Tell us about your movie That Girl in Yellow Boots.
That Girl in Yellow Boots is a film that is very close to me. It’s a film that is devoid of any trappings of any kind of mainstream cinema. It is a kind of a thriller and also a kind of a character study. It is about a girl who has come from England and is looking for her father, who had probably come there a long time ago. Her visa has expired but she is still staying in the country illegally, and people take advantage of her. Yet she continues searching for her father, determined to not go back till she has found her
father, and that’s what the film is about.
Apparently, the film was shot in 13 days, yet it was delayed by a year! What caused the delay?
It is not a very comfortable film to watch. It is a film that is controversial. So, nobody wanted to produce it. We, for the film, went on borrowing money from people and slowly and slowly it took us one year to finish the editing and postproduction. After that I went for the festivals and then it took us another year to find international distributors. Obviously, the Indian distributors think that there isn’t a wide range of audience abroad because for them the audience abroad is just the Indians abroad, and beyond that they don’t know how to explore, which is why we decided that we are not going to give it to anyone who is not willing to collaborate to get distributors and find an audience; so that took us one year. Then Viacom 18 came on board and IndiePix Films is releasing the film in America. So, there are a lot of people collaborating to release the film world over.
This film has been co-written by Kalki as well. Kalki the actor or Kalki the writer?
I like both! I think she is a far superior writer than most people. She is a very good actress. The problem has always been the range, which she has perfected now, like with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and in subsequent other films that will soon come out, like My Friend Pinto and Shanghai. So, she has gone many notches above now. As a writer also she has won many awards like the best playwright etc. She is multi-talented and a very creative person. I like her in every which way!
Exactly a year from your wedding date, you and Kalki had stated in an interview, “We are as good as married. We live together. We have each other,” and so there weren’t any wedding bells ringing then. What changed your minds?
Nothing. You know, sometimes some things just seem right and sometimes the families are involved also, so all those things come into play. That doesn’t change anything between us. We were close together then and we are close together now. We don’t act like husband and wife, we still act like friends.
You’ve seen the lows and highs of life in a very short span of time. Tell us about your journey in Mumbai.
It’s been great! When I look back and I look at where I am today, it’s really been a great journey. I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve grown up a lot. My father used to say that if anybody does something that people don’t understand, it is deemed that the person is mad, and after that slowly they leave him alone and slowly they come to accept him and realise what he did was a painstaking thing. So, if you have chosen to walk this road and chosen to do the kind of films you want to do, you have to go through the consequences. That eased me a lot. That moment the anger against the system, that why they are not allowing me to make a film, and that I have to make a film and I have to make a difference, changed.
Has your life influenced Anurag Kashyap, the filmmaker?
I keep borrowing from life. I borrow from my own life, from other people’s lives. Somewhere I’ve become a much calmer person, and I am doing what I wanted to do.
Your movies have always been targeted by the Censor Board for various reasons. Once you had stated that the Censor Board is completely partial and biased. What is your take on it now?
I think they are really fantastic now. They are becoming a certification board and they are not a Censor Board anymore. They are certifying films and they are sharing films. They are very mature about it. Problem is not with the people on the board, the problem is with the laws. Now I think they have put together a bill, a draft, which is to be passed in the next session of the Parliament, and once that happens I think a lot will change. I don’t think I’ll say that (Censor Board is completely partial and biased) today. In the course of time they have also grown-up about it and it is only recently that the Board has changed.
How difficult is it for a budding director to get into the world of glamour?
If somebody is really sincere then his dream and his passion will also become his career and will drive him to it. There are a lot of people who don’t do anything because they think that somebody will come and do it for them. I just believed in what I wanted to do and I didn’t listen to anyone. Till today, I have the freedom to do what I want to do.
Tell us about your movie Bombay Velvet. What’s happening on that front?
We’ll start next year around June-July. The casting is almost done and it will be announced next month or so. Apart from that there is a film called Michael that is coming out, which I have produced and then there is Gangs of Wasseypur one and two, which are also complete and edited and now we are going into postproduction. So, there is a lot coming out next year.