Being an Anand is not easy, and being son of filmmaker Chetan Anand means more expectations to live up to. But that didn’t deter Ketan Anand from going on to make acclaimed films such as ‘Shart’ and ‘Toote Khilone’. At the sidelines of the Khushwant Singh Litfest 2015, the Bollywood director shared with HT the fond memories of his father and talked about his upcoming projects and how he was looking forward to launching his nephew into films; and more importantly, life post his stay in jail.
This year’s edition of the Khushwant Singh Litfest has been an assessment of his peers who share the centenary one of who was your father, the legendary Chetan Anand.
What makes this even more special is that both KS and my father cut their own parts in life. They swam upstream in their fields without adhering to stereotypes. My father made issue-based films and it’s nice to see that trend emerge again with the likes of Anurag (Kashyap), Shoojit Sircar, Kabir Khan. In fact, Kabir’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan, as he has repeatedly said, was inspired by my dad’s ‘Aakhri Khat’.
Any special memories of your father?
Memories are aplenty but as Amit Khanna said filmmaker Chetan Anand was among the first who brought a sense of colour in films. ‘Heer Ranjha’ is a classic example. He wanted the entire film to be shot like it was poetry. He was an intelligent and curious human being, well-versed in many languages and all kinds of classical music. That is why I say my father was a poetic romanticist and not a romantic poet (smiles).
You are set to revive Chetan Anand’s banner Himalaya films with a psychological love story. Is it true?
Yes, ‘Petrol Pump’ was written by dad almost 40 years ago as he wanted to direct the film. It is, as you said, a psychological, highway story as the name suggests. The film revolves around two men, one of whom is returning from the hills and the other who is going uphill and they get stuck at a petrol pump due to a storm and both have loved and lost the same girl, so now whether the girl will come back or not and whom will she choose is what the film’s focus will be on.
Are you launching another Anand in this film?
(Interrupts) That’s exactly what I was getting to. I will launch my nephew, my brother Vivek Anand’s son, Surya Rishi Anand, who will play one of the lead roles in the project. We have been training him for a while and he’s a young, tall and handsome guy. In case the project doesn’t happen under the family banner, we’ll get someone else to do the film, but will definitely launch him by the year-end. The script is complete and we are just waiting to figure out the funds. Shraddha, Aliya and Parineeti we are considering for the girl’s character.
Is it challenging to come from such an illustrious family? Did you or your brother ever feel the pressure?
The pressure doesn’t come so much from within the family as it does from the external forces or rather the market. But you have to move out of your own sunshine. My brother has made a name for himself as a painter and loves what he is doing. I enjoy working on the few film projects I engage myself in. And now it’s for the next generation to take over. Our duty is to provide the young a platform.
The case relating to Priya Rajvansh’s murder caught everyone’s eye. Did it slow down your pace or have things changed for you after that?
Ideally, I wouldn’t want to go into the details at this point, but to tell you in a couple of words, of course it has impacted us as a family in many ways. It blocked constructive discussion but at the same time I have nothing to fret as I haven’t done any wrong. Emotional baggage is one thing but knowing your conscience is another and Vivek and I have been clear on that front. The judiciary is supreme and we are abiding by what the court says. And well, we are the Anands, so we always bounce back.