‘Janhit Mein Jaari’ director Jai Basantu Singh reveals his tryst with Sanjay Leela

Director of Nushratt Bharuccha‘s ‘Janhit Mein Jaari‘, Jai Basantu Singh has a strong connection to idol Sanjay Leela Bhansali. One of his early experiences of working with SLB left an indelible imprint on Jai’s psyche. He recalls, “I was occupied with some commitments back in 2011 when the folks at Sony called and informed me that they have roped in Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali as an integral part of the X-factor show. I instantly knew I couldn’t miss this opportunity and in no time I was with him on set. Out of everything Sanjay sir said what remained with me is him telling me, ‘Jai, never compromise on your actor’s performances, no matter how many takes you require and how ever big the actor you are directing, never compromise’. This message has remained with me for years and I hope the same thing reflects in my movie ‘Janhit Mein Jaari’.”

There’s another common factor between Jai and SLB. They’re both devoted to their mothers. Jai says, “My mother is my greatest inspiration. She is a movie buff so I was exposed to movies from a very young age, even though I couldn’t understand them then. Over time the curiosity built up within me.” Talking about his early days and his first tryst with the movie world he says, “I was born and brought up in Mumbai, so it was comparatively easier for me to go and watch shoots. Most studios were in Goregaon. The more I bunked classes, the more I went to the sets and I got inclined towards the whole process of filmmaking in no time. I was always fascinated by the director in action, where he’s the captain of the ship, leading the entire set. Back then, I didn’t even know he was called a director, but I was certain I wanted to be this person on set who commands everyone and gets a lot of respect. While my friends were fascinated by actors, I was attracted towards the person commanding the actors.”

Jai is not shy of admitting that even with all the talent in the world, a little hustle is always a huge value addition to any budding career. He explains, “The most important lesson I’ve learnt is that no matter where you come from or what your background is, if you have the vision and talent, you will succeed. I remember I was directing campaigns, setting up television shows, and writing my script for a movie- all at the same time. I completed my script and started meeting people for the pitch. I witnessed more importance was being given to the people who arrived in luxurious cars, so I got myself one in order to be taken seriously. But that was only my shallow belief. This industry really functions on talent so people might get their chance to prove themselves little late but that has been a big learning experience for me.”

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