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‘He saw funny videos before a serious scene’

Updated on: 03 June,2022 07:08 AM IST  |  Mumbai
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Stating that Dutt’s “unique personality” made him an apt choice to play Kaka Kanha, Samrat Prithviraj director on how the actor approached the intense role

‘He saw funny videos before a serious scene’

Sanjay Dutt in the film

When doing the groundwork for Samrat Prithviraj, it was the casting of Kaka Kanha that puzzled director Chandraprakash Dwivedi. The filmmaker’s extensive research had indicated that Kaka Kanha was a great warrior like nephew Prithviraj Chauhan, but not without his share of idiosyncrasies. The actor, playing the warrior, would also have to hold his own in front of Akshay Kumar who was chosen for the titular role. Dwivedi believed Sanjay Dutt fulfilled the two conditions. “The role demanded a unique personality with a sense of humour. Sanjay Dutt has both the qualities,” says the director. 

Dutt’s character is seen wearing a blindfold in the film. Legend has it that following an incident, Kaka Kanha vowed to behead anyone who sported a moustache, after which Prithviraj’s father Someshwar Chauhan convinced him to always wear a blindfold. “Kaka Kanha was deeply attached to Samrat Prithviraj. Their bond is an important part of the film,” says Dwivedi. 

Chandraprakash DwivediChandraprakash Dwivedi

For Dutt, the period drama — also starring Manushi Chhillar and Sonu Sood — was a change of pace after the heavy-duty actioner, KGF: Chapter 2. The director remembers how the actor was thrilled to breathe life into the character. “He was enthusiastic about sporting the distinct look, wearing the outfit and the armour. In fact, he had anticipated the armour to be heavier. But when he actually put it on, Sanjay was happy to notice that it was much lighter. Since he had previously trained in horse-riding and sword-fighting, he was comfortable. He has done many action films, so it came naturally to him.”

One would imagine that Dutt had his own method to get into the headspace of the warrior. But Dwivedi surprises us when he says, “Right before a challenging scene, Sanjay used to ensure that the mood was light. He used to call two people from the stunt team, who would show him some funny videos. He used to have a hearty laugh, so that he was in a good mood before [enacting] a serious scene.”

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