A legacy doesn’t help or create pressure, says Raazi director Meghna Gulzar

Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar says that being the daughter of lyricist Gulzar and actor Rakhee Gulzar did not help her get producers for her first few films when she started off.

bollywood Updated: Jul 17, 2018 17:50 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Meghna Gulzar,Gulzar,Rakhee Gulzar
Meghna Gulzar’s last directorial was Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal starrer Raazi.

With the blockbuster hit Raazi and the highly acclaimed Talvar (2015) to her name, filmmaker Meghna Gulzar has truly come into her own as a filmmaker. Her next project, the biopic of India’s most charismatic soldier, the war hero Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, looks set to help her scale new peaks.

Read| Meghna Gulzar’s advice to her son: Don’t take success seriously

This success didn’t come easy. While much has been said about nepotism, that word means little to Meghna — all she knows about it is that having two of the most famous people in Hindi filmdom didn’t get her anything on a platter, because “you’re are only as good as your last film”, she says. Meghna is the daughter of actor Rakhee, a superstar in her heydays, and poet-filmmaker Gulzar, who has made classics such as Aandhi (1975) and Ijaazat (1987). Despite this lineage, Meghna struggled to find backers for her first few films.

“Both the assumptions — that having a legacy helps, or it creates the pressure of expectations — are false,” she says. “Had it been of any help, then it wouldn’t have taken me two-and-a-half years to put out my first film, and over five years to put my second and third films together, and then another seven years for my fourth film! You are only as good as your last film, and it does not matter who your parents are. Nobody is going to bet on a losing proposition, one that isn’t commercially viable. People had a slight reservation about investing in me in the beginning,” she adds.

Rakhee Gulzar at an event in Mumbai.

Her first three films include Filhaal... (2002), Just Married (2007), and Dus Kahaniyaan (2007). It was Talvar that made the biggest difference. The filmmaker says, “Things are very different now. I know it has a lot to do with the success of Talvar. But I also think the mindset of producers has changed, because the audience is driving content-rich films to success. The other day, someone asked me, ‘Do you think the filmmakers have become more aware now or the audiences have?’ My answer is that it’s a two-way process. Ek kadam audience aagey letey hain, to phir hum achha banana shuru karte hain.”

Does she think any of her earlier films would have done well had they released now? “Yes,” she replies. “People have asked me this: ‘Do you think Filhaal would’ve been successful had it released now?’ I think it might have. At the same time, I think I’ve grown as a filmmaker; my understanding of the audience is better, I’m connecting with them more.”

Author tweets @Shreya_MJ

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First Published: Jul 17, 2018 17:50 IST