Home / Interviews / Interview : Omung Kumar – ‘’Bhoomi just landed in my lap.”

Interview : Omung Kumar – ‘’Bhoomi just landed in my lap.”

Omung Kumar is one of the very few directors today who’s well known as a successful Director and Production designer in Bollywood film industry. Omungmade his directorial debut with the 2014 biological sports drama film ‘’Mary Kom’’ and also came up with his second film ‘’Sarbjit’’ in 2016 both ofwhich were commercially and critically successful at the box office. Now he again has his upcoming film.

So what is the story behind ‘Bhoomi’?
Actually to be frank, the story behind ‘Bhoomi’is very interesting. It just landed in my lap. I remember I and my partner Sandeep of Lenin Studios had gone to Sanjay Dutt with 4 scripts out of which originally I was going to only produce ‘Bhoomi’but Sanjay Dutt sorted out through all the 4 scripts and liked Bhoomi’s script very much and he just said that this is going to be my comeback film since it had lots of fighting, action and the role which he felt is perfect for him and asked me that why don’t you direct this film ? It’s very rare as generally actors choose the directors but here Sanju baba himself chose me for directing his comeback film. That is how ‘Bhoomi’landed in my lap.

Since it’s Sanjay Dutt’s comeback film, do you feel that your responsibility as a director had increased ?
Yes, I definitely agree that since Sanjay Dutt had himself chosen me for directing his comeback film the responsibility as a director had increased for me. During the shoot of the film for first 1 or 2 months, it was like this is Sanju Baba’s comeback film but after that it was like I have to make a very good, and true to life realistic film which I can be proud of. Afterwards you just forget that it’s a comeback film till before the release of the film during interviews people try to remind you by asking that since it’s a comeback film do you feel pressurized that time you just say that till now I didn’t feel the pressure, but now after you’re reminding me again and again, I am starting to feel the pressure.

What do you feel can maybe work as a lucky charm for Sanjay Dutt’s ‘Bhoomi’?
I can say that Sanjay Dutt is the dark horse that keeps on fighting with all adversities and difficulties in life and always emerges out as victorious in the end. He has faced so many difficulties and problems in his life yet he always emerges as victorious and successful. It is like there’s a legacy that he’s carrying forward that whenever he has emerged victorious, entire film industry and all his fans have loved him more and welcomed him with open arms and this factor can maybe work very well in his career as a lucky charm right now with this film.

Did you notice any change in Sanjay Dutt while shooting this film ?
Yes I felt that he has become more emotional after his release from jail. Any other emotions that he had regarding that, yes it was a part of the film and the script demanded intensity in those type of emotions that Sanju baba did effortlessly. It was like if a person learns cycling, he never forgets it same was with Sanjay Dutt.

How was your experience of meeting Sanjay Dutt for first time ?
I remember it very clearly that first when I had gone to meet him, he seemed like a very normal person to me. All the pre conceived notions about him in my mind had just ended then and there itself. He just hugged me during that meeting and made me a brother. I felt like I knew him from past so many years and didn’t feel like I was meeting him for first time. So yes I had a wonderful and great time meeting him.

During the shooting of Bhoomi, was there any moment where you felt like Sanjay Dutt was out of character ?
No. infact after meeting him, I had just set this thing in my mind that I only want the character of ‘’Arun Sachdeva’’ (Sanjay Dutt) in film to pan out beautifully on the silver screen without any interruptions and hindrances and exactly that was happening throughout the entire shooting of the film. I recall that there was not a single moment during shooting that I felt like Sanjay Dutt is out of his character and it was so exceptional that I felt like really ‘’Arun Sachdeva’’ is shooting and not Sanjay Dutt.

Was shooting action sequences in ‘Bhoomi’difficult for you ?
No. I had shot some action sequences during filming and shooting of Mary Kom (2014) but that was a different type of action altogether. The action sequences in ‘Bhoomi’are totally different from normal action movies to be honest. It was like heroine is also the hero of the film as ‘Bhoomi’(Aditi Rao Hydari) is playing her role as a daughter that’s fun loving, chirpy, naughty, plays pranks on her father (Sanjay Dutt) and you can just connect with the story itself since it deeply explores all layers of a father – daughter relationship throughout the film.

