Want to keep doing commercial masala films even when I’m 70: Jeet

The actor-producer believes there’s always a market for hardcore potboilers

Want to keep doing commercial masala films even when I’m 70: Jeet

In Tollywood, where many actors are shifting to urban-centric projects, Jeet is a standout as the only one sticking to mainstream masala films. Confident in his choice, he believes this genre has a unique fan base and he plans to continue with such films even in his 70s. Citing examples of Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, who excel in mainstream cinema despite their age, Jeet draws inspiration from the megastars. Following the success of ‘Chengiz’, the first Bengali film released simultaneously in Hindi and pan-India, Jeet is ready with ‘Manush’, exploring the conflict within individuals. ‘Millennium Post’ caught up with the actor-producer to talk about all things and movies.

We notice you make public appearances mainly around the time of a film release.

I make an effort to attend events, but I require a strong reason to do so. Otherwise, I am quite happy with the world around me. I am blessed with a beautiful family. My professional focus centers around my office and films and I focus on how to grow in whatever I am doing.

At a time when other actors in Tollywood are exploring diverse genres, you stand out as someone consistently choosing hardcore potboilers. What fuels this conviction?

I’ve also explored different film genres, but I find the hardcore potboilers have a different set of audiences, which is big and diverse. It’s not just about city theaters. People in the suburbs, whether in cinemas or on TV and OTT, enjoy this kind of content. This genre is where my journey and recognition started and I continue to feel excited working in it. While some actors may focus on city-centric films, I appreciate the broad appeal of mainstream masala content. The love and support I receive in this space are significant and not every actor can pull off this genre. I feel blessed to be here and to witness the enthusiasm for these films. Even icons like Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, well into their 70s, are thriving in mainstream films, proving that there’s always a market for hardcore potboilers, especially if something new and exciting is offered.

So, do you want to continue doing mainstream films when you turn 70?

If I am lucky enough, I’d love to keep doing mainstream commercial films when I turn 70. Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan are huge inspirations. Just see how they’re redefining mainstream masala films with every film, even at this age.

With ‘Chengiz’, you ventured into the Hindi market and now, with ‘Manush’, you are once again going pan-India. Can we expect a similar pan-India approach for all your future projects, including ‘Boomerang’?

We will definitely try. The whole idea is to reach out to the maximum number of people.

Were you happy with the Hindi box office collection of ‘Chengiz’?

Yes. We released the film Pan-India with zero expectations. When you have no expectations, every positive outcome becomes an added blessing. We saw a lot of houseful shows and achieved decent collections. While we’ve released Bengali films nationwide before, the response this time, especially after dubbing in Hindi, has been encouraging.

What made you take up ‘Manush’?

The same reason why I accept all my films. It’s the story that interested me. Be it any cinema, the writing has to be strong.

Do you think Tollywood lacks good mainstream movie writers?

I wish more writers were thinking big and crafting larger-than-life narratives. While many in the industry lean towards urban-centric and realistic films, I believe that encouraging mainstream cinema could lead to more expansive storytelling. Take Jeetu Kamal, for example. Before ‘Manush’, he expressed interest in films like ‘Switzerland’. Now, he wants to explore action films. Whenever we spoke, I encouraged him to consider mainstream films due to their broader audience appeal. It’s unfortunate that some capable actors here, who could excel in commercial hardcore films, are not exploring them enough.

Rohit Shetty’s cop universe or Yash Raj Films’ spy universe are bringing big Bollywood stars together on the big screen. When would we see such collaborations in Tollywood?

Maybe, now we will do it. I am open to the idea. Why do cameos when we can do a full-length film where there’s parallel space for everyone, be it Bumba da (Prosenjit Chatterjee), Dev, Ankush, Yash and myself.

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