Actor Randeep Hooda is making his debut as a director with the upcoming Swatantrya Veer Savarkar, but for a large part of the film’s production, director Mahesh Majrekar was helming the project. It was in May 2021 that Mahesh was announced as the director, but by September 2022, he officially quit the film. Now, in a new interview, Mahesh has stated his reasons for backing out of the film.
In an interview with Bollywood Hungama, Mahesh said that he was hurt, as it seemed like “Randeep had planned to slowly ease (him) out of the film.” Mahesh claimed that the biopic was his project, and he was the one who’d brought the producers Anand Pandit and Sandeep Singh onboard, and then cast Randeep in the lead role. The director said that when he signed Randeep, he seemed sincere, but eventually, Mahesh realised that they were not seeing eye-to-eye even at the scripting stage. He said that he did not want any interference, because he wanted to be responsible for the film’s success or failure, and did not want to blame anyone.
After the two somehow managed to resolve their differences regarding the script, more issues cropped up because Randeep, according to Mahesh, “wanted to incorporate Hitler, the King of England, the Prime Minister of England, etc.” The filmmaker added, “He wanted to incorporate Lokmanya Tilak’s ‘Swaraj is my birthright and I’ll get it’ episode. I wondered how all this matters to Savarkar’s biopic.” He also added that Randeep had “read too many things” and that his “reading now became a liability.”
Mahesh claimed that Randeep even wanted to include factually incorrect episodes in the film, like a scene between Bhagat Singh and Savarkar which left him “appalled.” The director said that Randeep “got too involved” and every time he went to meet him, he would be dressed as the freedom fighter. “I didn’t want to communicate with Savarkar. I wanted to make a film on Savarkar. This left me no room to reason out with him,” he said.
Mahesh said that he put his foot down when Randeep started interfering in his direction. “He then started telling me that I can shoot in a particular way and then put the dissolve transition. I was like, ‘Now he’s telling me how to make films’. I made it clear that I am going to direct my way,” he said, and added that he told the producers that it they would have to choose between him and Randeep, because he could not work on the project together any longer. He added, “It was my story. I wanted to make the film my way. That is why I got the producers on board. I am not questioning Randeep’s sincerity. But there’s a difference between sincerity and obsession.”
He also questioned Randeep’s transformation, after the actor told him that he had been to “death and back for this film.” “Who told you to lose so much weight? Tomorrow, if he has to play a dead man, will he be dead? What rubbish is this! It’s okay if you lose weight. That’s your preparation. But don’t claim that he could have died. Nobody forced you to do it,” he said. Mahesh said that it was Randeep’s “obsession” that “killed the film” for him.
A recent report by Bollywood Hungama claimed that Randeep is now involved in a legal tussle with the film’s producers Anand Pandit and Sandeep Singh, as he has claimed that his company is the sole owner of all the intellectual property rights to the film.