In 2013, a strange phenomenon is afoot. A bunch of directors are all simultaneously working on their second releases. They are either looking to repeat the success of their debut ventures or rectify their mistakes. Some will be wielding the megaphone five years after their first film.
While Bejoy Nambiar, Remo D'Souza and Neeraj Pandey have already released their second films, over a dozen others are in queue. After Wake Up Sid (2009), Ayan Mukerji is ready with Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Anthony D'Souza, who made the 2009 debacle, Blue, has another Akshay Kumar-starrer, Boss. Udaan (2010) director Vikramaditya Motwane will direct Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha in Lootera.
We speak to two directors: one who's just tasted success - Neeraj Pandey with Special 26 (his first was A Wednesday in 2009); and one who hopes to - Sabbir Khan, with Heropanti (his first was Kambakkht Ishq in 2009) about their second coming.
Neeraj Pandey (A wednesday; 2009): People listen to you after a successful first film
Why did it take five years to make your second film?
The entire process turned out too slow. I had taken the script to Akshay Kumar and he had turned it down. When I went back to him, he accepted. I was also busy producing my Marathi film (Taryanche Bait, 2011).
How were things different the second time around?
People listen to you more attentively if you have a successful first film. Of course, Special 26 was a huge production compared to A Wednesday. The shooting took us to several cities, while A Wednesday was shot in a fairly controlled environment.
Was there added pressure?
Of course, expectations are always there, but you can't let them affect you. I didn't think about them. Kaam kar lo ya chinta karte raho (either work or worry). You cast Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher in your first; this time, you had a commercial star like Akshay Kumar. Akshay, for me, was always an actor and never a star on the sets. And Special 26 isn't the usual stuff he is associated with. For me, all actors are stars. In my first film too, be it Naseer saab or Anupamji, everyone was equally important.
Will you take another five years to make your third film?
I hope not. I have a lot of things in mind, but there's no point talking about them at this stage.
Will we see you you move away from your niche brand of cinema?
If the audience is responding so well to it, I don't see why I should stop making the films I love, even if they are niche.
Sabbir Khan (Kambakkht Ishq; 2009): You feel responsible for newcomers
Why did your second film take four years to ready?
I wasn't counting. I took this time to understand the audience's perception of what I had already made (Kambakkht Ishq). There was a lot of information that needed to be processed in order to try and become a better filmmaker.
How are things different now?
This is a radically different genre. Apart from that, I have an ensemble cast of new actors, right down to my lead (Tiger Shroff, who will make his debut with this film, Heropanti), as opposed to working with Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor.
How was it working with stars in your first film?
Akshay spoils a director. He's a superstar, but never makes you feel that way. Kareena is professional and supremely talented.
What's the best thing about Heropanti according to you?
At its heart, it's a love tale with a strong undercurrent of the violent times that we live in. It's gritty and edgy.
Is launching Tiger going to be a challenge?
Launching a newcomer is a double-edged sword. Sometimes you feel no pressure because you're left with your own vision and command over the craft. But you also feel extremely responsible for the newcomer and how you present him or her to the world.
Going ahead, what kinds of films do you plan to make?
There are many stories that I want to tell.
Five directors who will release their second films in 2013
Abhinav Singh Kashyap
Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda and Rishi Kapoor
First film: Dabangg (2010)
Abhinav says: "If the poster of my film is so colourful, you can imagine how vibrant the film will be. Ranbir will surprise everyone."
Stars: Akshay Kumar and Aditi Rao Hydari
First film: Blue (2009)
Anthony says: "All I can say is that it is going to be a typical masala entertainer."
Vijay Krishna Acharya
Stars: Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif
First film: Tashan (2008)
Vijay says: "Directors have to do things that drive them. Commerce is in nobody's hands."
Film: Gori Tere Pyaar Mein
Stars: Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor
First film: I Hate Luv Storys (2010)
Punit says: "Half the film is set in a village. The title also speaks of love in a rustic setting. We derived it from one of our songs."
Stars: Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha
First film: Udaan (2010)
Vikramaditya says: "For me, Udaan was a commercial film. And I haven't changed much since then. Lootera is my film and my story, I will tell it my way."
The list goes on…
First film: Kurbaan
Ali Abbas Zafar
First film: Mere Brother Ki Dulhan
First film: Pyaar Ke Side Effects
Now: Shaadi Ke Side Effects
Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru
First film: Lucky: No Time For Love
Now: I Love New Year
First film: 1920 - Evil Returns
Now: Ragini MMS 2