Actor-producer Jackky Bhagnani is all geared up for his next release Mitron, with is directed by Nitin Kakkar of Filmistaan fame.

In conversation with www.thestatesman.com, he talked about Mitron, how he coped up after his debut film work and several other things.

After three long years, you are returning to the silver screen. How is the feeling?

It is amazing as I know what I have gone through in these three years. I used to tell people I have lost weight; I have done lots of struggle, (I have) severe asthma, so I had to work very hard for myself before getting my first film. But when I came to this industry, I realised there is much more to struggle. My actual struggle started after my first film which didn’t do well. Still I was proving my existence. So after Welcome to Karachi, I came to a crossroad where I was like I needed to take a chill pill and realise which journey or road to take.

What was the feeling of sitting idle and not getting work after F.A.L.T.U?

I did F.A.L.T.U. which is clearly a successful film but when I get out I get a tag of ‘(he) got it easy’. For me, it was a dilemma in my head. If you like my film and it worked then I worked for it. (So what) the producer is my father. So it took me time to understand the dynamics and it came to a point where the only way I could grow was to step away from my father a little bit for some time, prove myself as an actor and then come back.

So, it took me three years to manage that so that I can proudly say how it feels like to struggle in real. There were days when I used to wake up and think I produced films like Sarbajit, Dil Junglee. My dad has been producing the films. Dad and I have been giving work to almost 300 families and I don’t have work.

So, it’s not the best feeling but it makes you a better person. It makes you understand what struggle is and value everything. And now I can proudly say that I have done struggle. People who said to me that you don’t know the meaning of struggle, I can tell them I have got the meaning of work struggle but you guys don’t know physical struggle.

How did Mitron come about?

I reached out to Nitin sir and I said to him that I wanted to work with you. At that time he was making Ram Singh Charlie. I kept meeting him, then a point came, I told him, sir, if you think I don’t deserve to be in your film as an actor then I would love to a film with you and my company will produce the film. That caught his attention, and he said I want to work with you as an actor, so that’s how Mitron happened.

How was it working with director Nitin Kakkar?

Validation from my father did not work for me; validation which I got for my existence came from Nitin Kakkar. He is my godfather after my father because I would be 31 this year and I have been working since the age of 15. I assisted Rehne Hai Tere Dil Mein, so technically I have got my first amazing film after 16 years. Nitin sir gave me such thing which I have been wanting since 16 years which my dad gave me of course but I never got validated for. At a point, I told dad that you should not work with me, as it’s taking your equity down. Aap raja ke bete ho ya rank ke, growth is what everyone requires. I have also a dream where my father has got the empire from zero to here, now can I take here to there.

How was it working with co-star Kritika Kamra?

Kritika is a great actor. I have seen people who keep asking her you were TV, I feel those lines are blurred, as in today’s scenario it doesn’t matter you work in TV, cinema or web series, feature film. What matters is good work. She is hard working, talented and is a very good actor apart from being a pretty looking girl. I think she has substance, you can sit down have a word with her, not just gossip but real conversation.

Your debut film ‘Kal Kisne Dekha Hai’ didn’t turn out to be good. How did you cope up with that?

Kal Kisne Dekha Hai jo Kisi ne bhi nahi dekha hai! I have no clue why I did that film. I was too young at that time and my dad said it is a great film; the hero is doing everything from drama to action to romance. I was 22 and had a hangover of Hrithik Roshan and in Kaho Nah Pyaar Hai. Hrithik did everything action, comedy. But I forgot that film is made by the director and not the producer, and my dad is a producer. But you learn all these things, making mistakes is not a problem but not learning from your mistake is a problem.

How did you cope up with negative things that surrounded you?

I had been criticised since my school days as I was fat and was not a good actor. And now I can proudly say that I can handle my criticism. When the trailer was out, 10% of me was nervous that a bit of trolling will be done as trolling and I go hand in hand. I was surprised there was no trolling, songs came out there was trolling. I checked my phone so many times. I have been great with this film. I want to thank media as I am getting so much love from them; they have pushed me so hard and kept me on my toes. I am thankful to all the people who made fun of me in school when I was fat that’s why I started losing my weight. Thankfully to media, as they have criticised me in a right way so I can go back and analyse. It took time to understand that they don’t hate me, they expect more from me.

What is your take on the reprised version of Chalte Chalte and Lata Mangeshkar not being happy about it?

Lata Ji said she was very sad that songs were being recreated and that she didn’t want to hear this song. She is a legend, so I don’t blame her. Hopefully, 30 years later if I become 10 per cent her, I will also say why you are spoiling our thing. But my only request is ma’am please hear the song, because we believe I don’t think we spoilt the sanctity of Chalte Chalte. We have kept the melody of the song and we have attached new melody and you can’t call it a remix. We have amalgamated the song. And if after this she feels we are wrong, then we are so. Lata Ji is right, she is always right.

A lot of talk has been going around that your film has a connection with PM Modi. Say something about it.

It is just because of the name Mitron. That is obvious because he is the one who has made this word popular all over the world. So, honestly we kind of knew about it. Our film is based on Mitron i.e. friends. It’s not that we are taking the title just for the sake of it, but it goes perfectly with our film and it has a very strong recall value, so it starts there and ends there. It has nothing to do with Modi Ji, or politics. The only common factor in Mitron would be Gujarati.

Who is your Mitr (friend) for life, with whom you share everything?

Gautam Gupta, he runs a studio called Future Works. He has been my best friend for 15-16 years.