Mahesh Bhatt has had a long career. Even today, the 67-year-old film-maker believes in keeping himself updated. With many art house and commercial movies under his belt, Bhatt is currently working on a TV show that takes off from where his National Award-winning film, Zakhm (1999), ended. In a candid chat, he talks about giving up direction, keeping himself relevant, and more.
While you quit direction in 1999, you have been creatively involved in producing films. Have you ever felt the urge to direct again?
No, I won’t ever direct again. I am very relevant in the industry, perhaps more than others who think they are relevant. After I gave up direction, I began creating content with new directors and writers.
The last 18 years have been the most successful years of my life. I have created a TV show, which has been a challenging task and an enjoyable process. No matter how good you are, you get dated. I’m a realist. Every entertainer has limited time [in the industry].
I am not saying this out of cynicism. I have seen people who don’t want to quit until they are pushed out. One should gracefully yield and make way for tomorrow. I wouldn’t have been economically as successful if had I continued to direct.
What is your opinion of the trend of remaking Hindi films?
I have nothing against it. It depends on the packaging. I haven’t given it much thought. If there is a brand or a franchise that worked in a big way earlier, recreating it can have a marketing edge. But, as expectations are high, the remake should also be better than the original movie. You can’t fight the nostalgia. People tend to find the first film better.
You have produced a TV show Naamkaran, which is apparently a remake of your hit film, Zakhm.
No. Why would I adapt a National award-winning film into a TV show? I wouldn’t rehash a celebrated film. My TV show Naamkarantakes off from where Zakhm ended and talks about the truths from my life, and asks larger questions. It raises questions about why women should be known by their father or husband’s name.
I think certain values that have outlived their purposes still continue to govern our lives. Women all over the world aspire to be a lot more. Around the world today, women are undergoing a major change.
What do you think of the current content on TV?
I don’t watch much of television or films. I am told that the TV content today has been dumbed down. My content, however, will jolt people as it is emotionally engaging.
Dr Jasim Mohammad's work of love: Asbab e Baghawate Hind written by Sir Syed presented to the film clan. pic.twitter.com/jUIOJ4xhnP— Mahesh Bhatt (@MaheshNBhatt) July 21, 2016
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