For all those who savoured the television in the early nineties, will surely swear by the impeccable hosting skills of Omung Kumar, popularly called as ‘O.K’. Little did anyone know that Omung Kumar will one day be ruling the silver screens with films that will redefine Bollywood in its own sweet manner. Testimonies to the same are in the form of his path-breaking films like Mary Kom and Sarbjit. These days, Omung Kumar is extremely busy with the release of Sanjay Dutt’s comeback film Bhoomi, which he has directed.

Satish Sundaresan of KoiMoi met up with the multi-talented Omung Kumar for an exclusive interview. Here are the excerpts:

How does it feel to be ‘Omung Kumar’ right now?
Right now? Well, I am very excited. Just two days to go for Bhoomi’s release! It’s the comeback film of Sanjay Dutt… I just could not have asked for anything more!

Omung Kumar
“The 1st Day When Sanjay Faced The Camera, He Was Nervous”- Omung Kumar

Cite the reasons as to why you chose the following actors:

Aditi Rao Hydari
Petite and a fabulous actress. She fitted the bill of Bhoomi’ completely. She has an endearing quality of makes you fall in love with her instantly.

Sharad Kelkar
Baritone voice, aggressive, stands tall in front of Sanjay Dutt and gives complete onscreen competition to him

Sidhant Gupta
Firstly, I did not want anyone with a typecast image. Secondly, Sidhant is a vulnerable newbie who looks extremely good onscreen with Aditi Rao Hydari.

Shekhar Suman
Old friend. His comic timing is fantastic. He is the humour element in the father-daughter’s life in Bhoomi. Whenever he comes on the screen in the film, you will surely smile.

Sunny Leone (for the item number)
I wanted eye balls in the film. It’s my first item song. Let me tell you that the song is very crucial to the film. Hence, I won’t call it as an item song. It carries the film forward.

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It is being said that you had never planned of directing Bhoomi initially.It just fell on your lap. How did that happen?
Yes. I was producing the film. My partner Sandeep took me along to show the trailer of Sarbjit to Sanjay Dutt. We had about 3-4 scripts that we presented to Sanjay Dutt. He, then, put aside everything else and told us that he wanted to be a part of Bhoomi, as somewhere it matched his thinking. At that time, he told me as to direct the film as well besides producing it. I immediately accepted the offer. The rest, as they say, is history.

How was it being at the ‘receiving end’ of the Censor Board who had ordered a few cuts? Are you unhappy or upset?
Nothing of that sort. There were 13 cuts in all and we agreed to that happily. We knew that the cuts would be there; because it’s a very sensitive subject and they (Censor Board) were only doing their job.

Is it true that Sanjay Dutt got emotional after wrap-up of Bhoomi?
Yes, he did. Reason being after a long time he was facing the camera. The first day when Sanjay Dutt faced the camera, he was nervous and the last day, he was emotional.

In a nutshell, how would you like to describe Bhoomi?
It’s a full-on and complete Bollywood cinema. It’s a film about father-daughter. It’s also a revenge drama. The viewers will surely identify with the characters.

You are working again with Sanjay Dutt in The Good Maharaja, a film which has been based on Maharaja Jam Sahib Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji. Is that the real title or a working title?
It’s the real title. It’s a title that the Poland government had given to the Maharaja. They conferred on him the title of ‘The Good Maharaja’. The movie will be made in Polish, English, and Hindi.

Recently, there was a photograph of Sanjay Dutt in the attire of a Maharaja. Was that a look test or was it a fragment of someone’s imagination?
Nopes! It was not a fragment of anyone’s imagination as we only did it. It was us who did that, so as to show Sanjay Dutt as to how he would look in the attire of the Maharaja.

Is it true that Rani Mukerji has been signed as the female lead in the film?
No no! It was just a rumour that was going on.

Rumour about being in The Good Maharaja?
Neah! I am working on another film titled Malang, for which the rumours had started about us approaching Rani Mukerji. Nothing of that sort has happened.

What’s the progress on your next film Five?
Five got pushed because I was busy with my other commitments. I am waiting for the actors’ dates. In between that, there will be one more film, which I cannot tell right now.

Is Five with Akshay Kumar?
No…

All of us know that you ruled the television space as the host of ‘Ek Minute’, one of the TV’s most watched game show. How do you see your transformation from being an ‘Ek Minute King’ to being a ‘King of three hours’?
(Smiles) It feels different, but, it’s in the same boundary line of entertainment. And, I simply love entertainment. From being an art director and a host to a director is a leap. I say so because I have not assisted anyone.

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