It feels good to get back to action after so many years-Sanjay Dutt

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This promises to be an action-packed year for you, with Vinod Bachchan’s Zila Ghaziabad coming up on February 22.
Yes, I have three releases coming up in quick succession with lots of stunts in store for the viewers. It feels good to get back to action after so many years. In between, the genre had taken a backseat to romance, comedy and family dramas, but now it’s back in a big way.
All three films have a lot of hand-to-hand combats, the kind you saw back in the’70s and the ’80s in Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) and Dharamji’s (Dharmendra) time. But while it’s hard-core and earthy, it’s a little more stylised. We use a lot of harnesses and wireworks during the shoots, and a lot of touches are added during post-production too. All this makes for exciting viewing.

There’s been a lot of speculation about whether Zilla Gaziabad is just another make-believe movie or a bio-pic inspired by the’90s gang war between two groups of Gurjars and a controversial police officer, Inspector Pritam Singh. So tell us, is it fact or fiction?
Definitely fiction, but every reel life story is drawn partly from real life and so is this one. But it’s not a bio-pic for sure.

Did you research Pritam Singh, the character you play, meet his family or talk to his colleagues in the course of your research?
I’ve never believed in researching a role. I don’t do any homework, I just do my work!

It’s said that in his time Pritam Singh would pull up young boys with long hair and snip off their locks with the reprimand, “Tu launda hai, laundiya nahin (You are a boy, not a girl).” Interestingly, the role model for these youths back then was bad boy Billu, your character in Khalnayak (’93).
(Laughs) Yeah, I’ve heard that story too, but I don’t know if it’s true.

And if it were true?
Well, Pritam Singh was doing his job, I’m doing mine. Cops haven’t often been projected in a positive light in Hindi cinema. Earlier, they were always the last to arrive on the scene, after the hero had bashed up the baddies so they could click on the handcuffs and haul them off to jail. Later, they were shown hand-in-glove with corrupt politicians, industrialists and even terrorists.

Will Zila Ghaziabad redeem the Bollywood’s police force?
I think films like Singham (2011) have already done that. Our cops are the best people to eradicate the society of its unsocial and anti-social elements. They need our support and that of the government to do their jobs better. To make the world a safer place they need more facilities, and we need a bigger force. We need dare-devil officers like Bajirao Singham, Pritam Singh and my character in Policegiri.

We’ve heard of Dadagiri and Herogiri, but never Policegiri. What does it mean?
Policegiri implies that no one is above the law and that’s the message the film conveys as well.

There is a very thin line between the law and what can be deemed technically lawful, but perhaps the only option sometimes to root out what Bollywood would describe as “evil”.
Yes, that’s true!

How do you ensure that you don’t over-step that lakshman rekha (boundry) and leave yourself open to enquiry and controversy, as happened with encounter specialist Daya Nayak and even Inspector Pritam Singh?
You can try, but it’s not always possible for these officers to stay within the law. They have been given the power to take the law into their own hands in their mission to put society that is coming apart at the seams, back together. Unless their motives are suspect, we should let them do their jobs because they are only doing it for us. They should be appreciated and not persecuted or prosecuted.

During Department, Mr Bachchan (Amitabh) had admitted that if approached he’d definitely like to be the ‘face’ for the Mumbai police. Wouldn’t you want to do something too to elevate the image of the force?
I’ve always had the highest respect for the uniform. Wearing it makes me feel very dedicated and committed to doing my job. It makes me feel patriotic and very protective towards society. I know that most of our cops feel the same way too. Wearing khaki changes you.
Yes, I think we should all get together and do something for the police of our country. As far as elevating their image is concerned, we can do it through our movies.

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