Atlee breaks down his ‘mass’ formula for Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan and talks about Sanjay Dutt’s cameo.
Jawan, Shah Rukh Khan’s second blockbuster of 2023, is going strong in the cinemas, now in its third week. The film marks the Bollywood debut of Tamil director Atlee and also features Nayanthara and Vijay Sethupathi in lead roles. Apart from these stars, Sanjay Dutt also made a cameo appearance in the film. In a chat with DNA, Atlee addressed how Sanjay Dutt came on board and chatted about his formula of ‘mass moments’.
Prior to the film’s release, their were reports that the role that Sanjay did was initially offered to Telugu superstar Allu Arjun. Atlee denies this and maintains Sanjay Dutt was always his and Shah Rukh’s first choice. “No, no. We had Madhavan Nair’s character from day one. That was the last step of the film, because it was climax. So at that point of time, me and Khan sir were discussing whom should we ask for and our first name was Sanju sir,” he says, when asked about the Allu Arjun rumour.
Talking about how easily Sanjay Dutt came on board, Atlee recalls, “I asked Khan sir and he called Sanju sir. He was nearby and he came to shooting spot, and we had a quick chat. And he likes Shah Rukh sir like anything, I could see that. So I was very confident that he’s going to do the film. Then he said, yes, let’s do this.” In fact, Atlee says he wanted a more formal yes but Sanjay was puzzled why it was needed. “We had one more meeting in this office. I went to his office. He asked, what is this meeting for. I said I have to say this and he just said ‘Nothing! I will come we will shoot. Then we narrated and did the look test,” he recalls laughing.
The conversaton moves to Sanjay as well as the film ‘s leading man Shah Rukh Khan and the director explains how he gives his actors ‘mass moments’ on screen – the whistle-worthy, clap-worthy moments in a film that serve only to present the hero (or villain) in a grand manner for the fans. “I love him. I don’t know what attracted me towards him, but he’s something else. He’s very contagious, and if you see him you will fall in love. He’s that kind of a person. So if a director loves the actor he can give a lot of these mass moments to them. We met for one or two days, but I could give those mass moments to him because I love him,” says Atlee.