Zoya Akhtar Curated

Director, Screenwriter

CURATED BY :  

This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Zoya Akhtar have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Zoya Akhtar's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming directors. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • Do you still feel nervous after making so many films?

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  • How do you feel about your film "Gully Boy" couldn’t make it to the Oscars?

    There was a huge learning. It was exciting because I have got many, many good things out of it. I’m not going to deny that a lot of good things have happened to me. There are no complaints, only gratitude. You cannot let the ups go to your head or the downs go to your heart. Because I’m here to stay.

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  • What kind of films you are planning next?

    I am definitely looking for a gangster film. I am looking for a story. It is my favourite genre. Films like Scarface, The Godfather, Goodfellas and Casino are something I can watch again and again and from anywhere. I love them so I have to make one.

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  • Are you planning any sequel of Gully Boy?

    We want to do something in the hip-hop space but we don’t know if we will have a part two. It will be another chapter.

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  • What is your movie "Gully Boy" all about?

    It is a film about the class system, where we are functioning in a way where certain people are kind of trapped in it and find it difficult to break out. That is what the film is about, everything else is the backdrop.

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  • How do you feel about "Gully Boy" not making in the Top 10 list of the Oscar?

    It was disappointing, but what can one do? You move on to your next film. We went through the entire process. But one doesn't know how the system works there. The people there are not fully aware either as the system keeps evolving.

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  • How would you compare "Ghost Stories" with other short films?

    I love all of it so it feels weird to compare one short film with another to arrive at a conclusion on whose is better.

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  • Does Zoya Akhtar has has a certain kind of genre in mind while writing scripts?

    "I like movies too much. I watch all kinds of films. In a way, all filmmakers are basically audience. Because you love the movies is why you’re here pursuing it as your life, your compulsion, your profession. I like most genres. So, tomorrow if I want to repeat a road movie or a rap movie, I will. I’ll do what I want. Whatever story excites me…"

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  • Have you ever faced any spooky incident in your life?

    I was having a sleepover with my friends and we watched the Exorcism of Emily Rose. In the film, at three in the night, all the lights go off. And the same thing happened with us. At exactly 3 am, the electricity went out in my house. We all got so scared

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  • How have you prepared for the role of nurse?

    Initially, it was quite tough to even function with those syringes. I would end up jabbing it (laughs). The nurse who was on the set helped me a lot. And by the time I learnt it, she was so impressed. She told me I would actually make a great nurse

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  • You're playing the character of a nurse in Ghost Stories who also has a very glamorous side. which side of her character was more fun?

    I didn’t take it as two different sides but yes, purely out of comfort, playing the nurse was easier. It was really hot and sweaty. After a point, it got irritating to wear those bangs. It was although really cool to see myself in that look, as I haven’t done something like this before. Zoya was also very clear about the kind of aesthetic she wanted, and that helped me get a lot more clarity for the character

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  • How much does the digital medium excite you?

    I think it is a wonderful platform with some really amazing content being made. There is so much to explore in terms of content. You may not have the luxury to make a feature film on certain subjects but you can on the web. So it is quite liberating that way. But for me personally, I wasn’t looking at it as a digital film but as an opportunity to learn.

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  • What is your experience of working with Zoya Akhtar?

    It was really interesting to be a part of the film. However, the biggest takeaway for me was that I was getting to work with Zoya. All my energies and focus was towards that. It is a new space and genre for me

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  • What was it about Naezy’s ‘Aafat’ video that kept you hooked?

    That these guys exist, they are legit, they have a voice and they are going to raise this voice. They are talented and have a crazy flow. They are amazing writers, they have so many people watching them, and they are all 20 years old. It is ridiculous.

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  • How much of ‘Gully Boy’ was improvised?

