MUMBAI: In over three decades of his association with Bollywood, director-producer Mahesh Bhatt has delivered iconic films like Arth, Saaransh, Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin and Zakhm. But it’s quits on the direction front now, says the maverick film-maker, who wants to invest his time in promoting young and fresh talent instead.
“I have said goodbye to direction. I am encouraging new talent. I am 64-years-old now and at this age, encouraging upcoming talent is very satisfying,” Bhatt told IANS. The film-maker has given a platform to many directors, actors and creative people through his production banner Vishesh Films. Be it director Mohit Suri, director Vishal Mahadkar, actor Emraan Hashmi or Indo-Canadian porn star Sunny Leone, who will make her Bollywood debut with his Jism 2, many people from the industry have had their firsts with Bhatt.
Currently, the veteran is busy promoting another newcomer Esha Gupta, who is the leading lady of Jannat 2. Miss India International 2007 winner Gupta is cast opposite Hashmi in the sequel of Bhatt’s 2008 film Jannat. “Esha is an unusual Indian girl who walked into my office. These days you don’t find traditional beauty in India any more but this girl has a feminine charm and intelligence about her. It’s a deadly combination and I can say for a fact that she will go to great heights,” said Bhatt.
The film-maker said that though he is on a quest to promote upcoming artist, Hashmi was a must for the sequel of Jannat. He said, “Emraan was must for Jannat 2. He was a compulsory casting for the movie. Nobody could have played this role better than him,” added Bhatt.
Hashmi, who started his career with the Bhatt camp with the movie Footpath in 2003, is now one of the most bankable star in Bollywood but he still shows his loyalties to Bhatt by working in a number of his ventures. Bhatt said he is glad to see his progress in the industry. “Emraan has evolved as an actor. From his debut film Footpath, he has come a very long way. He is a star now. Today everybody wants to cast him in their films,” he said, denying any speculation of a rift between him and Hashmi, who is also his nephew. “There were no differences between me and Emraan. I could not attend Jannat 2 music launch as I was in Jaipur with Pooja (Bhatt) for the shooting of Jism 2.
“I believe Emraan is big enough to hold a film as he is a star now,” said Bhatt. Bhatt’s concentration is fixated on promoting his Blood Money’s lead actor Kunal Kemmu, who also featured as a child star in the film-maker’s hit film Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke. “Kunal Kemmu is not a star which is why I’m investing all my energy in promoting his film. He needs me now, Emraan does not need me,” Bhatt said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2012.
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