‘I act to learn new things in direction’

National award winning director Tigmanshu Dhulia is enjoying acting these days. He was recently seen in ‘Zero’, web-series ‘Rangbaaz’, and will next be seen in his own film ‘Milan Talkies’ and is currently shooting for Honey Trehan directorial debut ‘Raat Akeli Hai’ in Lucknow.
Tigmanshu Dhulia.
Tigmanshu Dhulia.
Published on Mar 04, 2019 02:37 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Lucknow | ByDeep Saxena

National award winning director Tigmanshu Dhulia is enjoying acting these days. He was recently seen in ‘Zero’, web-series ‘Rangbaaz’, and will next be seen in his own film ‘Milan Talkies’ and is currently shooting for Honey Trehan directorial debut ‘Raat Akeli Hai’ in Lucknow.

“My taking up acting assignments is because of many factors. More than the money, I enjoy acting and other things I do to learn new things. These new filmmakers, like Honey, are brilliant in their craft and you get to learn so much from them. I am doing all this as I don’t want to become redundant. You can move ahead with the times and stay relevant only if you keep pace with young minds, and acting gives me that opportunity,” said the charismatic actor and director during a free-wheeling chat. Edited excerpts:

So, what has the learning curve been like with the acting stint?

I did ‘Zero’ as I wanted to see the technical aspects of shooting a vertically challenged man. It was a great learning experience which I would not have got anywhere else and I was getting money to act, which was a bonus. I did ‘Rangbaaz’, as my nephew was directing it and it was a good role. ‘Raat Baaki Hai’ is Honey’s debut film and he has been a wonderful casting director for Vishal (Bhardwaj). I learned a lot from those too.

You never acted in your own film before?

I did. I shot for my own film (Milan Talkies) for the first time. I was not doing the role and kept on pushing it to the end but everyone was so busy that in the end I had to take it up.

Milan Talkies is being delivered now? Nine years after you conceived it?

I wanted to shoot this film for a long time. I got this idea during the shoot of ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ (2010-11) and then I started writing it. I have tried to make it since 2012, Ekta (Kapoor) tried to make it but it not happen, many actors were changed during the course. I feel every script/film has its own destiny and its time has now come.

What’s the film about?

Set in 2010-13 the film is about communication. Mobiles were there but they were not so smart and social media was also not that prevalent. It’s about the time when films were shown in single-screen theatres on reels, before digitisation took over. It’s my tribute to single screen theatres which used to witness long lines and the mixed essence of samosa and cigarette. The audience too had a connection with it. Today, multiplexes are too detached and just like a drawing room laced with luxury. Woh maza nahi hai (that charm is missing)!

Tigmanshu in Lucknow.
Tigmanshu in Lucknow.

You shot it in Lucknow and Mathura?

We shot the exterior of Gulaab cinema and interior of the theatre was shot in Ravindralaya. But, it’s set in Allahabad (Prayagraj) and Mathura. We shot it here as it’s convenient and we don’t have such cinemas left there. It is a pure light-hearted love-story with lot of comedy. Ali (Fazal) and Shraddha (Shrinath) are brilliant and my supporting cast Ashutosh Rana, Sanjai Mishra, Yashpal Sharma, Deep Raj Rana and others are good too.

What’s about this place that everyone wants to shoot here?

Facilities available here are like a film industry. Comparatively, it’s economical to shoot here. If it becomes costlier here and newer locations come up, people will move out of Lucknow to those places. It is a big state and is filled with varied locations so they too will be explored.

Will people like to go to small towns to shoot?

Why not? We shot ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ in Dholpur, which hardly had any infrastructure. We stayed in guest houses and shot the film. A large part of ‘Milan Talkies’ was shot in Mathura and it was perfect.

What went wrong with last release ‘Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster3’?

‘Humne sur hi galat pakad liya tha’ (We caught a wrong note). The gangster (Sanjay Dutt) became too big and the balance with the rest went haywire. The mystery of the location (Bariya, Gujarat) was missing. We made many mistakes. Hope to come back with the fourth edition of the franchise!

What about ‘Yaara’ starring Vidyut Jamwaal?

The film is ready, just some little sound and post-production work is left. It will hopefully be released by this year end.

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