    I write everything down. My blueprints for my films are solid, with dialogue and everything. Then I get the actors together and start workshopping. Some improvisations happen during the workshops. A random example is Moeen [played by Vijay Varma] going wow wow, vade vade in the scene in the Benetton showroom. That happened during the workshop, and we kept it. It was insane, the boys collapsed laughing. Or the scene in which Murad folds a napkin in the bathroom of Sky’s house [Kalki Koechlin plays Sky, who produces Murad’s music]. We were shooting in an apartment that didn’t actually have any water. That moment was improvised, and it became a layer. But the bit where Murad measures the area of the bathroom with his feet was written.

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  • What's your take on item number in Bollywood?

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  • What advice will you give to young upcoming filmmakers?

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  • When you direct a movie, do you make effort to keep yours songs and female characters in a particular way?

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  • What's changing in sense now more women are becoming directors and writer?

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  • Was there any moment when you decided that you want to make movies?

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  • Did your parents ask you to watch cinema?

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  • What's your say on the portrayal of sexuality in films?

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  • Three advantages of web series over movies?

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  • What's your say on changing scenario: people shifting to web series?

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  • Web series is all about story and not about stars. What's your say?

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  • How much freedom you get in web series as compared to movies like showing homosexuality?

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  • What's your thoughts on marriage?

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  • What attracted you to the theme of movie- Gully Boy?

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  • As a director it must be a joy to work with actors who just get what you want out of them?

    It just ups the game, man. It’s not only about your leads. Just that dining table scene at Vijay Maurya’s house. Vijay Raaz, and Amruta Subhash, and Ranveer. I didn’t have to do anything. It’s quiet a scene. They just nail it. It elevates the writing because they bring so much to the table. They bring such nuance to it. It’s very yummy to have good actors. Work is simple then.

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  • As someone who comes from a place of enormous privilege what are the risks you take while examining socio-economic oppression? It is a slippery slope and it could easily become poverty-porn. How do you avoid such trappings?

    When you make anything, you can’t hide your intention. The intention that you make it with, the lens with which you look at it, will come through on screen. You either make a point or you don’t make a point. You could be the biggest entertainer in the world and your politics will come through. I will see your film and I will know how you think. Your politics will shine through. I didn’t make the film to feel sorry for them, I did it because I was inspired by them. As a filmmaker, you choose a gaze. Like for Dil Dhadakne Do, I was looking at it from the outside. To me, it’s a subculture. They’re not my life but I am extremely interested in educated people, who are wealthy and have traveled the world and can get anything that they want. But all that they do is project. That film is about projection. It was an outward gaze from the dog’s point of view, like a human study. In Luck By Chance it’s like a fly on the wall, like an insider. With ZNMD it was more like you’re in the car with them, you’re on the journey with them, you are hanging with them. With Gully Boy, it had, had, had to be inside looking out. It’s their story told from their point of view. That’s the only way it would work. You cannot make a film like this without being there and having them onboard. You have to make sure you respect their truth and stay authenticity to it because their art is completely honest. Their work is completely honest. It’s really about who they are, what their life is, what their journey has been, how the system treats them, how the world treats them and what they think of it.

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  • You have been unfairly criticized as a chronicler of posh pain. Do you feel with Gully Boy, that criticism will finally stop?

    I don’t think it will shut. Three weeks later, my show, Made in Heaven, is dropping on Amazon and the same will come back again. Even when Dil Dhadakne Do came, I had already made Luck By Chance and Bombay Talkies. But if you’re only going to talk about Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, then it’s your problem. I’m not the only person that has had wealthy characters in a movie. I have thought about it a lot. My theory is that characters in my film don’t look fake rich, there is an authenticity to their wealth. I think the problem really is the value system, my characters aren’t apologetic about their wealth, nobody is. They don’t go back to certain moral values. There’s rich people everywhere in our cinema. Look at other films like Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo or Ae Dil Hai Mushkil or all the shows on TV where everyone is wealthy and have humungous houses with crazy staircases. But they don’t look wealthy!

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  • One of the things that stood out are the characters of Gully Boy― they all feel like they’ve had a lived experience of a life in ghettos. What was that process like?

