Jaipur Palace, and after the shoot was over we all went onto the terrace. It was Makar Sankranti and the sky was filled with hundreds of kites. JP got very nostalgic, remembering his childhood days when he would fly kites with his friends.
He told the cast and crew to come up and start flying kites too. Ash said she'd never flown a kite before. That's when JP told her that he'd teach her how."
Sunil Shetty, who plays the dacoit Faiz Ali in Umrao Jaan, adds, "I'm a master kite flyer! In fact, I'm even really good at gilli danda, as I've been brought up on these games.
From tying the kanni to keeping a steady hand, is something I am at expert at. But I have to admit JP saab is the boss when it comes to flying kites. He not only taught Ash how to fly a kite, but everybody from the camera guys to the assistant directors had a blast that day.
Ash learnt from an expert and picked up very quickly. Even Abhishek knew how to fly a kite and joined us. JP saab and I didn't compete with each other, but instead had a blast cutting off other's kites - Ash's, Shabana's and Divya Dutta's. It was a lot of fun!" Sunil reminisces.
For Sunil, shooting for JP Dutta was like a picnic. Says Shetty, "He's extremely sporty and insists that every member of the cast and crew join him after shooting is over.
So we all dine together, play games and chat. He doesn't like us retiring to our rooms after shooting is over. Even while shooting for LOC, we would play cricket.
Bindiya is dangerous. She has the habit of getting sweets from the best of places and placing them in front of us so temptingly. So after every schedule of JP saab's film, we come away 10 kilos heavier!"
But the best part about Dutta's shooting, says Sunil, is "the fact that we get to visit the most exotic of locales and acquire a thorough knowledge of the region's culture, cuisine and people. I have travelled everywhere - from Leh to Ladakh and now Jaipur, Bikaner and the interiors of Rajasthan -thanks to JP saab. It is a tremendous experience. He spoils us."
What is Makar Sankranti?
According to Hindu legend, Bhishma Pitamaha was wounded during the war of Kurukshetra.
He had the power to choose the time of his death, so he lay on a bed of arrows for 26 days so that he could die on Makar Sankranti day (January 14).
On this day, when the sun begins its northward journey (the uttarayan) by entering the Makar Rashi (the Capricorn), the doors of heaven are kept open.
All divya atmas or sacred souls go to heaven and are spared the cycle of rebirth. Makar Sankranti is celebrated by flying kites in most parts of India, especially Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.