A famous husband may mean bigger opportunities in Bollywood, but Divya Khosla Kumar insists that being married to Bhushan didn’t necessarily mean that it was easier for her. She discusses her maiden film, and how it’s just the beginning of her film-making career.
Why did you turn director?
I wanted to channelise my creativity as well as grow as a person. Directing music videos was a great outlet. I feel that more women should turn directors as they are more sensitive and emotional than men — that’s a crucial factor in being a good director. Women are also great multi-taskers and can juggle their roles as wives, mothers and professionals simultaneously, with aplomb.
Did you feel the need to create your own identity and not just be known as Bhushan’s wife?
That should be important for every woman. Only if I grow as a person can I encourage my kids to be better. I came to Mumbai 12 years ago to make a name for myself. Bhushan and I are both creative people, and it would have been a waste of my talent to sit at home, socialise and just be Mrs Bhushan Kumar. My husband was very encouraging and he understood my need to find my own niche.
Don’t you feel people might think you got a chance to direct because of your producer husband?
If that was the case, I would have directed a film soon after my marriage, not after eight years. I have struggled a lot to reach here. In fact Bhushan wasn’t sure of this initially. It was only after I directed 20 music videos for him that he got convinced. He didn’t give me this chance on a platter. The production company and its reputation are most precious to him, as his father built it.
What challenges did you face while directing Yaariyan?
There were many. Bhushan didn’t want me to assist any director in Bollywood to learn the ropes, as it wouldn’t have been appropriate, since I’m his wife. So I did a course in cinematography, learnt editing in our office, then I directed music videos, including the ones for Adnan Sami and Jermaine Jackson. Then once I got the go-ahead for Yaariyan, I worked on the script, casting, location etc. It wasn’t an easy film to make. I even narrated the script to Aamir (Khan) as I wanted his advice. He said it was a tough subject and I should make an easier film like a remake of a foreign film as my debut. But I took it upon myself as a challenge. My son was a year old, so handling direction and my child was doubly hard for me.
Why didn’t you continue acting after your first film Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon (2004)?
I got married a few months after the film released. Acting had never given me the a high that direction gave.
Hailing from a non-film background, did you ever feel lost as the wife of a famous film producer?
Never. He might be in the glamour world, but as a person he is humble and down to earth.