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Kaizad Gustad is a dreamer. Unlike other dreamers, his dreams are in technicolour cinemascope. His creations in celluloid are products of his colourful dreams. He proved his dreams are acceptable to the audiences too with Bombay Boys. Kaizad is ready with Boom, a story pumped with sexy babes and hot scenes. Here he takes time off to speak about his latest film which promises to thrill.
What motivates you to write the kind of scripts you do?The stories are personal to me; at the end of the day it's difficult to write about stuff you don't know or stuff that doesn't interest you. And, I don't write for a perceived market. I don't write a formula anyway. So I like to write stuff that's relevant or interesting or amusing to me. If it works for others that's great, but I don't try and work backwards.
If it doesn't work for others, does it mean that you are not looking at the commercial aspect?
I don't think any writer starts off to write a commercial aspect story. I mean, what would be the point? One can't define what would be commercial anymore. And, I hate definitions because they end up becoming labels anyway. I don't think you can go to a writer and say, I saw the sunset and it looked like this. Will you write it for me; or go to any self-respecting painter and say, this is what I saw, will you paint it for me? I think at least speaking on my own behalf, writers tend to write what they like to write. And, obviously the intention is to be read or seen. So it has to be more accessible. Perhaps, not so much commercial or art, but accessible to whoever views it.
How much of a commercial aspect did Bombay Boys have when you review it now?
I don't really know. All I know is that we were quite surprised by the market it had or the kind of numbers of people who came to see it. We never thought the market was as big or strong as it was, or as it turned out to be. I think we all undermined it. I try not to live my life with hindsight anyway.
But, wouldn't you learn from the reception Bombay Boys got?
Sure. One learns from everything. I learn from crossing the road. But I don't think there is a formula that says this will work or not work. You can have the biggest stars, the biggest budget and if it's not going to work, it wonít. I think , at the end of the day, there are two definitions that kind of tend to work -- that's a good film and a bad film. Its true to a large extent, because a good small art house film can see a commercial success.
When Bombay Boys succeeded, what kind of impetus did it give you? If it caught attention, what would it have done to your work?
I make films because I enjoy making them. I would pay for the privilege of being a director. So I don't think it would have made any difference to my outlook as a writer or director at all. Fortunately, it succeeded. There were a lot of offers to do whatever I wanted to. But unfortunately, I take a long time in writing. It took me three years to bring Bombay Boys to a stage where I liked it, on paper. It took me as long to come up with Boom.
But does it remain that the success of your first film allowed you to make this one?
I think every film stands on it's own legs. I try not to live my life like that because it makes no difference to me how much I'm in this industry, it doesn't affect me and so I can afford to do what I want. I think it's far more interesting as an artiste to be able to do what you want to do, as opposed to what everyone is doing.
Have you identified what that is?
I want to keep making films I want to make, and that's not driven by any thing. I might make a Bollywood film tomorrow. It would be just what interests me at the time.
What drives you?
Life. It's such a miracle to wake up everyday and do something new. No two days are the same in my life and I try to keep it that way. And there are so many things to look, to do.
Tell us about yourself?
I studied in Cathedral, and then studied film in New York University. I started making lots of short films. When I was a film student, I made short films. One of them won some international awards. This gave me the opportunity to make Bombay Boys.
Were you a film buff earlier?
Yes, a huge film watcher. My father and grandfather owned some theatres. So I got to see films even as a small kid, in Wadi, a small village. I always wanted to be a filmmaker. I grew up watching films.
Do you see yourself as a writer or director first? Or do you write to make films only?
I write even otherwise. I write anything that interests me, anything that keeps me on my toes basically.
You have a book too to your credit?
Yes, a travelogue. It's a collection of stories when I was travelling, when I was 18. It's called 'Of No Fixed Address'. It was published by Harper Collins. It did very well. When I look back at it, I laugh because I was just a 18 year old then. I had nothing else to do. I wanted to see the world. I had nothing except a backpack and I kept a diary and called it 'Of No Fixed Address', because I had no address for about three years. It got published 10 years after I wrote it, I was nearly 28 then.
I grew up on a farm in Wadi, a small village in Karnataka. There was nothing to do there. So I had to make my own amusement. We had no toys, no props of any kind. We only had our own imagination. It was blissful. It was a huge house of fifteen children. Three generations were living together. There was absolutely nothing to do there except see movies. I grew up in the 70s watching the 70s Bollywood movies. The 70s films were good. At least they had style. I remember films like Dharamveer, Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Perhaps that's why I cast Zeenat Aman in Boom. I bumped into her at the Regent the other day and went right up to her and said would she work in my movie. She said sure and within 48 hours she was on a plane for the shooting. It happened because I have very fond memories of her as a child. I have an older brother and a younger sister. They think my films are all rubbish. I liked Dil Chahta Hai, Lagaan and Company recently.
So what are you doing - actuating your dreams?
Every film maker does that. I don't know what to say, but my dreams are in technicolour cinemascope. So it's easier for me to actuate them.
What do you think of Seema Biswas as an actress?
Absolutely world class. I mean the amount of love and respect I have for her is amazing. I still canít believe she was in my movie. It was such an honour to work with her.
How was it directing Amitabh Bachchan?
Great. But no different from directing any other actor. He's an amazing actor. His timing is just perfect, absolutely perfect. He's one actor in my film, so I can't look at him as any different.
What happens if you don't have the backing of a producer? Or has that become easier now?
It's not a question of easier or tougher. If you believe in what you are doing, you find a way. You've got to have passion and faith in yourself the rest works out.
Is Boom an expensive film?
No, not really. We have got a big cast. We had to go to Dubai and we were shooting in Sri Lanka and in Prague. We shot Naseeruddin Shah in Prague. We had just one dayís shoot with him. I wanted him in the movie and didn't want to take no for an answer. So I called him there and said that I'm not taking no for an answer. So we went to where he's shooting with Sean Connery for a big Hollywood film.
Would you direct a story written by someone else?
I've tried to do that, but find it tough. To me the most important person in the film is the writer, nobody else because the very seed of the idea has come from him and if that seed is rotten then no matter what you do, the plant will always be rotten. I've a lot of respect for writers. I'm a writer myself. I find it damn difficult to put down just something on a blank piece of paper. Once that is there, everything else falls into place. I'd love to be able to direct somebody else's work, but I don't know. There are a couple of foreign films I'm attached to as the director. One is called The Film written by John Winter - it's a big Hollywood/Bollywood type of project, with international stars. I'm slated to direct this. Then there's a film called Chocolate Vanilla, which I'm directing right after this, but I've written for it.