By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Monday, August 06, 2007
It has been a time of extreme stress for the Indian entertainment industry. While one of Sanjay Dutt's unreleased films Indra Kumar's comedy Dhamaal is dubbed and all set for release, the future of his other projects including his friend Sanjay Gupta's Alibaug which Dutt showed for about a week before abandoning , stands in severe jeopardy.
As for Raj Kumar Hirani whose Munnabhai brand cannot stand on its own without Dutt's presence, he seems to have gone into a shell. The third part of the ongoing Munnabhai series entitled Munnabhai Chale Amrika now stands suspended, unless producer Vinod Chopra decides to make it with another actor in the lead.
Says a source, "That's quite unlikely because Vinod is extremely emotional about Sanju Dutt. They've worked together in Mission Kashmir .And Sanju has gone on record to say he'd always work for Vinod without asking about his role."
However a message sent from Raj Kumar Hirani's cellphone by his assistant says, "Mr Hirani wouldn't like to speak on Sanjay Dutt's verdict or other issues. Hope you'll understand."
Silence may be golden. But not too many of Hirani's colleagues in the industry are adopting that method of diplomatic reticence which is so characteristic of the wary industry. There's vocal outrage in the industry. Everyone seems to feel Sanjay Dutt has suffered enough. His close buddies like Suniel Shetty and Sanjay Gupta have for now abandoned work to chalk out a future plan of action to relieve Dutt's legal pressure. Producers who have incomplete films on hand say they are ready to wait for as long as it takes for Dutt to come out of jail.
A pall of gloom now shrouds the industry. No one is in the mood for celebrations. Anil Kapoor has never shared a very warm relationship with Dutt. Nevertheless he cancelled the Mumbai premiere of his prestigious Gandhi My Father.
Says Kapoor, "Suddenly my excitement about my film went down. I did hold a a pre-release screening of Gandhi My Father for close friends. But there was no proper premiere."
Ravi Chopra had planned a lavish premiere for the colorized revival of his father's classic Naya Daur along with the release of a book celebrating 58 years of the banner B.R.Films.
Says Ravi, "It's unfortunate that we had to cancel our Naya Daur premiere. It was going to be attended by the film's lead pair Dilip Kumar and Vyanjanthimala. But Sanjay Dutt's verdict cast a pall of gloom in the industry. The book The BR Story which won't be for commercial sale but a momento for everyone associated with this banner will now be released in a small function whenever the time seems right."
Anubhav Sinha who cancelled the premier of his lavish Cash is heartbroken. "I couldn't have made Dus without Sanju's support. He got me all the big stars from Suniel Shetty and Abhishek Bachchan to Shilpa Shetty . Nobody would've worked with a small director like me if it wasn't for Sanju. When I heard the verdict I just lost my zest for the release of Cash. So much suffering for Sanju. Not fair."
Sinha echoes the entire entertainment industry's sentiments.