A movie starring Ajay Devgn and Pooja Bhatt that was conceptualised by film-maker Mahesh Bhatt but shelved almost 25 years ago is being turned into a television show. Bhatt was in Indore with some TV actors on Wednesday to promote 'Udann'. The show will air from August 18 and centres around a seven-year-old girl Chakor and highlights the issue of bonded labour.
What prompted you to come up with such a show?
We had planned to make a film which was titled 'Girvi' starring Ajay Devgn and Pooja Bhatt more than 25 years ago. At that time, the producer wasn't sure of going ahead with the project as he felt it lacked entertainment quotient. Recently, Guroudev (Bhalla), producer of the show, came to me asking if he could make a show using the concept. I told him I had borrowed the idea from an international magazine and he could go ahead with the show.
The movie is about bonded labour. One of my friends, who works with an NGO for kids, helped me with the figures and research work. Bonded labour exists in our country since ages and has often been highlighted in the media.
Women-related issues have become the favourite subject for TV show makers. What do you have to say about it?
This is not new. This medium has been used by film and television fraternity for long. A lot of people have made films on such concepts. My daughter Alia (Bhatt) worked in the film 'Highway' which was a brave film. When a young icon does a film like this, it becomes an inspiration for thousands of women.
Why do films that highlight social issues not get as much recognition as commercial ones?
Bollywood films are more about happy endings and people want to watch such films only. I was happy at the outcome of CityLights but it didn't do enough business as compared to films people say should not be made but go and watch them. For example, CityLights earned Rs 8 crore at the box office while Jism 2 grossed Rs 45 crore. The difference between the cost of making the two films was only Rs 1 crore.
Alia says she wants to work with you. Do you have any film with her on your agenda?
I am not going to work with her as I am not a director anymore and she knows it. I think she has been doing good for herself and I am proud of her. She has achieved a lot at such a young age. This shows the potential of girls of the new generation. They are very bright. I think she is writing her own destiny. If I have something worthwhile, she may consider it but she has complete freedom to decide whether or not she wants to go ahead with it.
Who according to you is a better actor — Pooja or Alia?
Alia has a lot of natural talent which was seen in her first few projects. I was surprised to see her work in 'Highway'. Pooja has always been interested in behind the scene work and is more interested in making films. Alia is a 'richer' actress.
Have you been to Indore before?
I have been here for various media activities and event promotions. Indore is a very important centre for cinema and entertainment activities.