Mumbai: Whether it is the National Award-winning biopic "Mary Kom", a film like "Sarbjit" or the upcoming biopic "PM Narendra Modi", producer Sandip Ssingh has always shown interest in stories of an individual's journey. He says he was told it was a risk to do a film on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but he was convinced it would motivate people to "dream big".
Expressing his passion towards biopics, Ssingh told IANS here: "Whether it is the story of Mary Kom, Sarbjit or our current prime minister, their stories touch my heart. As a creative mind, we have to understand that the business of films has changed, where the box office collection depends on the story and not the star.
"The last year is proof of that. So, I want to be a part of stories that create an impact on our mind. An individual's story always inspires me."
Why did he choose to make a biopic on Modi?
"I wanted to make a film on him because his life journey is really inspirational, but from the time I started pitching the idea to people, everyone said it is too risky to do it because he is a sitting prime minister and people have an opinion on him. For the last four years, I looked for support from the industry and finally, people are on board... I did not give up," said the young producer.
Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi will play Modi on the big screen.
Initially, there was talk about Paresh Rawal playing Modi on-screen, Ssingh told IANS: "I have heard since 2014 that Paresh Rawal will be playing Narendra Modi's character in a film based on the PM's life journey. But we have never approached or met Pareshji regarding that. Having said that, I wish him all the best on his film."
"There were several reasons why we have chosen Vivek for the title role. Firstly, we wanted to cast an experienced actor and a great performer. Vivek has been working in the entertainment industry for the last 18 years. He is one of those versatile actors who has made his mark in different genres films like 'Company' and 'Saathiya' with equal ease."
If experience and acting skills were the requirement, Paresh is undoubtedly a more celebrated actor who has delivered impactful performances in films like "Sanju" and "Uri: The Surgical Strike".
Ssingh, who has earlier closely worked with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, said: "I wanted an actor who can dedicate a huge time even before the film start shooting. Since the story is capturing the journey of Modiji from the beginning of his life, I was looking for an actor who can play his part from the 20s and 60s with a certain flexibility. That way, Vivek is in the right age, who can play the younger and older parts."
The film "PM Narendra Modi" will be directed by Omung Kumar, who earlier collaborated with Ssingh for biopics like "Mary Kom" and "Sarbjit".
As most of the biopics tend to show the central character in a positive light rather than showcasing the criticised side of the personality, will he maintain the level of honesty in the film as a producer?
"Why should I hide any downside of his journey? Ups and downs are a part of our life. We are making the film with integrity and the idea of making it is to open up to people with a story that inspires many people from a humble background to dream big. We will try to tell the story with our heart in the right place."
Did he discuss it with the PM before announcing the project?
"No, I did not talk to him regarding this... I have spoken to my inner conscious," Ssingh said.