Puneet Issar, Actor and Director

Puneet Issar, Actor and Director

Asit Dixit and Umesh Patil |
February 19, 2019

“Main aapse discuss kar loonga … sir ye main inki maar sakta hoon destroy kar sakta hoon kya hai wo wo we will talk the money then (I will disuses the idea then … I will tell I can screw them up, I can destroy them. So, we will talk the money [part] then).”

His punch that landed Amitabh Bachchan straightaway in Breech Candy Hospital, fighting for life, made Puneet Issar, what he could not have dreamt ever to become, famous overnight, although for wrong reasons. That was in 1983 many years before his assaying the role of chivalrous Duryodhana in TV serial Mahabharat, made him a household name. Born to film director Sudesh Issar, Puneet worked as assistant director in many films, including Amithabh Bachchan–Vindo Khanna starrer Khoon Pasina, before he took to playing villainy in Hindi films. Trained in martial arts, Puneet has acted in several films, both Hindi and regional, and TV serials, while directing some, such as the Salman Khan starrer, Garv. His twitter account shows about 1500 followers on Twitter and about 6000 followers on Instagram. Facebook has about 35,000 people.

We met Issar at Lokhandwala coffee shop Love & Latte. His friend Surendra Pal was also present in this meeting. It does not take much time for Issar to understand our agenda. While listening to our proposition, Issar reveals, “Aap manoge meri baat. Ye jo aap bol rahe ho na ki nobody know, I know Congress people are doing same thing … wo kar rahe hain aapko main bata raha hoon. They are also doing. Kaise mujhe pata chala … ek director hai mere saare production mein meri filmein aayi jo bhi Garv aai toh uska art director tha. Wo maine dekha ek din suddenly aise hee koi tweet aaya bade dinon baad. Maine dekha, it was anti-BJP and pro-Congress. Maine kaha … tere ko kya problem aayee hai too toh … production wala hai too kyon pad raha hai ismein. Ab kya hai mere ko pata hai wo Javed Akhtar aur Shabana ke camp ka hai … I know that Ashish Sachdev wo log kya karte hain inke through karte hain. They are also doing it (Believe me. What you are telling nobody [should] know, I know Congress people are doing same thing … There is one art director in my production, there was this film Garv in which he was art director. He made a tweet suddenly after many days. I saw it was anti-BJP and pro-Congress. I said, ‘What is your problem. You belong to the film production line. Why are you getting into all this?’ I know he belongs to Javed Akhtar and Shabana camp. I know that they do such things through people like Ashish Sachdev. They are also doing it).”

Saying that he should begin to post messages on social issues, we tell him his contract will begin with the first week of June. He will have to post three-five messages every month on his Tweeter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Now we say he will have to target the rival parties a few months before elections in 2019 using satire. You don’t have to use abusive language while doing so. Agreeing, Issar says, “Nahi … arre tareeqe sehaan (No … in an appriapriate manner … yes).” Then, talking like a seasoned hand in this game, Issar informs us, “Aapko bataoon aap jo bol rahe ye sab samajhata hoon (Let me tell you, what you are saying I understand all that).”

Some moments later, he further adds using a swear word, “Aap jo bol rahe hain samajhata hoon main, but I believe we … them in a big way (I understand what you are telling me, but I believe we … them in a big way).” As we advise him to start posting messages on social issues immediately, he promptly agrees, “Haan kar denge (Yes, I will start doing it).” You can always target the opposition leaders in a humorous way without naming any leader, we suggest. For example, we say, you can write Pappu has failed. Now, everybody knows who this Pappu is. “Pappu fail ho gaya Karnataka mein (Pappu has failed in Karnataka),” exclaims his friend Pal. Pal had sent us a message on WhatsApp and we appreciate him for that.

While discussing other finer points of the contract between us, we tell Issar he will be shown endorsing some products as it is being a secret agenda we cannot put in black and white what we have mutually agreed upon. We will not mention anything therein what we are discussing with you. “Obviously ye kaise mention hogi (Obviously, how can it be mentioned),” he says, agreeing. We now move on to discuss the money part of the deal. Pal had told us that his friend charges Rs. 1 lakh for a tweet, which we had promptly agreed to pay. So, we tell Issar he will be paid a sum of Rs. 3 lakh per content for all three social media platforms. We will show him as endorsing some products in our contract. “Theek hai, so what will be there usmein kya mentioning hogi (Okay, so what will be there. What will be mentioning in that contract),” he asks.

But you will have to bear in mind the meaning of the content should not change, we say, while you do it in your own language. Agreeing, Issar says, “Arre wo toh alag hoga na tabhi nahi toh wo same lagega copy paste lagega wo nahi hona chahiye aisa yahee main jaanana chahta tha mahine mein kitne tweets aapko chahiye (Oh, those will be different. Otherwise they will look the same, like a copy-paste job. That’s it. I want to know how many tweets you want me to make).” Four to five messages a month on all three platforms, we tell him. Content will be provided to you with proper timing. “Haan, haan samajh gayaa main (Yes, yes. I got it).”

We finally come to the mode of payment. Since it is political money, how much percentage of your fee you would like to be paid in cash, we ask. Issar is quite comfortable with cash, as he suggests, “60–40 kariye, 60 cash kariye 40 wo ho gaya, 70–30 kariye (Do it in 60–40 ratio, where you can pay 60 percent in cash, the rest in that mode [white]. Or you can do it in 70–30 ratio).” What if we pay only 20 percent of your fee in white, we ask. “Haan … better hai (Yes … it is better),” says Issar. Hearing his aye, we clearly tell him we will pay 80 percent of his fee in black. “Haan theek hai (Yes, it is fine),” says Issar in agreement. There will be a contract only for the 20 percent white component, we tell him further. Tell us if you have any doubt, we ask. “Nahi (No),” says Issar, emphatically.

Puneet also agrees to post controversial messages on social media for some extra bucks. “What about those agar mujhe kahin pe controversial tweet karna hai uska kya … we will talk (What about those. If I have to make controversial tweet somewhere what about that … we will talk),” asks Issar. But you will have to tell us before making any controversial tweets, we say. “Aise nahi karenge yaar aapse pooch ke hum haani thodi na karenge agar wo agar wo aap bhi idea de sakte hain Puneet ji aap karna chahenge yes or no (No, I will not do it without your permission. I am not here to harm your interest. You can also give me ideas saying Puneet ji if you can do it, yes or no),” he says. We will also give you ideas along with content, we say. It will depend on you only. Suppose, if you have an idea you can discuss with us. Agreeing, Issar says, “Main aapse discuss kar loonga … sir ye main inki maar sakta hoon destroy kar sakta hoon kya hai wo wo we will talk the money then (I will disuses the idea then … I will tell I can screw them up, I can destroy them. So, we will talk the money [part] then).” 

Getting a bit more demanding, we tell the actor he will have to defend the BJP when its leaders make controversial statements. While agreeing, Issar makes a revelation, “Bilkul karenge … bachav kaise karenge ye bahut zaroori hai. Arre humne Salman Khan ko bachaya tha. Gaadi se aadmi ko uda diya. I was the only one jisne bachaya haan aur aise tareeqe se tark diye (I will sure defend … but how I will defend them is very essential. Arre, I saved Salman Khan. He had killed some men by his car. I was the only one who saved him. Yes, I did by putting proper arguments).”

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