Director’ is the first card that is opened by the media when a film is being made because writers-directors are the ones making the film. Today, producers have scripts in hand that they want to convert into films. But they cannot accomplish this unless they find a director to translate the story into a celluloid story.
Grabbing attention is important but there are directors who are in the media glare all the time. On the other hand, there are a few who you see only when their films are up for release.
The media gives a director a special platform to speak about his film. This is very important when a film is about to release as it helps create awareness of the movie. What does the director bring to the table? What is his opinion about the film? Yes, that’s very important.
But there are directors like Michael Bay whose name is enough to draw instant attention. Say Transformers, or films directed by Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese… They have gained a special reputation in the market. If your name has goodwill attached to it, it helps. Then, everyone is waiting to see what the director delivers.
By making Aamir or No One Killed Jessica, I don’t think I created anything different. I don’t think most filmmakers believe they become A-league directors simply because they make a certain kind of cinema or film. We make a film because we want to make the film.
Aamir was a story I wanted to make. I wanted to make a film about the city where space is real, where space is character, the character becomes real, real people bring life to a story. The film never originated with the thought of doing something real. We don’t label or categorise ourselves. I would rather die than have someone identify me as someone who makes a certain kind of cinema. ‘Commercial cinema’ or ‘parallel cinema’ are just myths. If a film works, it is commercial.
After achieving success, it would be arrogant to say that I have become this or that although I gained a lot of respect, which is very overwhelming. I cherish it and hope that I live up to it. It has also made a few doors open and people are ready to listen to me now. But when it comes to making a film, only you can decide what kind of films you want to make.
Does television prolong a director’s career? That is a very tricky question. I don’t really know but I don’t think I could answer in the affirmative. There are different types of directors who have different interests and they do things differently. There are a few people who want to be associated with a certain programme because it works for them.
Regardless of the medium you choose, you cannot survive for too long if you don’t make good films. If you were all over the place but you made bad films, I don’t think it would work for long.