    Firstly, it’s a combination of things. You have to work with actors that can act. They have a process which they come in with and are ready to discard anything that they can to work. Secondly, I have a lot of help. Reema and I had the film memorised so we know our character arcs backwards. We know exactly what the line is, what the tone in, what the pitch is, where the silences are. Then we had Vijay (dialogue writer Vijay Maurya) and two young boys from Dharavi who were rappers, one of whom played Chintu in the film. They did additional dialogues and were on-set as dialogue supervisors throughout the film. They were there to see if it sounded right, if they wanted to change a word, they could. They knew the lingo. These guys would work with the actors, rap with them, talk to them, constantly. Then we had hair and make up artists. No one cared to look pretty in the film. Alia didn’t wear make up half the time, she wore it only when the character had to wear it.

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  • From Luck by Chance to Dil Dhadakne Do, your canvas and your cast have only become bigger. What's your say?

    In Zindagi, though we were constantly moving, there were five main characters. It was tedious moving around the country and driving all day.But since there were fewer actors, we did fine. In Dil Dhadakne Do, though we were not moving, the ship was. There were 25 characters and a dog. The sheer logistics of the film could be challenging, but I was not stressed at all. As first films go, Luck By Chance may have been intimate because it was drawn from my own experiences with the film industry, but it was massive. It had 25 actors, big-ass sets, full-on numbers. Today, I can’t believe the boys gave me the kind of money to make that film. The only thing it did not have? Stars in lead roles. I like scale. I can take any story and scale things up.

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  • How was the general audience reaction for Gully boy in Berlin been?

    It was a 1800 seater and I was so overwhelmed by the size of the cinema hall, I think the screen was about 70 feet tall, I have never seen a screen that big. There was a mix, there was at least 50% of a foreign audience and 50% of a South Asian audience. When it started, Alia said it’s like we’re in Gaiety, it was literally like being in Gaiety - Galaxy, they were reacting to everything. Even the Indians there don’t speak Hindi, so this was on a subtitled print, so honestly they didn’t get the lingo and the dialect, so they actually missed a certain flavour of the film, you know. But at the same time, they were screaming, they were whistling, they were reacting, they were gasping, when the scenes were serious they were completely quiet. I mean if this can be the reaction in every theatre, I’m home.

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  • From where the impetus for Gully boy came?

    It was this guy with an insane vocal flow and he was just rapping and it was shot on a phone and it was all over the slums. He was rapping about his family, his mother, the state, the way society treats him, the fact that he is Muslim.Till then hip hop in India had been very derivative and very commercial… it’s not something I engaged with. I just kept going back and watching this video. I just wanted to meet him because I felt there’s a story here because this voice, you know, the 20-year olds, they are completely disenfranchised and they do not have any representation in the mainstream. The beauty about the internet is that they have access to and all their inspiration is American rappers. So they’re suddenly educating themselves and they’ve taken it and made it their own and they are spitting their truth. I spent a lot of time with the boys and they were my touchstone on the film. I did extensive interviews with people from the scene. The thing with hip hop and why it comes from the streets in India at least, is you don’t need money to make it. It’s scavenger music. You can rip a beat off the internet and you just write and spit on it.

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  • Your favorite scene from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara?

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  • What's your most embarrassing moment ?

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  • What's your toughest story?

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  • Are you tired of listening "woman" film maker ?

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  • How do you decide your characters and how do you write them?

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  • You did many roles like assistant director, script writer, etc before your first movie as a director released. Tell about your journey.

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  • You’ve worked with Alia Bhatt for the first time, what’s the one special trait that you find in her as an actress that sort of sets her apart?

    Alia is in the now, I don’t know if that means anything, she’s very in the moment as a person. As an actor, I find her very centered, she doesn’t feel the need to garner attention, even when she comes on a film set. She doesn’t feel the need to do more. She knows what it requires, she can very easily cut the world out and tap into the emotional space of what she is required to do at that moment. I think she’s very centered, I think that’s what’s unique about her as a person. She’s got a certain calm, a meditative calm to her as an actor that keeps her in the moment every time she gives a take.

