National Award-winner Ketan Mehta has worked with actors like Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan back in the day. However, ask him why he doesn’t work with big names, and he says, "I don’t sign stars."
Watch: Trailer of Ketan Mehta's Rang Rasiya
Here, the film-maker talks about the importance of talent, and why others rely on big names for box-office hits.
Your next film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who has become a poster boy of sorts for unconventional cinema. But before that, he struggled to make it big.
Unfortunately, producers in India are not adventurous enough to discover new talent. I have always worked with new talent. I worked with Shah Rukh in Maya Memsaab (1993) and Aamir in Holi (1985) before they became stars. I am glad they are celebrated actors now.
Also read: Randeep, Nandana in Ketan Mehta's Rang Rasiya
But you haven’t worked with Shah Rukh ever since. And with Aamir, you only made Mangal Pandey (2005). Why is that?
I don’t sign stars and then work on a story. I cast actors only once I have completed work on the subject. Unfortunately, people play it safe by relying on stars to carry their films instead of depending on their concepts. But times are changing now.
There is also a perception that stars are not open to offbeat films.
Yes, they carry a certain burden because of their stardom. They carry the baggage of their persona, which is larger-than-life. But, the younger lot is more adventurous and open to experimenting with roles. Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh are doing well. Nawazuddin, too, is an ideal example of someone who is redefining stardom.
You are now producing an animation TV series. Going by the first look, it seems to be in the mythology genre. But haven’t such shows been done to death?
This is not a mythological series. It’s a contemporary story with lots of charm, wit and courage.
The Indian animation industry is far behind its Western counterpart. Why?
The animation industry in India is only 10 years old. In the west, it has been around for over 80 years. But since we are quick learners, animation has grown rapidly and now, we are creating original content here.