Director Rensil D'Silva says it was not easy to direct Sanjay Dutt for upcoming film 'Ungli' at a time when the actor was getting ready to surrender and serve his remaining jail term in the 1993 bomb blasts case.
"It's never easy when someone is going to jail and you have to direct him. There was a grim mood on the set. But Sanju himself made things easy for all of us with his calm demeanour and professionalism. If he had not been comfortable, it would have been difficult for us direct him," he told PTI.
"I have known him for quite some time and I feel he has gone through enough in his life and I wish he does not have to undergo similar things. It is traumatic," he said.
The Supreme Court on March 21 upheld Dutt's conviction in the case and sentenced him to five years in prison. The 54- year-old actor is currently in Pune's Yerwada jail to serve the pending three-and-half years term.
After Rensil's directorial debut 'Kurbaan', Dutt expressed his desire to work with him.
"We felt a bit awkward... bad to go at his place or talk to him every day (after the conviction) and ask him to come for shoot when he was going through so much in his personal life. But I had to do it. We are lucky to have finished our work with him. There were 2-3 scenes to be shot for which I had waited for one-and-a-half month," he said.
Produced by Karan Johar, 'Ungli', starring Emraan Hashmi, Kangna Ranaut and Randeep Hooda besides Dutt, has had its own share of roadblocks.
Karan postponed 'Ungli's release from September 20 to a later date to avoid clash with Shahid Kapoor's 'Phata Poster Nikla Hero'. Reports also surfaced about creative differences between Karan and Shirish Kunder, who was editing the film.
"There had been delay in the release and one of the reasons was the Sanju factor. We had a delay in music department and then Shirish Kunder had to go as he had his own film to edit. Karan Johar gave away the release date to Shahid Kapoor for 'Phata Poster Nikla Hero'. So one thing after another held up the release of 'Ungli'," Rensil said.
Rensil hopes to finish the project by Christmas and release the film early next year.
"We are looking to release the film in January or February. The film is about friendship and it doesn't have too many songs. There is one promotional song and we are working on it," he added.