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  • When it came to casting, was Ranveer an easy choice since you’ve already worked with him, he’s sale-able and he’s already quite into the rap and hip hop scene?

    Ranveer was my only choice. Subsequently he’s gotten bigger since he signed on this film, which is only good fortune to me. I had such an amazing collaboration with him on Dil Dhadakne Do, we really had fun together and we knew that we were going to work together again. When I came up with this, he was my first choice because he’s a great actor, he has a great bandwidth, he’s somebody who’s deeply, deeply influenced by the hip hop culture and rap music. He raps himself, he writes, if you see the way he dresses, you’ll understand where I am coming from. He is also somebody who’s grown up with Bombay street lingo, the slang comes very easily to him. He was already associated with Gully rap, he was familiar with it, so there was no reason to go to anyone else. Plus he’s a great actor, plus he’s saleable. I mean there are no down points.

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  • Looking back what was the most challenging aspect about making Gully Boy - was getting the whole sub culture right without hitting a false note a large part of it?

    I think the most challenging part of getting Gully Boy made was actually getting 54 artistes on a soundtrack, they are all independent artistes, they never ever worked in this kind of set up before. Our youngest collaborator is a 16-year-old beat boxer, so just curating people from various disciplines, various cities, bringing them together, doing workshops with them, and earning their trust, because they are all acting in the film, they are all in the movie. So, besides Ranveer and Shera, who are actors, every other single person is a rapper or a beat boxer. And also to respect who they are as artistes and they are so authentic and so honest that I could not afford to have a false note. So, I think that was challenging, it was great fun.

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  • What made you curious about and how did you discover the entire rap and hip hop scene in Mumbai’s gullys, slums and chawls?

    I love hip hop, I love the genre of music, I’ve been listening to it through my growing up and I had only engaged with international artistes whether it was Tupac or Eminem or the Fugees, those were the artistes that I would listen to. I didn’t really engage in the space with our mainstream rap scene and then when I was editing Dil Dhadakne Do, my editor at that time Anand Subaya, who’s also a musician, he showed me a music video called Aafat and there was this 21-year-old artiste called Naezy and I couldn’t believe how legit this sound was. Because he obviously had standard beats and he’d obviously just made it on his iPad or iPhone and shot it even on an iPhone and it was this very indi video that he had put out, but you could tell that he was a writer, you could tell that his rhymes were really sophisticated, you could tell that his flow was unbelievable. So I got so hooked that I keep watching that video again and again and then I found him, I traced him and I had a meeting with him. I was just compelled to meet him and the minute I met him I knew that there’s a story, there’s an entire sub-culture and I am big on sub-cultures, so firstly I was shocked that I didn’t know that it existed and I had to know more of it and then I took time and now I’m talking to you.

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  • Any memorable reactions that’s going to be stuck in your head for a long time?

    Yes, I got a lot of very good reactions from people. There were a couple of people who came up and told me it’s their story. I think when you are a filmmaker, nothing can beat that reaction. When someone comes and tells you that this was me, or this moved me or this is something that changed or shifted or resonated with me on such a personal level as opposed to being just entertainment, I think those are the reactions that stay with you.

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  • Any memorable reactions that’s going to be stuck in your head for a long time?

    Yes, I got a lot of very good reactions from people. There were a couple of people who came up and told me it’s their story. I think when you are a filmmaker, nothing can beat that reaction. When someone comes and tells you that this was me, or this moved me or this is something that changed or shifted or resonated with me on such a personal level as opposed to being just entertainment, I think those are the reactions that stay with you.

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  • Moments in your film are scripted or impromptu?

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  • What's your writing and research process?

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  • What's your co writing Mantra?

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  • How you choose your crew?

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  • How you handle an ensemble?

