Diljit Dosanjh was very sombre: Ali Abbas Zafar on Jogi’s hair cutting scene; told crew ‘lock your cameras, leave’

Filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar has spoken about a scene in his latest release Jogi, set during the 1984 anti-Sikh violence, in which actor-singer Diljit Dosanjh’s character chops off his hair. In a new interview, Ali recalls Diljit Dosanjh telling him that the scene is the ‘soul of the film’, adding that it became the ‘pivotal point in the film’. He also said that he wanted to do the scene in a single take and asked his technical crew to ‘lock your cameras and leave’. (Also Read | Jogi director Ali Abbas Zafar says film was ‘impossible’ without Diljit Dosanjh)

In Jogi, Diljit who essays the role of a Sikh cuts off his long hair during the riots to save his family and other members of the community. The film explores the agony of the Sikh community in Delhi following the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In October 1984, violence erupted in the national capital and other parts of the country in which over 3,000 Sikhs were killed across India.

Speaking with India Today, Ali Abbas Zafar said, “So when Diljit read the script, I asked him ‘should we edit out something if it is insensitive?’. And he said nothing. He said whatever you have written is what actually happened. He was the first one to tell me this scene is the soul of the film. This is the biggest sacrifice anyone who belongs in this community will make to save the lives of people from that community. And that is why that scene became the most pivotal point in the film. When I came on set, I placed my cameras and I said we cannot do this scene three or four times, I will have one take. I told my technical crew, I would have one take, do whatever you have to do, and then I said lock your cameras and leave.”

He added, “Diljit was very sombre. We spoke for five minutes and I told him what I wanted him to feel. And I said no one can explain it better than you yourself. I can just give you a little bit of motivation, but I don’t want to direct you in this scene. This is your scene, you have to own it. And everything that Diljit has done in the scene is all his. And I feel super emotional talking about the scene. There were 5-6 people and they couldn’t look at it. They were looking down and they had tears in their eyes because it’s something that you can only feel when you watch the film about what this man is doing.”

Apart from Diljit, Jogi also features Kumud Mishra, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Hiten Tejwani and Amyra Dastur. The film is produced by Ali along with Himanshu Kishan Mehra. The film premiered on Netflix last week.

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