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“Working with big names guided me to the right path”

Ashima Chhiber completed her studies and then moved to the UK where she enrolled with Theatre Hall. Back in India, Chibber struck gold when she got her first break as Shimit Amin’s first assistant director on Ab Tak Chhappan and Chak De! India.

Initial Days

I am basically from Hyderabad and I always wanted to work in films. When I was growing up, I loved watching films and even participated in theatre while in college. I completed my higher education in the UK and simultaneously worked in a cinema hall. That’s when my interest in films grew stronger. My love for films and theatre background helped me land a job in the Hindi film industry.

First Break

After I came back to Mumbai, I started looking for the right break. That’s when one of my friends introduced me to Shimit Amin. We met and vibed very well and he asked me to assist him on Ab Tak Chhappan. That was my first break as an assistant director.

After That …

After Ab Tak Chhappan, I assisted Shimit on Chak De! India. It was the first time I had worked with Aditya Chopra and understood his vision as a producer. After that, I assisted Anurag Basu on Kites and Imtiaz Ali on Rockstar.

Learning From Directors

I started my career in 2004 and I made sure I worked with only the big names in the industry. I believe, apart from talent, you also need luck on your side. Working with big directors helped because they guided me to the right path. Amin was my mentor, who taught me how to handle the crowd on the sets and get a command over things. He is also a great technician, which helped me develop my technical knowledge. Anurag Basu is a very soulful director and he brings the best love stories to the screen. And Imtiaz Ali is a genius. So each of them has helped me grow as a director.

Mere Dad Ki Maruti

While I was still assisting, I received many offers from producers as they were aware of my work as an assistant but I was not ready to direct. I was waiting for the perfect script and that’s when a script from Yash Raj Studios came my way, Mere Dad Ki Maruti, a comedy. I cannot direct serious films. I am a very funny person so I knew I could put together a comedy with conviction. So I said ‘yes’ to the film. Since I had worked with Adi (Aditya Chopra) earlier, we got onto the same wavelength and made the film.

Box Office Collections Matter

I wanted good box-office numbers for my film. That is very important for any director even though not everyone thinks so. When a producer places his faith in you, you have to deliver. For me, box-office collections tell me how many people watched my film, understood my vision, etc. There are very good directors in this industry but everybody doesn’t find an audience. So, for me, the box office is very important.

I had not expected anyone to even review my film but it received a good response from the media. I am also happy to have made a successful film although there was no big name attached to it.

If Not A Director…

While I was a kid, I loved dancing but my parents made sure I stayed away from filmy things. But I always loved Bollywood films and knew I wanted to make a career in this industry. At first, I thought I would become a choreographer but, as it turned out, I became a director. I have choreographed the Hip hip song in my film along with a choreographer.

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