Directing is the Holy Grail of cinema. And with a convincing script, you have a winner on your hands
My father and my brother are politicians but my family and I are separate entities. I always avoided interviews where people want to ask me about my family. I prefer talking about my work.
My family has never frowned on any of the choices I have made in my life. I chose to become a filmmaker because I love films. I am a creative person and I like freedom of expression. Besides making movies, I am also an artist as I have performed conceptual arts shows across the world. A film is all about the magic of telling a story and I love that magic.In short, I love telling stories.
I wanted to be an artist or a musician but I had to earn a livelihood. I was taught right from the beginning that I would always have a home but I was on my own as far as everything else was concerned. What could I have done with my kind of music? I didn’t want to make jingles, and Bollywood music back in the ‘90s was pathetic. If I want to make music today, I would make it for my own films.
So since I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do, I studied business management. Besides being creative, I also have business acumen. Till very recently, I had my packaging business on one hand and my other interests like music and art on the other. The only way I could blend business and creativity was with films.
I have loved films forever, for the last 40 years, but I wasn’t really influenced by the cinema of the ‘90s and 2000s. Fortunately, I realised that the audience was beginning to like the kind of cinema I am used to.
I have to make a film I like and that I understand, otherwise I can’t make it. In India, when we say ‘producer’, we are referring to financers but in Hollywood, a producer is as creatively involved as a director is. So if you’re a producer and you cannot understand the film you’re making, you had better not make it.
Over the last few years, there have been some very good films which were the right mix of commercialism, which have done very well. Among the films that have impacted me are Maqbool, Haazaron Khwahish Aisee and Gulaal. So what if none of them made money?
Also, one reason why I took to making films was because I wanted to direct. I have been writing a script for a while now. It is a coming-of- age film, it’s edgy. The technology I would use for the film is something audiences will not have seen before in India.
When I began my company, I made three rules: the script would be like the Holy Grail, take as much time as you want; hire only good actors, and don’t be afraid to release whatever you make. This is one reason why we have a distribution arm – so that we don’t have to run around to release what we make; we will also release stuff for others.
I chose a film like Bheja Fry 2 as my first film because of the kind of films I believe in such as Chalti Ka Naam Gadi, Chupke Chupke and Mr Bachchan’s films of the ‘70s . I didn’t like many of the films that released in the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s.
And you will see me making more movies like Bheja Fry in the near future.