This may well be the year of the first-time director — no less than 12 are making their debut in 2009. Among the most anticipated are Ajit Pal Mangat’s Victory, releasing on January 30; Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat, which has husband Aamir Khan in a character role; actress Nandita Das’ first outing as director, Firaaq, already a hit in the festival circuit; Zoya Akhtar’s Luck By Chance, starring her filmmaker-actor brother Farhan; and Anthony D’Souza’s Rs 120-crore project, Blue, billed as Bollywood ‘first underwater film’.
Mangat’s film has, besides actor Harman Baweja, a host of international cricketers. He made a film on the game, as he had “a fetish” for it since childhood”. Rao assisted on Lagaan and Swades before graduating to full-fledged direction. About directing Aamir, she had earlier said, “He is a director’s delight.”
Anthony D’Souza found the inspiration for Blue in Hollywood blockbusters like The Deep and Jaws. For him, the biggest fear was shooting with 40 real sharks.
With Luck By Chance, Zoya Akhtar promises to give viewers an “insiders’ view of Bollywood”. The other first-time directors are Sabir Khan (Kambakkht Ishq, starring Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Sylvester Stallone); Rensil D’Silva (Jihaad, starring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena); Madhureeta Anand (Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye); Mudassar Aziz (Dulha Mil Gaya); Nisha Chainani (42 Kms, on the Mumbai marathon); Kajol’s cousin Ayaan Mukherjee (Wake Up Sid, starring Ranbir Shorey and Konkona Sen Sharma); and Sudipto Chattopadhyay (Pankh, starring Bipasha Basu).