His last movie, 'Family', bombed at the box-office even though it had two of the most saleable stars, Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar, heading the cast.
But for the director, the past is passe and he wants to move ahead. He preferred to speak about his latest movie, 'Halla Bol', due for release mid-January.
What is 'Halla Bol' all about?
'The subject is political with direct relevance to modern-day happenings. But I would not call it a political movie. It has more to do with hypocrisy. The kind that people generally indulge in while trying to come to grips with the social reality,' Santoshi revealed.
The film, starring Ajay Devgan, Pankaj Kapur and Vidya Balan, revolves around a movie star, who after living in a make-belief world is called upon to play the leader in real life. The movie depicts how he attempts to do that and the hurdles he encounters as he confronts reality on the ground.
'I mulled over the movie's story for a long time. But, due to my preoccupations, I could not sit down and write it.'
According to Santoshi, Ajay, who plays the role of the movie star, will remind the audience of his sterling performance in Mahesh Bhatt's 'Zakhm'.
'In 'Halla Bol', he lives his role to give it a realistic portrayal,' Santoshi said.
Santoshi is modest enough to admit that 'Family' went kaput at the box-office. 'The movie's content was novel. Maybe our audience was not ready to accept it. Or probably as a director I failed to strike the right chord with cinegoers
Why was the magic that Santoshi worked in movies like 'Ghayal', 'Damini' and 'Ghatak', all released during the 1990s, missing from his subsequent films? Is it because he can give his best only in tandem with the macho Bollywood hero, Sunny Deol?
'Sunny is a very good actor, no doubt. But it is not right to say that I give my best only if he stars in my movies. Sunny did not feature in my last hit, 'Khakee',' Santoshi retorted.
He could not say when, if ever, Sunny and he would work together again. 'May be, if we come across the right script, we may work together sooner than expected,' he quipped.
'Halla Bol' will be released by Pyramid Symira (their first Hindi release across the globe).
For the first time, a galaxy of stars, filmmakers and a writer play themselves in the movie. They include Boney Kapoor and his wife Sridevi, Jackie Shroff, Tusshar Kapoor, Pahlaj Nihalani, Neeraj Vora and Lekh Tadon.