Director Anees Bazmee has given us many hits over the years and there is no sign of him stopping anytime soon. Currently busy with films like Pagalpanti and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, the filmmaker talks to Bhakti Mehta about his impressive career and his passion project, The Writers’ Room
As a writer, director, producer how has your journey been so far?
My journey as a producer is going to start now, but as a writer it’s been a beautiful journey. I wrote around 40 to 50 films. Also as director it was a great journey as I made films such as Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha, Deewangee, No Entry, Welcome, Singh Is Kinng also Ready so it’s been very nice.
You are doing Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 with Kartik Aaryan and Pagalpanti with John Abraham can you shed some light on this?
As of now, I am concentrating on these two films and I’m doing the final editing of Pagalpanti and after that, I will be shooting for Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 in January 2020.
The latest film you have announced is Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, you have not written it but you are directing it. When you take up hit films to make into sequels, like in the case of Welcome 2 and now with Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 what elements do you keep in mind, what are your key responsibilities?
This film is a different concept for me as it is a horror-comedy. So when you make any film, there are many responsibilities you have as a writer or director, people have the expectation that you have made such good films, so you have to hold on to that pressure when you are either making a franchise or even any new film. Like this film, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is also a great responsibility and very consciously we have sat and thought of it and taken the decision. Priyadarshan is a great director and he made a very beautiful film and the audience liked that film so much, they still remember the character Manjulika.
I personally feel that I am also a member of the audience even if I have made a couple of films. We have this term in screenplay ‘unwanted reaction’. So there are things you plan while writing a script where you know people will laugh or they will feel scared. So whenever I listen to any script, I am an audience. If I like it, after that all the logistics- what is not going right, this is good, this is great or this should be cut down or this should be increased- that is a natural process if you are a writer or director. But the first basic thing is that you have to enjoy and get engrossed.
You have always worked with new actors.
I have worked with many big stars. Arshad (Warsi) is a superb person and a great actor. Shooting with him is a completely different experience and I really enjoy working with him. Pulkit (Samrat) who is Pagalpanti is also good at his work and I really love John Abraham in this film, I have watched his acting in Batla House as well and he has done a fabulous job but I’m really curious to watch him in Pagalpanti. The scenes I have shot with him are absolutely hilarious. The audience will see a completely different John in this film. Also talking about the new talents I have worked with many. So the first time when I worked with Nana Patekar, he was a new actor to me. I really enjoyed working with him. I also worked with Akshay (Kumar) and Salman (Khan) and they were fun too. The first film I did with Ajay Devgn, Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha had two-three comedy scenes and it was something different for Ajayji to deliver such scenes. So you get to learn a lot from all of them as well.
Where did the concept of The Writers’ Room come from?
As a writer, I struggled a lot. I always thought that this line has given me so many opportunities and I thought to myself that now it is time that I should do something. So my first thought was about other writers. Even when I was writing my films, at that time we didn’t have technology like we do today and many times it was difficult to sell the films or to explain the script. So I thought there should be a platform where writers from any place in the world can send their write-ups and if I like it, I could take the rights and meet them personally. I have got the experience so I want to use it in a certain way that could be helpful to others.
Tell us more about it.
So, there will be a content team who will be handling it and will filter the candidates. It takes ages to become perfect in scriptwriting. So we will keep that in mind and shortlist them accordingly after considering the writing capability of any candidate. After a candidate gets shortlisted we as a team will meet them and research about them and will give those writers a platform, and we will definitely give them credit for their work.