Connect with us

I love being the tortured and tormented soul: Pooja Bhatt

Published

on

In An Interview With Subhash K Jha Pooja Bhatt Opens Up About Her Life, Priorities,Pets & Peeves

Your stepsister Alia says you’re the only one the entire Bhatt family listens to , and that includes your father Mahesh Bhatt?
Is that true?

Advertisement

I don’t know. But I do know that I have a conscience and moral values. And I think a conscience is what finally matters You won’t see me compromising just because it is convenient for me to do so. A friend suggested that I write my autobiography. I can write a book. But I’ve to tell the truth. And I can’t do that because it involves other people’s lives. What would we be without those who are part of our lives? As I grow older I realize that just because I’m so obsessed with the truth it doesn’t mean that everyone else in my life is equally comfortable with it. So either I drop the idea of an autobiography or wait for everyone I love to just die(laughs).That’s a terrible thought. Cancel the autobiography.

Pooja, how come we don’t see you on screen any more?
I am not offered anything. No one wants to cast me! Earlier they though I was a producer-director’s daughter , hence difficult. Now I am a producer-director myself. So you can imagine how intimidated they are. The last person who was brave enough to cast me was Rahul Bose in Everybody Says I’m Fine. He gave me no choice. He is my dearest friend . I confided in him about how disillusioned I was by the business of cinema and stardom. He offered me a role. I was aghast. ‘What kind of a friend are you? I just told you I’m sick of the industry and you’re offering me a role???!!!’ He insisted that only I could play Tanya. But I am so glad he insisted.I am indebted to him. Though I haven’t met Rahul since Everybody Says I’m Fine he reiterated his friendship for me by insisting I do the role. When a friend insists the least you can do is succumb.

Advertisement

We haven’t seen you on screen since then?
After Rahul no one offered me any role except Padam Kumar. I was too petrified to respond to his offer. Filmmakers think I am Mahesh Bhatt’s daughter, so I’d ask too many questions. They thought the same way about the great Tanuja. She had the balls and the gall to be a thinking actress and they never allowed her to succeed to the extent that she deserved. I remember meeting her during the year of Zakham after a popular awards function. She told me she had seen me in Zakham and had connected with my performance like never before. Then Tanujaji said something to me that broke my heart. ‘Don’t think this industry is only for the men . Claim and inherit your space because you have it in you.’ Years later when I met her again she had forgotten her advice. But I remembered and cherished it. But you know that? I enjoy just being a producer and a home maker. I love being in-charge. I love being the tortured and tormented soul . I am a Piscean. I enjoy the real-life drama fully.
Being a woman how have you managed to survive as a producer?
I was India’s youngest producer .I was 21 when I produced my first film. I’ve continued to produce films because of the people who have worked with me and supported me.

But so many actors have betrayed you?
Actors betray. Technicians don’t. Movies are made by technicians. My DOP,light men, art director…these are the people who have stayed with me over the years. They’d give their lives for me. I safeguard their interests like a communist. My dear friend Randeep Hooda says I am more a unionist than an actor. I reminded him I was a star and not just an actor.Tell me something. How many of today’s stars know their spotboys and lightboys by name? For me the guy who holds the thermocol is more important than the guy who stands in front of it. Call me leftist or Maoist . But that’s the way I am. And it’s because of my deep bonding with my technicians that I am able to make my movies economically and they’re much better-looking than my father’s films.

Advertisement

You really think your films are better looking?
Yes. I am only in competition with the people who taught me cinema.I am not in competition with anyone in the industry.Who gives a damn about the industry? What industry? Everything I learnt about production came from my uncle Mukesh Bhatt. Mahesh Bhatt has taught me all that I know about sharing an equation with people.What my father has taught me is that you can lie to anybody but not to yourself.

