For instance, the filmmaker drove to Goa for a few weeks to spend time with his kids, Dalai and Shivaansh, and wife Anu, after completing his commitments for Mumbai Saga. It was his passion project with John Abraham and Emraan Hashmi, which was one of those rare, big canvas films to have a theatrical run in the new normal, shortly before the second wave of the pandemic kicked in. Last year, he spent a big part of summer and the monsoons in Khandala at his farmhouse with his children and wife. While he spent hours trying to fine tune his future projects, he also invested hours building a treehouse for his kids. The filmmaker tweeted about it this morning, saying, “CASA NINIOS… The treehouse we built last summer. Yes, in the middle of the pandemic. Whatever it takes to keep the kids occupied.”
Sanjay and his family drove from Goa to Khandala yesterday and will be stationed at their farmhouse for a few days before returning to Mumbai. And in a matter of hours after getting to Khandala, his daughter Dalai took over the treehouse, meant for her brother and her, entirely. “We built this treehouse last year. We were staying at Khandala for a prolonged period and in the course of that, my kids and I got down to making this house, which is exclusively their space. It’s not very big but it’s got everything they need, it’s designed to suit them. Most of all, it’s their own little place to read, play and be themselves without any of us watching them. The lockdown as a period has been such that we’ve intruded in our kids’ spaces often without realising because we’re around them all the time. Setting it up helped me keep the kids engaged last summer. My daughter has taken over the treehouse meant for her brother and her to chill, undisturbed. I feel it’s all worth the time and effort,” says Sanjay.
Talking about his drive from Goa to Khandala, the filmmaker says, “It’s surreal and strange. We’re actually used to driving down roads which have some traffic movement. The roads were empty when we drove down this time. There were cops at regular intervals at check-points, inspecting our papers and there is nowhere you could possibly stop for a meal. You have to travel end-to-end, non-stop. That can be stressful and difficult if the journey is long and if you have kids or elders with you. I came to Khandala last summer from Mumbai, and this time, it’s my stopover towards Mumbai. When I look at my kids’ faces in such times, all I am reminded of is the amount of time they have lost in the last one year or so – they have not been with their peers, not been to school, not had a social life. As much as we do to compensate that loss, I don’t think we have any idea how deeply this pandemic has impacted them.”
For those who have tuned in late, Sanjay is reportedly expected to kick start work on a couple of projects including a superhero film with John Abraham and the third outing in the Shootout At…series.