With her latest film hitting the bull’s eye at the box office, film-maker Zoya Akhtar has reaffirmed her position in Bollywood. However, the 42-year-old says, “It (the praise) hasn’t sunk in yet.” Here, the director talks about handling big stars, the influx of women in Bollywood, and more.
There are very few women directors in Bollywood. Is it because there is a perception that they can’t handle the job?
Given a chance, women can handle the planet. Just that they have had a late start in Bollywood. So, it has been a men’s club. But the influx of women in the Hindi film industry is insane. It means people are getting work, their ideas are getting picked up, they are being accepted, and they are going to do well. It’s going to be different in 10 years.
Talking of remuneration, many actresses feel that they should be paid on par with male actors.It’s a box-office call. Having said that, I think the ratio is heavily skewed towards male actors, and needs to be balanced out. For instance, if you take a big love story, you can’t negate the actress. So, you need to pay the actresses more, for sure.
Most of your films have had ensemble casts. How do you manage the big stars?
Every film is difficult, but the biggest thing with an ensemble cast is that it can become a bit tiring. You have so many actors to deal with, and that many narrations and briefings to do. But it’s great fun.
As a director, isn’t it taxing to handle them all?
Thankfully, all the ‘starry’ stuff is handled by the producers. And although all the people in my new film are stars, at the core, they are just actors who want to do well. So contrary to general perception, I didn’t have a hard time dealing with them.
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