Papa Vashu Bhagnani and son Jackky talk about their best friend.
When you think of Sholay, what you remember most is the dosti between Jai and Veeru. Now without drawing comparisons, this week’s release, Rangrezz starring Jackky Bhagnani, is also about two friends. After Hrs asked the actor and his producer papa about that one friend who meant the world to them. This is what they had to say...
Pooja, my wife, is my one and only dost. I met her 30 years ago, when I came to Mumbai to meet my sister Meera. There was an instant connect between us. Our parents met each other and we got married. At that time I used to live in a small 2BHK house in Kolkata. I was struggling to make ends meet. would sell saris door-to-door, carrying them on my head. After Pooja came into life, my financial situation started getting better.
I got myself a Bullet and then later a second-hand Ambassador. I consider her to be lucky for me. After marriage my business started flourishing. I cleared all my debts. Pooja is my friend, mother, sister, brother, father — everything. If she ever tells me to give up films, I will do it. I blindly follow whatever she says.
Soon after marriage, I came to Mumbai in search of new business. I always wanted to do something new. In 1995 I produced my first film Coolie No 1. After production I have ventured into electronics and construction. All my businesses are named after Pooja. I went on to make 22 films. My biggest setback came with Om Jai Jagdish in 2002. I even thought of giving up films. I had made a lot of money but I went bankrupt after OJJ.
Pooja was my biggest support system again. She went to a jewellery design course and started running our household expenses with whatever she earned. She never complained about the hardships. After blockbusters like Coolie No 1 and Hero No 1, I was known as the man with the Midas touch. After OJJ most people stopped calling me to their parties.
And even if I went, I left early because I would feel that I had been invited out of pity.
My friends lent me some money and Pooja and I started a construction business. Our first site was Ambedkar Road (Bandra). We would stand there everyday, under the hot sun, covered with dust. I never thought I will prosper again but soon our construction business started flourishing. God has been kind to us. Pooja has never asked me for anything till today though I have wanted to give her best. Now that our daughter is married and once Jackky’s career is established, I will devote my entire attention to Pooja.
I have known Gautam Gupta for 12 years. We are a group is four people: Satya, Zayed (Khan), Gautam and me. I am the youngest in the group but for all of us Gautam is a stand up guy. He is the kind of guy who thinks about his friends before himself.
He has always supported me. When I wanted to become an actor, he was my greatest support. When I was fat he talked me through my depression. He has had eight pack abs for the past 16 years and he was my inspiration to develop a fit body. Once when I was cribbing about not losing weight Gautam fired me, and said that if I don’t work towards it, how will I achieve the success? He tam has been there for me in my darkest times. The only advice he has always given me is ‘Don’t get affected by what others say — just keep at it and be positive.’
There have been some really tough times for me. Like the time after my first film flopped.
No one was taking me seriously. Gautam would console me. He would tell me that people can recognise hard work. He would push me not to get discouraged and say that an honest approach can never go waste.
Gautam is a martial arts expert. When he is training me it’s a sight to watch! My office is in Juhu and my food mainly comes from his house as he lives close-by. I keep telling him about my girl troubles and sometimes he gets sick of that but he has no choice (laughs).
He has played Cupid for me ample number of times. He is the first guy I call when I need a friend. A lot of my character in Rangrezz has been inspired by Gautam. Like the character, he always goes all out for a friend. Thirty per cent of the character is me — rest is Gautam. The whole attitude of being right has been inspired by me. All guys fight, but if we’ve never fought, the credit goes to him because he is very understanding.