By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Why this sudden decision to make Nishabd with Mr Bachchan?
It wasn't a sudden decision. I had been talking to Mr Bachchan about several projects. In fact I had sounded him out about Nishabd a year back when the idea came to me. Now when we're both ready to work together again we were wondering which script to start. Unfortunately all my plans with Mr Bachchan went haywrire because of his illness. Now I have his dates for Sholay . But that's been delayed for various reasons. We used those dates for Nishabd.
Why has Sholay been delayed?
Because it's a straight-on action film. I wouldn't want Mr Bachchan to do anything strenuous right now.
I would never expect a film titled Nishabd from you.
See, it isn't a question of suddenly trying to prove I can do an intense love story. It was an idea I was sleeping with for a long time. When people seem to think I'm doing an adaptation of Lolita which is about a middleaged man's obsession with a 14-year old girl. What fascinates me is, how would it seem to place a a man of Mr Bachchan's character, demeanour, grace and image in such a position? The relationship with a young girl will look even more effective. I feel emotions have nothing to do with age. What stops a man in that position of supreme success and respect from indulging in his feelings? Is it a sense of responsibility towards society and family? I wanted to look beyond those responsibilities. I want to film a love story between a man of Mr Bachchan's age and a very young girl, in an intense stylized way in a completely new narrative language. I want to create a language of love-expression that's never been tried before.
You've shied away from sex, even love in most of your films...
Ummmmm...Yeah it's possible. But that could also have something to do with the genre of films I generally do. Nishabd allowed me to go into areas I haven't visited before. But I wouldn't like to give it a pompous terminology like 'soul-searching'. I'm not equipped for that sort of an exercise. I just like to capture feelings. For all my cynical talk I feel I portray feelings and emotions in a way that's entirely mine. In Nishabd I'm basically interested in capturing a conflict within a man between his feelings and his responsibilities. The girl is only a device to trigger off that conflict.
You've chosen a new girl?
Her name is Jiya Khan. And please don't ask a stupid question like, where did I find her. I didn't go on a girl hunt or something. I keep collecting pictures of actors and actresses who come to meet me. And then a particular face comes back to me when I'm scripting a character. Jiya is right for this part. To my knowledge she has no experience in modeling or acting. I had met her a couple of years back. In fact I was planning to cast her in a later production. Then Nishabd came along.
Is there a strong undercurrent of sexuality in Nishabd?
No love story can be complete without an undercurrent of sexuality. Because of the nature of the subject and its requirements I'm excited about capturing Mr Bachchan's expressions as never seen before. Amit Roy who shot Sarkar is the cinematographer. There are no songs this time. We completed Nishabd in one schedule.
You've just finished directing Shiva and then Nishabd.
That's not really unusual. I never sit idle. The minute I finish a project I immediately start something else. The moment Sarkar finished I started Shiva. And now after Nishabd I'll immediately start the film with Shah Rukh in August .
You and Mr Bachchan are doing a series of films together.
I think we're addicted to each other. And we're both in the mood to create poetry in Nishabd.
Are getting mellower?
Nooo. This is my once-in-while moment of seriousness. I'll quickly go back to making Bhoot andKaun before people start taking me seriously and start giving me awards.