Director Anil Sharma is a happy man after delivering the record-shattering Gadar 2. The director who made Gadar: Ek Prem Katha in 2001 shares why it took him more than 20 years to make the sequel, his association with Sunny Deol, directing his son Utkarsh Sharma and his plans to make Gadar 3.
How does it feel to deliver one of the biggest all-time hits of Hindi cinema?
Anil Sharma: I just feel that I have to do more work after this. Gadar 2 was a journey and we reached our destination. Now it’s time to move forward and try to make something even better. God has been kind and I thank the audience for showering the film with so much love. What more can I ask for? Now it’s time to embark on a new journey.
What was important to you when you decided to make Gadar 2?
Anil Sharma: The only reason to make Gadar 2 was that I wanted to take the story of Gadar: Ek Prem Katha forward. I always wondered about what could have happened to Tara, Sakina and Jeete 15-20 years down the line. And it led to building a story for Gadar 2.
There were three-four elements that were extremely necessary for the film. We needed a good love story. So, that’s how Jeete and Muskan’s (played by Utkarsh Sharma and Simratt Kaur Randhawa) romantic track came to life.
We needed a good mix of songs, so we had Khairiyat and Jhoom Jhoom along with the melodies from the original film such as Udd Jaa Kaale Kaavan and Main Nikla Gaddi Leke.
The look of the film was extremely important because the story was set in a different era. And action was of course going to be a part of it.
Nostalgia is a huge factor in Gadar 2. How do you think it contributed to the film’s success?
Anil Sharma: I’ll explain this with a cricket analogy. Wouldn’t you like to see Sachin Tendulkar stepping on the ground to bat again? Wouldn’t you like to see Dada (Sourav Ganguly) remove and swing his shirt again at The Lords’ balcony?
Ultimately, cinema and the public share a bond like a family. Popular characters always stay in people’s hearts. They liked it when Tara Singh came back aur ussne gadar machaya. People loved Tara Singh and his family in Gadar. When you see your beloved characters after many years, you instantly connect with them. Nostalgia is an emotion that always works.
Were you always convinced that Gadar 2 would do so well?
Anil Sharma: You wouldn’t make a film after 22 years without conviction. We decided to make Gadar 2 when we were fully convinced about its story. We were convinced that Gadar 2 would create history. We always had faith in the film and we gave it our best. Our dream came true when Gadar 2 became the highest-grossing Hindi film. And we hope that many such films come out so that people are entertained as well as the film industry prospers.
Gadar 2 director Anil Sharma with Sunny Deol
You have made multiple films with Sunny Deol. How would you describe your equation with him?
Anil Sharma: I have worked with Dharam-ji (Dharmendra), Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol. Yeh zameen se jude hue log hain. They are realistic in their thinking and our values and emotions match with each other. Sunny sir thinks about the common man and so do I. And I think that’s why our cinematic sensibilities also match. So, yeah, that is the reason why we have often worked together.
What was it like to direct your son (Utkarsh Sharma) who played Jeete in Gadar as well as in Gadar 2?
Anil Sharma: When I am directing, he is not my son. It is a character that I am directing. He played Jeete when he was a kid. And rarely does it happen that the kid who played a role in the original film goes on to play the grown-up version of the same character more than 20 years later.
Utkarsh is my son at home and off the sets. On set, he’s an actor and I am his director. Utkarsh has studied in the US and asks more questions than Sunny sir. We behave as professionals on sets.
A piece of advice that you have given to Utkarsh to survive in the film industry?
Anil Sharma: I keep giving advice not only to Utkarsh but to everyone. I always say that if you want to work in this industry, a couple of things are extremely important. First and foremost, you need to be polite. If you are not polite you can’t succeed in this industry. An arrogant person can have four days of fame here, not a 40-year-long career. I have learnt this from the likes of Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan and Dilip Kumar.
The second thing I have told him is to stay true to his character in the film and listen to the director.
The music of Gadar is still popular and it also helped Gadar 2. How important is music in your stories?
Anil Sharma: I come from Mathura and I grew up listening to raag, geet aur sangeet. I always feel that a song that hits you with its one note is a good song. The songs of Gadar were hits, so it was a challenge for me as well as composer Mithoon and lyricist Sayeed Quadri to make the Gadar 2 soundtrack as good as Gadar’s.
Music in general is very important in Indian films and Indian culture. We think in terms of music. It is in our DNA because we have so many kinds of music. I can’t think of making films without music. I can watch a foreign film without music but not an Indian film.
Any plans to make Gadar 3?
Anil Sharma: We will definitely make Gadar 3 but it will take some time. Gadar 2 is still going strong and let everyone have a feel of it for the next few years. For now, I will make something else.