Do you often come face to face with the truth about yourself?
Recently I went to Ooty after 15 years. My memory was hit by all those films that I shot there like Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin and Sadak. I found Gautam Rajadhyaksha’s book with his pictures of me in a store. I had posed nude long before anyone else had. Gautam had said, ‘The only person Pooja hurts with her candidness is herself.’ You have to be ready for the hurt. I believe when you are given a special life you owe it to the universe to be yourself.I’ve to rage against the wind. I’ve to experience the pitch-dark to relish the dawn. I think in India women with their own mind are still resented.A woman with a vagina, boobs and a brain is considered very intimidating.

Advertisement

How do you deal with Bipasha Basu or Sunny Leone moving away after getting their breakthrough project from you?
I let the film industry deal with them. There is no loyalty in this business, don’t you know that? If people say thank you after being given a break then I am lucky.With Sunny Leone it was the question of ,who would bell the cat? I had the gall to do that.I remember Sanjay Dutt sending a message to Dino Morea saying they wanted Sunny Leone for an item song in Ram Gopal Varma’s Department. If they wanted her they should’ve asked me. Instead Dino asked, ‘Baba (Dutt) Bol raha hai ussey Sunny Leone chahiye.’ I replied, ‘Bol do Baby bol rahi hai , nahin.’ Then Ramu sent me a message saying he would be able to shoot Sunny much better than me as his was the male perspective. I asked Ramu if he had seen my poster of Jism 2. I sent it to him. He asked me to trust him with Sunny. But why should I trust his male perspective when I was the one to bell the cat? You can’t suddenly come and steal my thunder away.

Ms Leone was back then condemned for being a porn star and how dare she, etc etc
Yes. My father and I got the point. …I am finished with all the ladies that I worked with. For me their stardom isn’t of any interest. Years ago I was offered Rahu Rawail’s Bekhudi the film that launched Kajol. My father wanted to know whether I wanted to be a star or an actor. The choice for me was clear. I chose Daddy. I am proud of Daddy, Zakahm and even Prem Deewane and Everybody Says I’m Fine…Even now if someone is willing to cast me I’d be happy to act. It’d be an absolute joy to be on a set and told what to do. Contrary to belief I’m not a control freak. I wish my men realized that. If they told me what to do I’d have done it.

Advertisement

You’ve been a rebel all your life?
Today I see Karan Johar finally attain puberty at 42. Everybody in the film industry is now discovering that turning pointing in their lives at 40-plus. I got there at 17. I’ve been there, done that, bought the teeshirt and sold it. How wonderful that I go to bed at 10 pm and wake up at 5 am instead of going to bed at 5 am. Thanks to Manisha Koirala and me today’s girls admit to a boyfriend .They even kiss in public. I was very happy kissing on screen.But if you asked me to sing a double-meaning song like Sarkayee lo khatiya I wouldn’t be able to do it. I am proud I made Tammanna at 21 and Jissm at 29.I want to ask you if any of my contemporaries are doing what I am? No. End of discussion.

Imtiaz Ali thinks marriage makes an individual a mediocre person. Your take?
It depends on whom you are married to.My happiness has never depended on the men in my life, be it my father, lover or husband.I found my happiness in my own heart.I made my mistakes.And I’m proud of them.

Advertisement

Your heart is that of a gypsy?
Of course it it. And thank God for that. I am great organizer, a great motivator and my unit dotes on me. The reason I make films cheaper than my father and uncle is because I’ve more heart. They can’t be on field during the job. I can.And I am.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

Exclusive Premium Content

Rakesh Roshan: “Everything I  Know  About Acting & Direction, I Learnt From K Vishwanathji”

Published

on

Rakesh Roshan

The  mighty moviemaker K Vishwanath who  was to Telugu cinema what  Satyajit Ray  was  to Bengali cinema,  passed  away on February 2,leaving behind a luminous  legacy.

Acto-director Rakesh Roshan  who had  the  rare honour of working  in four projects  with  Vishwanath recalls him with tremendous respect. “Everything I know  about acting and  direction I learnt from  him. He was  a stalwart , an institution, and so passionate about his work. I had the privilege  of being directed  by him in two films Aurat Aurat Aurat  and Shubh Kamna. He would show  his actors  exactly what he  wanted, down to the minutest gesture.His  understanding  of the medium was  extraordinary.”

