Director-producer Prakash Jha has spoken of “legendary top actors” selling gutkha (tobacco) and not wanting to work in his films. In a new interview, Prakash responded to his earlier remark that he struggled to cast stars. He also said he hadn’t done a movie with “a big star in a while.” Prakash also added that when stars take the time to sell tobacco to focus on content, they “automatically come to me.” (Also read | Prakash Jha Says He Will React To Boycott Trends When Good Movies Suffer)
When asked if he thought actors didn’t admit their movies, he said they didn’t have time as an actor who had “five flops, shot 12 commercials” and gets ” ₹10 crores for each of them”. Prakash also said that “his whole focus is on creating content.”
In an interview with Times of India, Prakash said, “There are 5-6 actors. Look at the condition of these actors. Why will they work in my films when they get ₹50 crores to advertise gutkha? Actors sell gutkha. Can you imagine? What are these top legendary actors doing? We had gone to a school to scout. The principal of the school asked me what you were doing in the film industry in Mumbai? The boys in our school are caught chewing gutkha. Take a walk up north through Lucknow, Prayagraj and Mugalsarai, there are big billboards where all our big stars are selling all types of gutkhas (tobaccos) and paan masalas.”
Speaking on the “star system”, he said: “What do we do with the system? Unless and until we correct our production process. The process of achievement doesn’t start with the money, it starts with the subject. the passion for filmmaking. It can’t start with the 500 crore funding you have, so you can do anything. That’s what happens… I didn’t stay idle even for a day. I produced content. I haven’t done a big star movie in a while, but I’ve done other stuff. It’s okay, I’m happy with it. When stars take the time to sell gutkhas and want to focus on content, they’ll automatically come to me.”
Prakash has directed several films over the past decades such as Parinati (1989), Mrityudand (1997), Dil Kya Kare (1999), Gangaajal (2003), Apaharan (2005), Raajneeti (2010), Aarakshan (2011), Pareeksha and Saand Ki Ankh (2019).
He also directed the web series Aashram, which stars Bobby Deol, Aaditi Pohankar, Darshan Kumar, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Tushar Pandey, Anupriya Goenka, Adhyayan Suman, and Vikram Kochhar, among others. The first season was released on MX Player in August 2020 and the second season on the OTT platform in November 2020. The third season was released in June 2022, and the series has been renewed for a fourth season, which is expected to release in the year. next.