there’s too much pressure). Earlier, we’d go quietly, do our work and come back. But this time, we are under the spotlight. We are taking two films. While part one is complete, the second is a bit incomplete. Many in India feel you have cracked the code to reach such global film festivals.
It’s very simple. If you understand what a film festival is and make the right movie, it will be selected. In India, no one knows what a film festival stands for. When we talk of ‘mela’ (festival) in village terms, it’s where everyone brings products to showcase and sell. Similarly, film festivals have people bringing work from their own country to sell.
But selection committees choose what to showcase. Also, Indians have a lot of demands. Such festivals don’t have enough money to provide business class tickets and five-star hotel suites. But our stars are so used to luxury, they can’t do without it.
But we don’t see many Indian films at international festivals. In Bollywood, we cater to only Indian audiences. So unlike others, my film doesn’t release here on 3,000 or 5,000 screens. People feel my work is too indulgent or dark. Likewise, outsiders feel our films are too Bollywood-ised.
These days, actors make a big fuss about Cannes. Our people like to pose for pictures. But the red carpet is a myth. The pictures of our stars that are published are only seen in India. But when you go to the official website of Cannes, they only mention films that are formally selected. We are obsessed with the red carpet, and not whether our film has been chosen. This year too, none of our work is in the main competition.
Why do you call Gangs of Wasseypur an ‘item’ film?
Everyone asks, ‘what’s the item song?’ And I say, ‘the entire film is an item song.’
Has it helped that you didn’t work with stars?
If it had stars, it would have been a Rs. 80-90 crore film. It’s possible that it wouldn’t have had the quality it has now. You can’t shoot on real locations, sets have to be erected. So, the film becomes unreal. India is so crowded, but when you watch a Bollywood film, it looks like no one lives here because we get the roads cleared for the stars.
Kalki is missing from Cannes?
She is busy with Ek Thi Daayan and Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani. So, she doesn’t have time.
And your next is Bombay Velvet with Ranbir Kapoor.
He (Ranbir) is an incredible actor. I don’t know any filmmaker who doesn’t want to work with him. And, of course, he’s a star. So, why not work with him?
Is Anushka Sharma also doing the film?
Everything is being locked right now. Wait for the official announcement. It doesn’t make sense if things aren’t finalised.
And lastly, you have worked on Aamir Khan’s dialogue in Talaash?
Farhan (Akhtar) has written most of the dialogue. Later, they asked me to work on some extra parts when Farhan was busy with Don 2.