Advertisement

Rakesh Roshan remembers how  he  invited Vishwanath to make films for him. “I produced  two films that Vishwanathji directed. One  was Kaamchor, the other was Jaag Utha  Insaan.While the  first was  a runaway success, the second didn’t do well.”

Speaking on how Kaamchor happened Rakesh recalls, “Vishwanathji and I used to meet socially in Hyderabad.We  wanted to work together. But we had  no script.One evening when we met he  looked very depressed. When I asked him what was wrong, he  said his new release Shubodayam  (in Telugu) had  flopped. That  night I went to see Shobodayam  in  a theatre in Hyderabad. The  next morning I  told Vishwanathji, ‘We’ve  found our script’. I told him where  the  storytelling in Shubhodayam  had gone wrong.We corrected the script and that’s how Kaamchor  happened. Although the entire story revolved  around me,  it was Jaya Prada who benefited  from Kaamchor.”

Advertisement

About the beautiful  Jaag Utha Insaan , Rakesh Roshan admits  bluntly, “It  flopped because  of miscasting. During those days Sridevi was known  in Hindi cinema as a glamorous heroine. We cast her as classical dancer. Mithun Chakraborty had  the image  of  Gun Master G-9 and  Disco Dancer.We cast him as  a downtrodden  underdog. I was  known  for Kaamchor and  other citybred characters,I was cast as a Brahmin pandit.With other actors Jaag Utha  Insaan would have been a superhit”

Rakesh met K Vishwanath six years  ago. “We were shooting for Krissh in Hyderabad. He came on  the set several  times. We  had so much to say to each other. After that we lost contact. He was  very very busy with many projects. K Vishwanathji lived  for his cinema.”

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Exclusive Premium Content

As His Latest Work Faraaz Releases Today,  Hansal Mehta Speaks To Subhash  K Jha On The Exciting Times Ahead

Published

on

Faraaz

Hansal, Faraaz is  your fifteenth directorial  venture. How does it feel to have come so far  with so many  milestones behind you?

don’t count my films. Genuinely. Every film is a new beginning. Every film has its share of uncertainty and nerves. Perhaps it is also because of the choices I make. There is no scope for either complacency or me carrying a false sense of security. I’m not complaining,though. Living life on the edge keeps me going.

Advertisement

I  consider  Faraaz to be  a part of your great trilogy on  the dynamics  of terrorism, after  Shahid and  Omerta…where do you see Faraaz  positioned  in your creative ambit?

Thank you , Subhash.Faraaz is a film I’m very, very proud of. It was a challenge to pull off, a tough journey but creatively a very satisfying one. As Rajkummar Rao told me after watching the film , the Trilogy is complete now. Time to explore new stories and new characters. And finish post-production for all the exciting things that we shot for over the past eighteen months.

Advertisement

Out of curiosity which of your films  have given you  the most creative  satisfaction?

Almost every film Shahid onwards has been immensely satisfying , both in terms of process and the outcome. Save a couple that I need not name. But even those I own for all their flaws, failures, deficiencies and redeeming qualities. But Faraaz has been a great process. I’ve made so many new friends in this journey and found some of the most exciting colleagues that I’m proud to introduce through the film. Writers Raghav Kakkar and Kashyap Kapoor (who co-wrote the film with Ritesh Shah), Cinematographer Pratham Mehta, Sound Designer Mandar Kulkarni, Editor Amitesh Mukherjee, co-producers Sahil, Maz and Sakshi – all of whom have given their blood and sweat to make this film happen. And of course Anubhav Sinha one of my oldest friends in the industry who backed me in telling this story just the way I wanted it. So yes, Faraaz has been satisfying and also filled me with a deep sense of gratitude. I must have done something right, no?

Advertisement

Of course. Faraaz has a lot of young new actors in it. Tell me  about the  process  of  casting in this film? It couldn’t have been easy since there are dozens  of faces?

