It is a good time for Indian cinema with films like Vicky Donor and Kahaani striking a chord but such successes are still few and not enough to transform the economics of filmmaking, says writer-director Tigmanshu Dhulia. And change is still some way away.
"It's a good time, but how many Vicky Donors and how many Kahaanis are there? The ratio is still very low. It's not going to change," Dhulia said.
According to Dhulia, one can experiment with cinema, "but it's not like writing poetry because a certain amount of money is involved; people's reputations are at stake".
"So, it's a very complicated form of art where you want to express yourself but keeping in mind the logistics of economy," said the maker of the acclaimed Paan Singh Tomar.
"I have never been an indulgent filmmaker; my films have been audience- friendly. But when they watch my film, they understand that film; it doesn't go over their head."
While experimenting, Dhulia suggests, use technology and avoid inflated budgets.
"Technology has grown so much now that you can make a film in Rs 10 lakh; so experiment with that," added the 45-year-old. His Paan Singh Tomar was made on a shoestring budget of Rs 4.5 crore and earned Rs 20 crore.
His initial works Haasil, Charas and Shagird failed to make it big, but Dhulia got his due with Paan Singh Tomar and Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster. His acting stint in Gangs of Wasseypur won him many fans too.
"I would say every dog has its day, so now it's my time," he said with a smile.
"I will continue doing stories that I want to do. In seven years, none of my films was released, though I was working. At that time I was writing scripts and now those scripts are close to my heart and I want to direct those films."
Thanks to his recent successes, he is working with a star for the first time in Bullet Raja, which has Saif Ali Khan in the lead.
"Now, if stars want to work with me fine, or else I will continue making films the way I was making before," he said.
"Filmmaking is all about cheating. To make a big film look big, you don't really have to spend money, you just have to put wider lenses," he added.
Dhulia, who worked as a casting director for Bandit Queen, would like to work with stars provided they are ready to enter his zone.
"It is great that today the industry has a few stars who can command respect at the box office. Yes, of course, I want to work with stars. If they are ready to come into my space, then why not? But if they want me to go into their space, I will not work with them," he said.
He is impressed with Saif and said: "Saif is one of the finest actors we have. He is very chilled out and I would say every director should work with him."
Currently busy promoting his directorial venture Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns, Dhulia has picked up unusual titles for his next films - Bullet Raja and Revolver Rani, which stars Kangna Ranaut.
Why such titles? "I like guns. I like action. I like to make macho films. I couldn't do that before because that was the time for love stories, now it's my turn. Yes, there will be action but in proportion."