June 11, 2002 
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Jackie: The workaholic
With four films, the actor has his plate full

Ronjita Kulkarni

Jackie Shroff has his hands full. Two films that he stars in, Devdas and Agnivarsha are all set for release in the next two months.

But, unlike most film personalities, the actor will not take things slow. He has already begun shooting for David Dhawan's latest film Ek Aur Ek Gyara, starring Govinda and Sanjay Dutt, produced by Subhash Ghai's Mukta Arts Limited.

When asked about the film, Jackie claims he knows nothing. "Subhashji called me up and included my name in the cast. I do not have the guts to ask him about the script."

Subhash Ghai was responsible for Jackie's first break with Hero. Says Jackie, "Mukta Arts and I were born on the same day. I am still growing with Mukta Arts. I never ask for a script when it comes to Subhash Ghai. I just do whatever he asks me to."

Jackie is appreciative of the recognition Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas has brought Indian cinema. "I am very excited about the film. I am happy it went to Cannes and am sure many more films will go there too. We have crossed borders and are reaching out with our films. Soon, we will have a big market. The first weekend's collections of Spider-Man in India was Rs 500 crore. If our films go abroad, we will do the same kind of business," he asserts.

But the actor has an axe to grind. "I am the most senior actor in Devdas, yet I was not invited to Cannes. I guess these things happen in the industry."

Speaking about Arjun Sajnani's Agnivarsha, he says, "Agnivarsha is based on Girish Karnad's play. I play a Mahapurohit [chief priest]. The king asks me to perform a yagya [sacrifice] to evoke Lord Indra because there has been no rain in our village for seven years. It is a very interesting role. The film is shot in Hampi [in the southern Indian state of Karnataka]."

The actor is also busy with Sandhya (produced by wife Ayesha Shroff), Nagesh Kukunoor's Three Walls, Kaistad Gustad's Boom, Sorab Irani's Bottomline and Kushan Nandy's 88 Antop Hill.

"I work instinctively. If I like something, I do it," Jackie says. Though he may not have a career strategy, his philosophy "jitna achcha director, utna achcha mein" [I am as good as my director], seems to have paid off.


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