Reema Kagti on Aamir, Talaash and much more
Your first film was light hearted and suddenly your second film turns out to be a dark drama with Aamir? How you see the jump?
it's not consciously I tried to jump or anything. There was something in the story of Honeymoon which really drove me. Similarly with Talaash the co story I absolutely fall in love with. I and Zoya just wrote out the screen play keeping it very true to the story and we all like suspense drama and luckily Aamir agreed to do the film.
Was Aamir in the film right from start?
When we were writing we kept Aamir in the mind. When we finished the screenplay Aamir was busy with his work so insisted us that he probably will not listen to the story for year and half. He was not looking on any other film as well for quite a while. So we did take it to a couple of people but it didn't go anywhere. By then Aamir finished his shoot and looking for script and listening to scripts. That's how we narrated the film to him.
Being Aamir in the film does it give surety of a hit?
Defiantly when you have a bankable actor and you make a film within a budget then you look at the bright situation.
Working with perfectionist Aamir khan does it leads to some rigid situation?
No I did not find him very rigid. In fact I found him as very cool and chilled out. I worked with him in Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai. I have seen him on the set so honestly I wasn't frighten though they are reports circulating. I wasn't worried. He is always very supportive and very cooperative. He was very upset before but he really took the trouble to understand my vision and really supported me with it. Frankly all my 3 producers did.
Why you have taken such a long gap?
Certainly it wasn't like that I was searching Talaash but I don't know what to put it down to. Frankly out of 5 years first 3 years I really worked hard on the scripts and try to get films out of the ground. I was just put it down to bad luck. Yaa after 3 years of post-sabbatical Talaash finally took off. It's does take time and it's not unusual it happened to lot of people. I think my problem was my idea was alternative and Hindi film industry is conventional unlike me. I think the film should be memorable and worth making and they should be worth watching that's what more important.
Talaash is a commercial alternative cinema?
No...see I have an alternative bend of mind that doesn't mean my films are alternative. Talaash is a commercial film. It may not be out and out entertainer but it is a very commercial film. The unique thing about Talaash is the darker emotion which is not considered as commercial in Hindi cinema. This was the challenge for me and Zoya as a writer to prove that the darker emotions can be as entertaining, engaging as anything else.
The Indian film industry is still conventional. What challenged you faced during the making as you being a women director?
I believe the term like women director is prejudice kind of thing. When you say women I don't have control over I am born like this. There are places like this in the country where it is difficult to be women but thankfully I never saw that though I have very simple middle class upbringing. Our parents celebrated us as daughters. They always taught us to be really independent productive in society. I came to Mumbai and started working. I feel film industry is very progressive place. The conditions for women to work are really good and that's why people like me and several other directors who are women who have come up. The tag of women director is a bit regressive.
Any problems with Aamir?
No. Aamir has being in controversy with directors. He was directed by Deepa Mehta and Kiran Rao before me. He had no problem with them. There being reports about Aamir but I want to tell you that I am not Aamir khan expert. I don't know what happened before I can only tell you what happened with me. He actually was very cool and supportive with me. I don't think I would be able to make this film in the way I have without him being in it.
What was the most difficult part during the making?
The edit was very difficult for me personally. It's a difficult film to edit. It also because we shoot too much. Now the film is complete so the promotional part personally it's for me is difficult.
Did you see the risk of over powering of a star in the script?
No. I always felt in fact Aamir has deepest respect for me, my vision. It may happen if we had difference in opinion but we never had difference in opinion. I told him very clearly what I wanted to do with the film. The script was already in the place and he seems to like it.
Too much input from the actor does change the shape of the movie. Do you believe that?
I was assistant directors for about 8-10 years. I seen like part of directing is giving cast and crew a fair hearing. Bigger part of good directing is taking ideas people who are giving to you. Lot of time they are the solutions of the practical problems. Why don't you listen to the people who are hired to come and work with you? I don't think so taking inputs from the actors ever diminish the director's control. It's the nature of filmmaking. It is a collaborative art form.
Does roping Aamir in the film was easy for you as you worked as assistant directors for so many years?
I don't think it was easy to rope him because I worked on it in dil chahta hai and lagan.
How do you rope up 2 leading ladies in the film?
I approached them and we had couple of narrations then they came on board. They were in my mind before the script. I wanted Rani to play the role of roshni Aamir's wife in the film. Kareena is playing a hooker.
Do you have influence of 100 cr film club?
100 cr thing tells you that how many people went to see the film but it does not tells you how many people like the film. If you have to judge a film then you have to take it far just number can't tell. There may be small films whose net business is few crores but if you ask anyone in the street who has seen the film and they liked it. It's not just a business it's a business liked to some kind of creativity.
So you don't care for 100 cr?
This is my attitude. I live with it. I believe numbers are for accountancy. I am a filmmaker so I shouldn't think about this stuff. If I like a film then someone else will also like it as well. So I take a very personal approach. I don't think I will ever imagine ki chalo I will make my 100 cr film and frankly if I will start doing this then I will fall. It will be a disaster.
You seem to be against of commercialization of films?
I have greatest respect for Raju Hirani. He among anybody else in terms of new generation has able to balance the creativity and commerce really well. He comes out with really meaningful films for people to watch so I am not against of commercialised of films. I am against bad films.
Looking for critical acclaim or box office success?
I want a good number of people to watch the film to like it. You can't make all the people happy at a time that's okay.
Well it will not take another 5 yrs. me and Zoya already started working on the scripts. One for her to direct and another one for me to direct. And within couple of month we will have something in hand.