Though Rohit Shetty is the number one director today with maximum hits, super-hits and blockbusters under his belt, there was a time when he was known most for his ‘flying cars’ action sequences. Of course, he has lamented this tagging, and rightly so since there is so much that goes behind putting together such dangerous stunts. However, much before Rohit Shetty came into the scene, there was one filmmaker who was known for such dare devil sequences in his films.
The man was Guddu Dhanoa and in his many collaboration with Sunny Deol, he made sure that such edge-of-the-seat sequences were a must in his action entertainers.
Though he had to his credit a solid hit Elaan, followed by Tu Chor Main Sipahi (both of which were Akshay Kumar starrers), he struck gold with Sunny Deol when they came together Ziddi. Today marks 23 years of the film and back then on its release, Ziddi had turned out to be a solid superhit. Made at a budget of around 8 crores, a good amount back in time with a chunk of it spent on the action sequences, the film more than doubled its investment and closed around the 20 crores mark. It took a huge opening too of around 1 crore, a major number back then.
Sunny Deol was of course a major superstar back in 1997 and with this film, he became even bigger. As a commoner turned gangster, he made sure that this ‘masala’ entertainer turned out to be powerful enough. Moreover, his ‘jodi’ with Raveena Tandon worked too, with Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen and Sameer’s ‘Mera Dil Le Gayee’, ‘Hum Tumse Na Kucch’ and ‘Kaale Kaale Baal’ emerging chartbusters.
However, what the film is remembered most for are the various twists and turns, and especially the action sequences that kept the narrative truly thrilling. Particularly exciting (and unbelievable, especially at that time) was an action sequence set on a highway featuring a barrage of cars that went up the air with multiple explosions all around. There were no cables or green screen that did the job back then and hence everything that happened was real and live, with stuntmen truly putting their lives in danger.
A year later the same team of Sunny Deol, Guddu Dhanoa and Raveena Tandon came together for Salaakhen, which was set on the same formula. The film was made at a higher budget but unfortunately flopped at the box office. This time around though, the action was set on a bus and the sequence is remembered amongst action aficionados.
Joginder Tuteja tweets @tutejajoginder