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  • How you choose your story?

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  • What is something that your parents may have told you & it stayed with you?

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  • Don't you feel actors are in a bubble as how they are being worship in the country?

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  • Don't you think in country like India, it is a risk to show about LGBT community as you did in "Made in Heaven"?

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  • There is an element of class, poetry, etc in all your films, does it because of your family?

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  • When you make horror film, how important is to actually believe in all those supernatural powers?

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  • Who is your favorite filmmaker among Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee?

    They or should I say all of us are unique. There isn’t another Karan. You can’t replace Anurag. They’re my gang, my friends. We have so much fun together. We’re a good bunch when we are together. And that’s what I mean; you can’t compare them, they are incomparable. Who will you replace Dibakar Banerjee with? There isn’t another one. We are four unique voices.

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  • There was also talk of similarities between Gully Boy and Eminem’s 8 Mile (2002). Do you see it as unfortunate?

    It’s not unfortunate, it’s obvious because 8 Mile is the biggest reference for rap. So people will look at it and be like, ‘Okay, this and that...’ Like during Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’s release, everybody was saying it’s Hangover (2009). But it was not Hangover and I got upset. However today, I don’t feel that way about this film. I know that when Gully Boy opens in cinemas, they will understand that it’s specific to people from our space. I think what they are talking about is the rap battle, but those things are common everywhere. So, I’m not reacting to that.

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  • And who is the apple of Javed Akhtar's eye; you or Farhan?

    I’d say it’s me (smiles). I’m the first born and a girl... so we have a different equation like my mother (Honey Irani) and my brother have a different dynamic. I feel blessed and lucky with my family, not because of the privilege, of course, I’m grateful for that as well that we never wanted anything. But what is a real privilege is that we (my brother and I) were treated equally. I was treated with equal amount of opportunity, freedom and confidence as him. We were allowed to make mistakes. I mean that is a real privilege, to be able to go your own way, find your voice, just have a support system that allows you to do all that.

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  • What you say about Alia?

    Alia is special, she operates from an instinct that is so powerful. She follows her gut. She is so centered within herself that it comes through in her performances. In fact, it’s evident in everything. She is in the moment. I think that allows her to make her choices and play the characters she does. She is a dream to work with. I can’t wait to collaborate with her again.

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  • You’ve watched Ranveer from his Dil Dhadakne Do days. What would you say about his growth as an actor?

    I knew Ranveer even before he did his first film. I always got along with him. I liked his energy and what he brings to any situation that he’s in. When I did Dil Dhadakne Do, we got along so well. I’m extremely comfortable with him. He is a real collaborator. He is a generous actor and a good co-creator of the character. He comes without any ego. At the core of his stardom, he is an actor who wants to do well. He understands the role, the script, and reads between the lines. He knows exactly where I’m coming from and brings stuff to the table. We can say yes or no to each ther’s ideas. I find that reallyexciting. He lifts the characters up. Usually, people just see the flamboyant and slightly larger-than-life side of him, but he’s got a lot of depth and sensitivity. I like being on a film set with him.

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  • Gully Boy has been shot on mostly real locations. What was your brief to the production designer?

    You had to be on the streets for this kind of a film – you couldn’t be anywhere else. The locations dictated the camera movements, the lensing, the use of space, how the characters and their worlds were shot. I had worked with production designer Suzanne Caplan Merwanji before. We found a spot in Dharavi and constructed a fixed set within it, which we used for Murad’s house and the street on which he lives. Everything around is Dharavi. We were constricted within that space. All the houses were fixed, and, you couldn’t move them. These constraints led to a certain kind of language. It made you feel like you were there. If I had built the set at Film City, you wouldn’t have bought it. You may not have realised why, but it would not have been convincing.

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  • How much needed to be explained about the Indian rap scene in Gully Boy, which is not as familiar as other music scenes?

