They couldn’t do justice to the subject: Rajkumar Santoshi on `Kesari`


Rajkumar Santoshi’s Gandhi-Godse: Ek Yudh will open in cinemas this week, marking the director’s return after nine years. The long gap was not intentional. In 2016, he had announced Battle of Saragarhi, which was to depict the 1897 battle that saw 21 Sikh soldiers of the British-Indian army fight the 10,000-strong troop of Afghani tribesmen. “Randeep Hooda, who was cast as Ishwar Singh, lived like a sardar for two-and-a-half years. We had shot for 20 days, when Akshay Kumar and Karan Johar announced Kesari, based on the same subject. After that, our financial set-up, satellite and OTT talks came to a halt. I had to stop work on my film as I had no [financial] support to see it through,” laments the director. “We’re from the same fraternity. Yet, no one bothered to ask me if I was making the film. [They could’ve made] a courtesy call.” 

Rajkumar Santoshi

Over three years since the release of Kumar’s Kesari, Santoshi is ready to revive his project. He believes the epic battle deserves a retelling. “They couldn’t do justice to the subject. Even the get-up was not right. I want to make a film on it, hopefully next year.”

Also Read: Rajkumar Santoshi breaks silence on `Gandhi Godse-Ek Yudh` row: Watch it with an open mind

For now, Gandhi-Godse has his undivided attention. The drama marks his daughter Tanisha’s debut. Santoshi reveals he was initially skeptical about casting her. “If I scolded her on the set, she would complain to her mother [Manali], who would question me. I didn’t want all that. One has to work as an artiste. She promised me artistic discipline before I cast her.” Unlike star kids who are launched as the lead in projects, Tanisha plays a supporting role. “No role should be big or small. I’m not making a film for her. She fit the bill, so I gave her a chance to work. Her hard work and merit should take her ahead.”

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