Teaming up with Barjatya for the first time on Uunchai, Amitabh Bachchan shares how the director has a unique way of appreciating his actors
A still from the film
Having a Sooraj Barjatya film is a matter of pride for an actor. Anyone who has worked with Barjatya will tell you that the soft-spoken director is a man of few words, keeping his praise and critique to the bare minimum. This often left the cast of Uunchai—comprising Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Parineeti Chopra, Neena Gupta, Sarika and Nafisa Ali—in a quandary, as they wouldn’t understand whether the director was happy with their shot or not. However, as filming progressed, the actors realised that he had a unique, and almost involuntary, way of expressing his appreciation.
A source reveals, “During shoots, Sooraj is quiet and almost poker-faced, and does not react at all. Since many of these actors were collaborating with him for the first time, they used to look to him for feedback on their shots. But soon, they realised he has a habit of doing a small jump whenever a shot has turned out perfectly.” The source adds that on the last day of filming, Bachchan, Kher and Irani mimicked Barjatya’s jump to show him how much they enjoyed collaborating with him. At a recent promotional event, the senior actors repeated the act, leaving the filmmaker in splits.
Amitabh Bachchan and Sooraj Barjatya
Reflecting on his first association with Barjatya, Bachchan shares that it was a delight to discover his quirky way of appreciation. “When Sooraj is happy with the shot, he smiles and does this little, involuntary jump. Then, we all know we have done well,” beams the megastar. Irani adds that the director has a distinct way of expressing his dislike as well. “When Sooraj is not happy, he lets out this little sound, and says, ‘It was a nice shot, but the camera was out. So let us take another shot.’”
For Barjatya, Uunchai—which revolves around three senior friends who trek to the Himalayas to fulfil their deceased friend’s last wish—is a special project. The director says that teaming up with the veteran actors has enriched him. “Amitji teaches us discipline and to shoot at one go. Anupamji is someone I go to when I need advice. He can connect with the technicians, crew and everyone. Bomanji’s sense of humour puts everyone at ease. Neenaji and Sarikaji are wonderful artistes. Working with them was a learning experience.”