That was the challenge and the joy of making this film. I worked on the story during Chhalaang and I always knew that it would be a return to my indie roots for Faraaz. The film had to be made. And it needed fresh faces, bereft of image or trappings of stardom. A huge credit to Mukesh Chhabra who has a huge role to play in my filmography since Shahid. We constantly challenge each other and never ever give up. Casting is a process I really enjoy and finding the right talent to bring characters alive is something I thrive upon. Faraaz has an amazing ensemble. Right from Aditya Rawal , Zahan Kapoor, Juhi Babbar to every small character in the film including the officers, parents and the hostages this one is a triumph of honest casting , casting without an eye on profits, simply in service of the film, of the character.

Advertisement

Faraaz is  about a terror attack in Bangladesh?how  do you respond to those who want to know, why Bangladesh?

In our research of this dastardly attack we realised that here was a story that had a larger message and something very universal to share. Misguided youth taking up violence in the name of religion or a parent’s love for her child or the unexpected bravery from an unlikely hero are themes that cannot be limited by borders, nationality or language. These stories must be told. They must transcend the limitations of perceived local relevance – particularly when our polarised times need such stories to be told to a larger audience.

Advertisement

In 2020, your OTT series Scam 1992  proved to  b e game changer. Do you see Scam as a turning point  in your career?

I see Scam 1992 as an enabler. We did not expect its humongous success and to say it did not change things would be fake humility. It gave me back a lot of things I had lost in the years before it released. Including some money. And the courage to tell the stories I desperately wanted to. Also exceptional friends and collaborators like Sameer Nair and his Studio Applause.

Advertisement

Your films  and your  attitude to cinema has always  been fearless. How  do you  cope with the  threat of growing intolerance in our society  vis a  vis your  convictions as a  filmmaker?

It is not new to me. Remember Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar in 2000? The only difference now is that then I was deeply affected by the intolerance to a point of self destruction. Now I channelise my despair and anger into telling relevant stories and through them taking on those who have made it a business to be intolerant.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Exclusive Premium Content

To Attend Siddharth-Kiara’s Destination Wedding, Karan Johar Preponed His Twins’s Birthday  Bash

Published

on

Siddharth-Kiara’s

For those  who are  wondering why Karan Johar hosted  the grand birthday party for his  twins Roohi and  Yash who will  turn 6 on 7 February,  six days in  advance  on 1  February  here is  why:  on the day of his twins’ birthday,  Karan  will be in Rajasthan attending the wedding celebrations of his dear friends  Siddharth Malhotra  and Kiara Advani who are  getting married on  February 6.

 Reveals   a friend close  to  Karan,  “Karan was in a dilemma. To him there is  nothing more important than his  children’s happiness.  How could he break their hearts by skipping  the most important day of their  lives? At the same time, how could he  not attend Siddharth and Kiara’s wedding ? They are  very close to him.”

Advertisement

Karan did the best thing possible to resolve the situation:  he put the dilemma before his children Yash and Juhi who happily  agreed  to  have their party  a few days in advance so their ‘Dada’  could  attend  his friends’ wedding.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Exclusive Premium Content

The  Big Independence Day Clash To Be Averted?

Published

on

Animal and Sunny Deol’s  long-awaited Gadar 2

Sunny Deol, John Abraham  Ranbir  Kapoor  and the Covid Vaccine are all set to clash at the boxoffice this  Independence Day .

While the  Ranbir Kapoor starrer Animal and Sunny Deol’s  long-awaited Gadar sequel  are  both scheduled  for release  on August  11, John Abraham’s  Tariq  releases three days later on August 15.On the same day  Vivek(The Kashmir Files) also  releases  The Covid Vaccine.

Advertisement

It looks  like  a crowded weekend, with one too many releases for audiences to  choose from.

Apparently  intense discussions are on among the  producers of the four  big films to see how the clutter can be  resolved.

Advertisement

A  source close to the  development says, “Gadar 2 is the  right fit for the Independence Day weekend. But the producers of Animal  are in no mood to move  from August 13 . John  who is  a co-producer  on Tariq  and Vivek  Agnihotri with his Covid Vaccine  are also adamant  on coming on   August 15.The  Independence Day weekend is  a long  weekend. So let’s see…”

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Most Popular