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Rolex for a role!

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day

Thursday, July 27, 2006

When producers Sanjay Dutt and Sanjay Gupta do things, they do it with style. Manoj Bajpai can vouch for that. When Bajpai agreed to do White Feather Films' Zahir (one of the 10 short stories in Dus Kahaniya) he never expected to be paid for the small part.

When he refused remuneration for the role, the generous Sanju baba gifted him with an expensive watch - the Rolex Daytona.

Don't want money

When contacted, Manoj Bajpai admits to receiving the expensive gift. He says,"Yes, Sanju gave me a Rolex all-steel Daytona Chronograph 116520 (costs about Rs 5 lakh, approximately). I had gone to meet Sanju and Sanjay Gupta at their office, when they told me they wanted me to do Zahir. I was surprised, as I thought they had called me for a feature film.

But I said yes immediately. I adore Sanju immensely as a human after having worked with him in LoC and I love Sanjay Gupta's brand of filmmaking - fast-paced, racy thrillers. There was no way I could say no. But when they offered me remuneration, I flatly refused. How could I take money from two people I admire so much?"

Stubborn Sanju

What happened next? "Sanju is a very stubborn guy. A few days later, he invited me to dinner at his house and surprised me with the gift. I was overwhelmed.

My hands were trembling with emotion. I refused to take it, but then Sanju said he was giving it as one older brother to a younger one and I couldn't refuse him. I shut up after that."

Sanjay Gupta applauds Dutt's gesture, "It's every watch lover's dream to possess a Rolex Daytona. It has to be a part of your collection. Of course, there is no compensation for the kind of brilliant job that Manoj has put in the film as an actor.

Adds a source close to Sanjay Dutt, "Zahir is an emotional drama, which was completed in four days. Manoj and Dia are revelations in the film. Dia's remuneration has gone to charity.

After Zahir got completed and the shooting of Woodstock Villa was to commence, Dutt threw a party for the cast and crew of Zahir and Woodstock at his Bandra home. He cooked mutton korma for his guests. Hansal bought some special kebabs from Crawford Market and everyone partied till the wee hours.

At some point of time, he asked Manoj to step outside where he presented him with the watch. Manoj was in tears with Sanju's and Gupta's gesture."

In select company

So what's special about the Rolex Daytona watch? Says the source, "There are only a select few people in the film industry who possess Rolex Daytonas amongst which are Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, Dutt and Gupta.

They are the most exclusive watches in the world and are craved by every watch buff. You can't buy it on demand. There is a waiting period of four years to get such watches, but you can get it quickly if you have the right contacts with very good dealers."

Poetry passion

Manoj Bajpai and Sanjay Gupta both love poetry.

Manoj: "I love all kinds of poetry, but my favourite is Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mirza Ghalib. Sanjay Gupta has changed a lot in his style of filmmaking and personality after reading poetry."

Sanjay Gupta: "I am a huge fan of Pablo Neruda, Raymond Carver, the poet Charles Bukowski, Gumi, Khalid, Faiz and Gulzarsaab, of course."

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