May 21, 2002 
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Sanjay Dutt
Sanjay Dutt dons a new avatar
On the sets of Anarth.

Gautam Hegde

"Once the director says 'Action', I forget my identity completely," says Shweta Menon.

The model-turned-actress is shooting for Ravi Devan's Sanjay Dutt starrer Anarth in the blistering afternoon heat in Mehboob Studios, Mumbai.

The sets include a club with a dance floor. A song sequence is being shot. Choreographer Ganesh Acharya makes his artistes dance to a snappy Tujhko nahin pata sung by Jaspinder Narula.

The artistes have been rehearsing for a week. They wait patiently for the lead pair Sanjay and Shweta to get it right. A dancer complains about the heat --- the male dancers arrived on the sets at 9 am; the female artistes have arrived at 7 am.

Within a few minutes, Shweta gets her steps right. Dressed in pink hipsters and a backless top, she looks stunning. Sanjay [baba, as he is fondly called] is constantly on his cell phone. He wears blue jeans and a designer jacket, baring his sculpted chest under an unbuttoned shirt.

Sanjay gets his steps right soon and everyone applauds. The shot is okayed in two takes.

Sanjay rushes to his sleek Lexus for a smoke while Shweta obliges the journalists. "I play Sanjay's girlfriend who betrays him. This sequence is a confrontation after many years."

Is she happy with the way her career has shaped up? "I never wanted to become an actress. I come from an air force background. After I became Miss India, I was offered films. After a few films down South, I did a special number for Ishq (Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgan) and Bandhan (Jackie Shroff, Salman Khan).

Shweta Menon "The reason I did only dance numbers was not because there was a dearth of offers. I love dancing but acting is a passion. I waited for the right films," she says. Besides Anarth, the actress is doing Sanjay Jha's Pran Jaaye Par Chawl Na Jaaye, Ajay Chandok's Nehle Pe Dehla and a film with Kushan Nandi.

"I believe that success either comes overnight or slowly, but steadily. My aim is to do my job well. Patience always pays," she adds.

Meanwhile, some dancers give you inside stories about how some stars are very friendly and how some dance steps are changed instantly if the actors don't get them right.

It's Sanjay turn to oblige the journalists. "I play a don Iqbal Danger, who gets arrested. After he comes out of the jail, his lady love ditches him. He kills her new boyfriend and surrenders himself. Then he starts writing shayari [poetry] and becomes Attaullah Khan. He comes out of the jail and starts afresh by opening a club called Bewafa." Tired of answering, he leaves for another smoke.

Dutt's new releases include David Dhawan's Yeh Hai Jalwa (Salman Khan), Hum Kisise Kum Nahin (Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgan, Aishwarya Rai) and Sanjay Gupta's Plan (Sanjay Suri, Bikram Saluja, Dino Morea, Isha Koppikar, Rohit Roy), Sohail Khan's Maine Dil Tujhko Diya, J P Dutta's multi-starrer LoC and Ajay Chandok's Nehle Pe Dehla (Saif Ali Khan).

Sanjay Dutt This film is not a repeat of Mahesh Manjrekar's critically acclaimed Vaastav, which also had Sanjay in a don's role. Director Ravi Devan clarifies, "The only similarity between the two films is that he plays a Don. There is another family in the film which comprises two brothers --- Sunil Shetty and Ashutosh Rana --- and a sister (Preeti Jhangiani)."

Anarth seems to be yet another film based on the underworld theme, like Ansh, Aankhen and Company. "I want to make commercial films that cater to the masses. In Anarth, Sanjay Dutt is not an ordinary Don. He sings and dances too," says Devan.

"Action is my forte since I was a fight master before becoming a director. So this film will have action. But it also revolves around a family, though Sanjay is not a part of it," he adds.

This film marks the debut of cricketer Vinod Kambli, who plays Sunil's friend.

Besides Anarth, Devan is also directing Khabri -- The Informer.


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