TWF correspondent Sreya Basu speaks to the filmmaker in Mumbai.
This is the first time you tried your hand at making a short film for Bombay Talkies. How was the experience?
When I was approached by Ashi (Dua, producer), I was all set to say I didn't want to do this. Then after getting a big nudge from Zoya (Akhtar, filmmaker), I said: "Why not?" because brevity is not my strength... I have never made a short film in my life.
I was a little overawed by these filmmakers as all of them have done some exceptional and path-breaking stuff before. I just felt a little scared whether I would fit in.
But I am so glad after I did it. I did finally succumb to shorts.
Did you actually enjoy making a short film?
Yes, absolutely. It has been the most alive part that I have ever done.
In those nine days I shot Bombay Talkies, I felt most alive as a filmmaker, something that I haven't felt in every big scale film that I have done so far.
How was it working with Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee?
It was just wonderful to be a part of this completely illustrious gathering. It is not often that four filmmaker come together on one stage to do something creative.
I just hope this kind of collaboration happens much more than often. The ethos of all four filmmakers coming together is to celebrate cinema.
Is this a grey film?
Bombay Talkies is not a Nerolac film... it's not a shade card that you can classify it as dark, light, medium grey.
These are stories of four filmmakers. We are depicting thoughts and emotions, telling stories of the journeys of certain characters.
What are your expectations from the film?
We haven't made the film keeping in mind terms like 'blockbuster' and 'average'. The film is the passion of four filmmakers that you will see on the big screen.
We have made the film with our utmost sincerity and it's for you to decide how it is.
It has a specific kind of viewing. Yet we would want as many people to see this film. As it is, I hate terms like 'blockbuster', 'Top 10', etc.
But don't you agree box office collections are important?
Box office collections are very important, even I know and admit that. But if you see this film the way we have seen it, you will know it is not for box office figures.
For the opening weekend of this film, we will not want to know how many crores it has earned, but would want to know how many people have seen it and how many of them have recommended then film to their friends.
Do you think Bombay Talkies will set change filmmaking trends in Bollywood?
We are not here to change trends, but to tell stories and celebrate 100 years of Hindi cinema.
As for me, I did this film to make a difference and to feel different.
Shah Rukh Khan has always been a part of most of your films. Why is he missing in Bombay Talkies?
Shah Rukh Khan is a part of my system, he is a part of my filmmaking and will remain to be so.
When you will see Bombay Talkies you will understand it's very true to its characters and its world. So unfortunately I could not cast him.
I love Shah Rukh Khan and working with him is an honour and pleasure for me always. But there has to be a place, base and story for every actor to work in.