Mention the similarities between Knock Out and the Hollywood blockbuster Phonebooth and he completely rubbishes the idea. “It has nothing to do with Phonebooth. It’s only a coincidence that there is a movie like that,” he says. Sanjay is all praises for his co-star Irrfan. “When Irrfan bhai said yes to the movie, I was very excited because he is a fantastic actor who has done some great work here and abroad. It was an experience and a lesson working with him,” he tells.
Having being in the industry for around three decades, Sanjay talks about the changes the industry has seen. “The quality of the films has improved a lot. The cinema is getting tighter. Today, nobody has the time to sit in the theatre for three hours,” he says. “Also cinema is getting bigger commercially. Big money is coming in. I remember when I started my second film I was paid a lakh of rupees which is nothing today,” he adds. But he also says that the changes have come at a price. “Earlier, there was a lot of bonding and interaction between the actors and the technicians. It was just like a big family. There used to be healthy competition but now there are a lot of fighting and camps,” he adds.
Calling Naam as the defining film in his career, he says, “It turned the tables for me. After that movie, I became an actor from being a star.” And what is it that he enjoys playing the most. “I just enjoy cinema. The script is very important for me. It is just like a story book you read,” he says. Talking about the style quotient of his movies he says, “These genres are amazing. Like in the action genre, there is a lot of style. But there was nothing stylish for Munnabhai, it was the script that made the movie,” he adds.
Speaking about the impact of the Munnabhai series, he says, “I feel that there is a lot of impact of such movies. Like in Lage Raho Munnabhai, people realised what Gandhiji had preached, which people had forgotten. Even I did not know much about it,” he says.
And is the third movie in the series coming soon? “Yes, the shooting of Munnabhai Chale America starts next May,” he informs.