Anil Sharma, who earlier made “Gadar : Ek Prem Katha”, told IANS: “Salman was not just the main actor in ‘Veer’, he was also the writer. We had a lot of differences of opinion. The way he narrated the story and the way I perceived it as a director were different.
“Moreover I brought in other writers Shailesh Verma, Shaktimaan (who wrote my ‘Gadar’) and Krishna Raghav. Raghav did all the research. So Salman’s story has been interpreted in the way I thought right.”
He said Salman insisted that Anil watch his source of inspiration, the Yul Brynner-Tony Curtis 1962 film “Taras Bulba”. “But we couldn’t get a single print of the film. So I had to make do with the images that I had in my mind from childhood.
“They made the film in Russia last year. I saw that version. ‘Taras Bulba’ was the story of the father Yul Brynner, played by Mithun Chakraborty in my film. ‘Veer’ is not the father’s story. It’s the son Salman’s story. And we had to relocate the entire story from 16th century Russia to colonial India,” Anil said.
While Salman Khan has become the face of “Veer”, the director has taken a backseat so far.
Speaking up finally he says, “For three years now all kinds of things have been said and written about ‘Veer’ and my relationship with the project and actors. The truth is we were making a very difficult film. And there were bound to be creative differences. But we sorted them out.”
Anil admits he never wanted Salman’s favourite composers Sajid-Wajid to do the music of “Veer”. “I had heard their tunes in his earlier films and I was sure Sajid -Wajid weren’t the right ones for a period drama like ‘Veer’. I met them reluctantly and was surprised by their understanding of Hindustani music. We worked really well together. And the fact that I could convince Gulzar saab to work with Sajid-Wajid was a stroke of luck.”
He also brushes off talk of “Veer” being an epic like “Gadar”.
“Please don’t expect ‘Gadar’ in ‘Veer’. ‘Gadar’ was far more dramatic and emotional. ‘Veer’ is targeted more at today’s younger audiences,” he said.
Talk is that Salman Khan had apparently first gone to his friend Sanjay Leela Bhansali to direct “Veer”. When Bhansali declined, Salman vowed to make the same story with another director. Anil Sharma was chosen because of “Gadar”.