Director Nishikant Kamat, by his own admission, likes to lead a “simple lifestyle”. “Look at me, I still walk around in my slippers, after having done so many films,” he says, while pointing to his footwear during our interview. “I have never been insecure as a film-maker,” he adds.
The Madaari director has worked with the likes of Ajay Devgn (Drishyam; 2015) and John Abraham (Rocky Handsome; 2016). Nishikant, however, is yet to work with the three Khans (Shah Rukh, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan). Ask him what’s stopping him, and he says, “My scripts need something more to cater to the Khans, because they all have a bigger image. To make Salman or Shah Rukh play a fellow from a chawl would be very difficult. You need to add depth and colours to the character as it has to justify a big star.”
Kamat adds that he is “awestruck” by the Khans. “They are stars. They light up the room they walk into. I’m fascinated by them because I’m a fan. That’s a different approach. But as a film-maker, I need the correct script [to approach them],” he says.
Aside from Hindi films, Kamat has been associated with Marathi cinema, having directed movies such Dombivali Fast (2005) and Saatchya Aat Gharat (2004). The films questioned the moral ethics of modern society. Ask him if the Marathi audience’s reaction to such bold content was ever a cause of worry for him, and Kamat says, “People have an open mindset here,” adding, “We have explored some touchy subjects that have made a big political comment. But Maharashtra politics and cinema are unrelated. Besides, I just feel that somebody should raise these questions. I have the medium of films to do that.”