As a director, did you get the creative satisfaction from Sanjay Dutt during shoot of film ?
Yes a lot, as you know what you’ve written in the script and when you actually start shooting the same scenes in the script you just tend to forget everything else around you. It is like Sanjay Dutt didn’t rehearse his dialogues at all while shooting of the film was going on. He was a one take actor who liked to give a perfect shot in a single take. Basically he knew the entire story like the back of his hand and if there was a 1 page dialogue with 10 lines then he would just say one line and rest he would just express and emote through his facial expressions and that one dialogue that he would say was so impactful that the scene would come out more beautifully then what was expected. So I got a lot of creative satisfaction from Sanjay Dutt during shoot of the film.

Was Aditi the original choice for playing the role of ‘Bhoomi’in film ?
Yes definitely Aditi was the original choice for playing the role of ‘Bhoomi’in the film. When I had approached Aditi for the same, she firstly couldn’t give dates for film since she had some other prior film commitments and had issue of giving dates due to that but I thank god that she somehow managed to push her other film commitments ahead and finally said yes for the film. The role of ‘Bhoomi’was like a perfect fit for Aditi and was a tailor made role for her.

Were you the tough task master on set when both the actors would crack jokes during shoot ?
Yes I was the tough taskmaster on set during shoot of film. I recall that in between the shooting of the film, their habit of cracking jokes while shooting had increased so much that I had to become a little strict with both of them. Basically whenever they used to crack jokes while shooting, I used to call both of them and tell them that scene hasn’t come out as proper so do it again and then both of them would become quiet as they were scared of me.
You always direct intense films, so can we expect some light hearted comedy, horror films in future ?
Yes it’s true that my recent films have been intense films but I also will make light hearted comedy films in future but about horror films right now I can’t say anything at the moment since I’ve not given much thought about it.

Tells us something about your upcoming projects in future ….
Yes I’ve announced two films i.e. ‘’The Good Maharaja’’ with Sanjay Dutt and ‘’Five’’ for my upcoming projects in 2018 but can’t reveal much about those films right now since it’s too early to say and they’re in the nascent development stage right now.

Did you meet Shyam Singh Ji’s family in Jamnagar for getting approval on Script of ‘’Good Maharaja’’ ?
No actually I did not go to Jamnagar for meeting Shyam Singh Ji’s family for getting approval on Script of ‘’Good Maharaja’’ but yes they’ve sent their feedback to me and some of family members are going through the script while some are not there.

So how are you going about in making ‘’Good Maharaja’’ ?
Basically I am going to make this film through Poland and it is not going to be only a Hindi language film as it will be released in Polish and Hinglish (Hindi + English) Language and will be like a bi lingual film. The subject of film was so fantastic that I am glad to be making this film with Sanju Baba but will take a lot of time to be made and released in India and globally as well.

Why will Good Maharaja be made in Polish Language ?
It will be made in that language since The Poland Government is sanctioning and backing the film. In Poland, they’ve named a chowk as ‘’Good Maharaja Chowk’’. Basically they’ve given the name to the chowk from where the title of the film is taken. It is not my original title.

Your film is releasing with ‘’Haseena Parkar’’ on same day so will there be any Box office clash and how much theatres did you get for releasing the film ?
Yes definitely there’ll be a clash at the box office as whenever two big films release on same day there’s bound to be a clash at Box Office, but it would’ve been much better if ‘Bhoomi’would have been the only single release. Every film has their own target audience which is their market so yes I don’t know much about theatre screen space.

Why are you always more inclined towards Biopics ?
Actually both my previous films just happened by chance. Like during my first film, I was looking at some actors for a movie and it didn’t materialize so ‘’Mary Kom (2014)’’ happened. During my second film, also ‘’Sarbjit (2016)’’ happened. It’s not like I purposely just searched for biopics they just happened but yes Biopics are very interesting as we have to do everything right from scratch like from a zero to making a hero out of it. But ‘Bhoomi’isn’t a biopic as it’s a fully commercial family oriented action and revenge film.

‘Bhoomi ’releasing next week on 22nd September 2017.

Watch the trailer here!

– Vrinda Mundara

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