    Many people know the genre in India. Within the genre, there are various types of forms and artists. There are guys who represent the street – they write conscious rap, about things that affect their lives. They have distinctive voices, and each of their songs has a very different attitude. Take Kaam Bhari, for instance – his language is very different. We had to make sure that each of the artists had their own voice. We also had to explain the ethos of the music without making it boring as hell. For instance, MC Sher describes rap as rhythm and poetry. You had to get into the scene without it becoming preachy or giving the audience a class.

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  • Was ‘Gully Boy’ a film that you had always been wanting to make, or did it have a specific starting point?

    I have a bank of ideas at all times, and I have plans, but I never make the film. I think you are always there in some story or the other. I have realised that the story that keeps me sustained is the one I am going to make. I had no idea of the underground hip-hop scene [in Mumbai] until I saw a video of Naezy. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I kept digging on YouTube, and my interest kept going on. A film is about what turns you on, about what you get excited about. Your head space changes.

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  • You have co-directed a music video and worked as an assistant director, casting director and executive producer before making your own films. Which has been the most useful experience for you?

    No job is most useful. Casting was very useful as far as directing films is concerned. As an AD [assistant director] under the American system, my job was not a creative one but it helped me get a sense of what it takes to get a movie made, understand the logistics and how to work within a budget. I worked with various filmmakers, picked up various aspects of filmmaking from them and also picked up things I shouldn’t have. My stint at NYU [New York University] film school was the creative learning part, where I studied things and watched movies. Casting for me was amazing because it broke my ice with actors. I figured how to get work out of an actor. Those auditioning were still in the medium, struggling. I had a camera, an actor and a scene and I was the only person directing. It was perfect!

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  • Some feel that you make films for only a certain set of people. What's your say?

    I know people say my movies are about rich people. I don’t have anything to say. What does that mean? This is not a critique, but just a reaction. I have done four films, out of which two were shot in India with people here. You don’t go to watch them. So sweety, you tell me why do you go to watch a film about rich people going abroad? You watch the film and tell me it does not work for you, I get it. But not like, this is “a rich guy’s story and does not appeal to me”. I don’t wanna listen to that. It is like saying, “I don’t wanna watch this film because it’s got a king, or set in a slum, neither of which I am familiar with.” It’s ridiculous. What about Slumdog [Millionaire]? Didn’t you watch that even though it was about a world we were not a part of? At the end of the day it is about experiences, emotions that work for all of us. I want to see myself as a director whose films people come to watch irrespective of who’s starring in it. For instance, I would want to watch a Mira Nair film, a Vishal Bhardwaj film, a Mani Ratnam or Anurag [Kashyap] and Dibakar’s[Banerjee] film … If I like a director I will watch his/her film, regardless of who’s in it. And other thing I want to do is be known for the best catering on the sets.

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  • One of the stand-out qualities of your films is your emphasis on cinematography and production design – such as the fine crockery in Luck By Chance and the perfectly coloured grains of rice at a dinner party in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. How?

    I enjoy that. I make sure that I work with people in those capacities who have that eye for detail. In Zindagi, I had Suzanne Caplan Merwanji, the best production designer. You don’t have to think twice about what she does, it is detailed, real and beautiful. I have worked with Neil Patel and Shailja Sharma,, a new art director and set dresser, who can make every table come alive. Then there is Carlos Catalan, my cinematographer, who prefers to use practicals whenever he can. If he wants a certain kind of light, he will ask for it. When you get the best people to work with, they just take things on. You don’t have to do much. I like aesthetic. All my films are very aesthetic.

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  • One of the stand-out qualities of your films is your emphasis on cinematography and production design – such as the fine crockery in Luck By Chance and the perfectly coloured grains of rice at a dinner party in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

    I enjoy that. I make sure that I work with people in those capacities who have that eye for detail. In Zindagi, I had Suzanne Caplan Merwanji, the best production designer. You don’t have to think twice about what she does, it is detailed, real and beautiful. I have worked with Neil Patel and Shailja Sharma,, a new art director and set dresser, who can make every table come alive. Then there is Carlos Catalan, my cinematographer, who prefers to use practicals whenever he can. If he wants a certain kind of light, he will ask for it. When you get the best people to work with, they just take things on. You don’t have to do much. I like aesthetic. All my films are very aesthetic.

