The city of Mumbai has ousted Bollywood beauty Chitrangada Singh as the muse of veteran filmmaker Sudhir Mishra who says that his latest film Tera Kya Hoga Johnny is an ode to the City of Dreams.
The film has been in the making for the past three years and Mishra says it is a labour of love; his tribute to the city which made him who he is.
"I was not born in Mumbai but I would not have been myself if I did not come to Mumbai, the city made me who I am. It is the eternal muse which has inspired me over the years," Mishra told PTI in an interview.
Mishra's romance with the maximum city began when he co-wrote the cult classic Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, a colourful take on corruption. He went on to explore the myriad moods of the place and it's people with movies like Dharavi, Is Raat Ki Subah Nahi and Chameli.
But the National Award winning filmmaker rues the loss of the warmth which was once the characteristic of the city which never sleeps.
"It is the story of hope, ambition and life of a 16-year-old boy who lives on the streets of Mumbai and sells coffee. He is the metaphor for everything that I love about Mumbai, it is the city which allows you to dream. But Mumbai has changed over the years. It has become more hostile and less warm," said Mishra.
But the filmmaker is quick to clarify that Tera Kya Hoga Johnny does not delve into the 'Marathi manoos vs immigrant' debate and instead looks at the changing face of the city.
"My characters are all Mumbaikars. Though I was not born in the city I have lived here all my life and consider myself a Mumbaikar. The issue of immigrants is not central to the story but more of a passing thought in the background," said Mishra.
Even as Mumbai races ahead in it's attempt to become the next Shanghai, Johhny's life changes when he meets a stranger and what follows is a thriller with many twists and turns.
The filmmaker however quickly dismissed comparisons with Slumdog Millionaire, the Mumbai-based potboiler about a street urchin's quest for love, which went on to win eight Oscars.
"The film is about how I experienced Mumbai and therefore it is like no other film because it is very personal," said Mishra.
The film which releases on December 17 stars debutante Sikandar Agarwal in the lead. Neil Nitin Mukesh, Soha Ali Khan, Karan Nath, Kay Kay Menon and Shahana Goswami have pivotal roles. It also stars filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Aditya Bhattacharya.