How did you zero in on ‘Traffic signal’?
After ‘Page 3’ and ‘Corporate’ I wanted to make a contrasting film. I’ve been walking to Sidhivinayak Temple for the last nine years, and I’ve always watched the eunuchs, beggars sitting on the footpath. And the moment the signal turns red they run towards cars. That’s how the idea came in.
Your films are artistic but they do well at the box office too….
One thing I’ve always felt is that a movie has to be entertaining as well as fast paced. If you are giving a social message with entertainment there’s nothing wrong in it. Ultimately the audience pays a price to watch a film.
Item numbers are always part of your film….
I wouldn’t call it item item songs. The song has to be a part of the mood of the screenplay. Item songs have been there for ages.
Was Kunal Khemu’s part earlier offered to Viveik Oberoi?
When you make a film you meet a lot of actors but everyone need not be a part of the film. Kunal Khemu is absolutely amazing. I loved working with him. When I saw him in ‘Kalyug’ he was very good. Same with ‘Zakhm’. He is one of the most talented actors. As Silsila he is superb. For I wanted a character who sits on the divider on a signal. I wanted an actor without an image. A bigger actor’s image hampers the character.
Sudhir Mishra turns an actor with Traffic Signal….
Sudhir Mishra was reluctant. It was a difficult role and he said that he can’t act. I made him wear a pathani dress and gave him a kaajal look. And he has done a brilliant job.
What kind of research did you do for such a subject as Traffic Signal?
I went to a lot of traffic signals, lot of paper cuttings, interacted with people on the signals, how they talk, their behaviour, how the network functions.
What are you trying to say in the film?
There’s no story in the film. It is absolutely slice of life about sixty characters. Incidents on a traffic signal. It’s a two hour movie with dark humour. I am sure people will like this film.
Konkona Sen Sharma is doing yashraj films and she was the face of ‘Page 3’….
She has a small role in ‘Traffic Signal’. She was a bit reluctant in the beginning. She felt that the role was very loud, make up is harsh etc. I was very confident that I can extract good performance from her. And she has done a brilliant job.
‘Page 3’ was universally lauded, Corporate was in a way similar to ‘Page 3’ but ‘Traffic Signal’ looks different from the two….
I always try different movies. I’ve always said that I am an experimental film maker not a commercial film maker. My films do commercially well. I am happy that ‘Corporate’ did very well in multiplexes as it was aimed at them. If I say that I wanted ‘Corporate’ to do well in Kheda Gaon then I would be the biggest fool. We knew that it was a metro centric film. Bipasha Basu was established as an actress. That was most satisfying. About ‘Traffic Signal’ I leave it to the audience. If you ask me amongst ‘Chaandi Bar’, ‘Page 3’, ‘Corporate’ I feel ‘Satta’ is my best film. I think it was one of my best films.
Ever thought of making a big budget film?
It all depends on the script. If I have a script I will make a rs 25 crore film. But I will make sure my style is evident. Tomorrow I may make a period film.
There are rumours that you are making a film with Aamir Khan and Ayesha Takia
These are absolutely fabricated stories. I haven’t met Aamir Khan for the last one year. I have interacted with Ayesha Takia one or two times. That’s it.
What are your future plans?
Nothing. I am too busy with my family scenes. I am also scripting a film on fashion world. But beyond that nothing.
What kind of filmmakers appeal to you?
I am a person who likes all kinds of cinema. I love commercial cinema. People think that Madhur Bhandrakar is a very serious realistic filmmaker and he may not be liking these kinds of films. It is absolutely baseless. I loved ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, ‘Roti Kapda Aur Makaan’, all the Prakash Mehra films, I love David Dhawan films. But at the same time I also like Govind Nihalani films, Shyam Benegal, Satyajit Ray, Mani Rathnam….I loved ‘Guru’.