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  • Was it challenging to manage so many stars when you were all a captive unit?

    The more actors spend time with each other, the easier it becomes for them. They start playing off each other more like a theatre company than stars on a film set. Yes they are all stars, but each one of them is actually an actor. That is a different DNA. They are greedy for performance and they come in with a different energy. Once you agree to be a part of an ensemble, you become a team player. You cannot come in with your own agenda and ruin it. No, I wasn’t worried about them at all. I had no problems with them at all. People just behave on my set.

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  • Why is travel so important for you and your characters?

    I like to travel. I want to see as much of the world in my lifetime. We live in one little corner, ya! There is so much out there – different cultures, morality, food, art – but the people are still the same, humanity is the same. I try to see a new country every year. And it has made its way into my films.

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  • Your characters seem to discover themselves only after they step out of their familiar universe. Why?

    Not always. In Zindagi, they step out of their routines to go on a road trip. A road trip gives you a lot of space to think. You have hours of nothingness, just driving, and it opens your head up. In this film, travel as a device brings a bunch of people together. It is the dynamics that ensue that we catch. It is about the thirtieth wedding anniversary of this couple and all the people get together. The events could have been anywhere. The cruise ship is important as a metaphor because it is your family and you just can’t leave and you are stuck. Besides, a cruise ship hasn’t been seen and so visually it is interesting.

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  • You say that all your films have been drawn from personal experiences. How about Dil Dhadakne Do’s dysfunctional family?

    It is always a mix of fiction and fact and observation. When you are fictionalizing, you come to a situation where a girl wants to leave her husband (as it happens with Priyanka’s character here) and she wants to have a family chat – I find it surreal. So I will call up a friend and she tells me her experience and I say it’s funny, can I use that? That is why it resonates.

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  • Why Ranveer Singh’s Murad had been brown-faced to fit into the milieu in Gully Boy?

    He came from a holiday in Maldives. He came back toasty. So when we started shooting that’s how he was looking but he started fading. Now we had to keep him toasty to keep the consistency. We would shoot from 7am to 7pm so he never even had the chance to swim and keep himself tanned. Because we didn’t do that to anyone. They can’t be peachy either though. There is a certain sun-spotting that comes when you live like that the whole time, spending a lot of time in the sun. They aren’t applying sunscreens. For someone like Amrita Shubhash (who plays Ranveer’s mother), she’s young but she looks like she’s lived. You don’t shoot in sequence so you have to keep it going. But no, I’m not a brown-facer.

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  • Ironically, the music of the streets has found mainstream recognition only after two top stars decided to incorporate it in Gully boy.Why?

    When we were working on the film, we decided to not have any visual references to Hindi cinema. No renowned Hindi film musician. It’s not there in the film, it just doesn’t exist. We just wanted a world which hasn’t been eaten and has its own spaces left. There’s no posters, no reference to actors, nothing. There is no Hindi film industry/Bollywood in this film.

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  • Which is the film you watched change the way you look at cinema?

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  • Who is your toughest critic?

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  • How you manage so many actors in your film?

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  • What is something you can't tolerate on sets?

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  • What do you think of Ranveer Singh?

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  • What do you think of Ranveer Singh?

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  • Why you chose Javed Akhtar to write poems in Gully Boy?

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  • Why you felt the importance to work in OTT platform?

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  • What is one Major decision you took in your career ?

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  • For your first film you didn't get any actors for long time, but now they want to work with you, So how's this difference?

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  • How you convinced Javed Akhtar to write along side Divine?

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  • Was it a challenge to mix up hip-hop with main stream Hindi Cinema in Gully Boy?

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  • How you choose and decide actors for your film?

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