Sanjay Gupta has had his share of ups and downs in the film industry and he is not ashamed of it. With films like Kaabil (2017), Shootout at Wadala (2013) and Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007) among others to his credit, filmmaker Sanjay Gupta completes 25 years in the film industry. “I could have done better and worked harder. But I don’t have any regrets. It’s been a wonderful journey. It has its ups and downs. It feels like I have just started and where the 25 years have gone, I have no answer to that,” says Sanjay on completing a silver jubilee in Bollywood. But Sanjay believes that things have changed in the industry. “I will talk about the people in the industry. I became a lot more professional but a lot less warm. We still have old school people, but the industry today is a lot more professional and colder,” he says. Sanjay has brought together a mega cast on-board for his upcoming film Mumbai Saga starring John Abraham, Emraan Hashmi, Jackie Shroff, Suniel Shetty, Prateik Babbar, Amole Gupte, Rohit Roy and Gulshan Grover. “Barring John and Emraan, we finalised everyone else in 24 hours and most of them over the phone. Suniel, Gulshan and Prateik had an idea about the script and they said that they are on. They didn’t even hear the script. We have that kind of camaraderie. I messaged Emraan and he wished to meet me. He heard the basic idea and came onboard. We always wanted to work together,” reveals Sanjay on casting the mega stars in Mumbai Saga. There is no nervousness or fear. Recently, I met a gangster who has spent his last 17 years in jail and has got released. We met in a quiet restaurant and had a long two-hour conversation because I wanted to know what went through his mind when he did what he did and how he is a reformed person today. They are ‘not wanted’ gangsters any more. I also keep meeting a lot of police officers and get their side of the story. Sanjay Gupta, filmmaker Sanjay adds, “When I was casting, I made sure that I had to do something unique (speaking about bringing John and Emraan onboard for the first time). From an age factor, Emraan suited the role very well. I have seen him doing my kind of films and he was fantastic in it. He has not done a film in that space for a long time. My agenda was to bring him back to that space where his audience has missed him.” While Sanjay will be working with Emraan and Amole Gupte for the first time, he has worked with the rest of the star cast earlier. “Amole is somebody I really wanted on board. He is going to be very busy as he is starting shooting his film Saina. I really went after him and said that I need a limited number of days and will adjust my schedule according to his. We finally got him and we are really happy.” His last films with John ( Zinda in 2006 and Shootout at Wadala in 2013) were seven years apart. “John is a very dear friend and a fantastic human being. Personally, we get along like house on fire. Even when we made films seven years apart and met, there’s never been a gap. The understanding between the two of us professionally and personally is tremendous. The kind of films I make, they are like larger than life and ‘macho man’-kind. He is a natural and perfect fit in my world. As an actor, the way he has been evolving is tremendous,” says Sanjay about his dear friend John. When asked about his female leads, Sanjay says, “They will be announced shortly. They have been finalized. They play very important characters. These men had their wives, girlfriends and mothers who played important part in their lives.” Sanjay says shooting is just around the corner. “I start shooting in July. It’s a Bombay (now Mumbai) centric film and most of it will be shot in Bombay. Parts of it may be shot in Gujarat and Pune. It’s going to be tough because the film is set on the ‘80s and ‘90s and we will be recreating a lot of Bombay that doesn’t exist in Mumbai now. There will be elaborate sets. But, we will be shooting at live locations which are surprisingly still unchanged over the years.”