Vidhu Vinod Chopra: Real actors like Vikrant Massey should be Bollywood stars, not those gymnasts who hit the gym – Exclusive | – Times of India

Vidhu Vinod Chopra does not believe in diplomacy nor in the exercise of toeing the line. He speaks his mind freely almost as fluidly as the drama runs through his films. Having given movie buffs memorable films like Parinda, 1942: A Love Story and the Oscar nominated documentary An Encounter With Faces, Choprareturns to the director’s chair after many years with 12th Fail.Its a story of India’s heartland, the dreams of becoming relevant and surviving the system and more. Chopra has dedicated almost 5 years to the making of this film, all while ignoring the fact that he could have minted crores making a sequel to the Munnabhai or 3 Idiots franchise. But he would rather be immersed in telling a story that has the power to change lives. In this interview Vidhu Vinod Chopra speaks from the heart and tells us how actors likeVikrant Massey, his leading man in 12th Fail, as the true treasure of cinema. Read on…

What made you choose a subject like 12th Fail for your latest feature film?

The subject is very close to my life. I come from a little village in Srinagar and many years ago, I told my father that I wanted to make movies. He thought I was crazy so he slapped me. But I wanted to do it and look where we are today. The joke is that when I was nominated for an Oscar in 1979, I told my father happily, “Dad, Oscar nomination!” And he was very happy and asked me, “How much money?” I said, “There’s no money.” Then he slapped me and asked why I was so happy.

How did you craft the journey of 12th Fail’s protagonist Manoj, played by Vikrant Massey?

First of all, there’s a real Manoj Sharma that exists and there’s a real book that exists so it’s based on a real story but then it is inspired by millions of true stories – yours, mine, and all of us who migrate like bhed-bakris – hum jazbaa lekar aate hain. Main Bambai mein bhed bakri ki tarah aaya tha, train mein dhakke khate hue, lekin main jazbaa lekar aaya tha. That jazbaa is the force behind a lot of goodness in the world.

What makes you the filmmaker that you are today?

I started this film when I was 66 years old. I am 71 now. Just imagine. Which producer or filmmaker in his right mind would say, I want to spend 4.5 years of my life making 12th Fail with Vikrant Massey? Who would not want to make a Munnabhai 3 or a 3 Idiots sequel?
This is a very important film in today’s times. Never in my life have I told people to go watch my film. It’s not because of money. I have not sold it to any OTT platform yet. It’s just me and my film. It’s my money so I am not answerable to anyone. I am telling you that I am living my life in cinema. Cinema and my life are the same, there’s no contradiction.

Have you ever had to pay the price for not wearing a mask or not having the filter, just being the way you are?

Many times… I can’t even tell you how many. I cannot pretend to be someone I am not. My journey has been very satisfying. For the first time in my life I went on a TV reality show, I like that show, India’s Got Talent, and people said, “Oh, it’s been 45 years of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s cinema but you look like you are 45, you don’t look 71. What is the secret?” And I say, “The secret is simple, I have done what I believed was the right thing to do.”
I rehearsed with all these new actors of 12th Fail for one year. Vikrant Massey has no makeup in the film. At a screening, somebody told me, “Kamaal ka makeup hai. Kisne kiya hai?” I revealed that there was no makeup. Vikrant actually went to that village in Chambal. I told him to take the sun on the terrace and he did that and his skin got burnt. There was no makeup.
Coming back to your question, I will never compromise. What will people say about me? My life speaks for me. My cinema speaks for me. I have refused to give interviews to anyone who has not seen 12th Fail. You have to see it first, experience it, and then we will talk about it.

What made you cast Vikrant Massey for this role?

Nobody knew Vidya Balan. She was a girl from Chembur and she became a star after Parineeta. Similarly, Boman Irani became a household star after Munna Bhai MBBS. Vikrant will become a star after this film. Because he is the finest actor we have in this country and people like him should be stars. Stars should not be the people who are going to the gym rather than an acting workshop. In my opinion, with due respect to everyone, it’s the actors who deserve to be stars, not the gymnasts.

Do you think the times have changed when it comes to Bollywood’s stars and their stardom?

In Parineeta, I could have taken a star like Aishwarya Rai but I chose Vidya Balan because she fit the role. In Ferrari Ki Sawari too I could have had a star but I chose Sharman Joshi. When I cast Sanjay Dutt in Munnabhai MBBS, he was not a star. My joy is to find the right actor for the right role and not pander to a star. Most stars don’t like me and I don’t like most stars. So, it works for both of us. I can’t see a star coming to the shoot with all the ‘taamjhaam’. Mere se hota hi nahin hai.

Can you detail the effort that went into writing 12th Fail?

It took me three years to write it. The book is very different from the film. It’s a nice book but it meanders. It’s very uncinematic. So, I sat with the writer of the book Anurag Pathak and he’s credited as the Associate Writer on this film. I sat with him to understand his state of mind and it took me two years to know the real Manoj and his real journey. So, I took all of it with me and went to Wazir Baug which is 3 hours away from here. I have a lovely house over there. So, there, I sat and wrote for three years. I realized that, when I was writing this film, like 3 Idiots, this film and its story had the ability to change lives.
I usually don’t get emotional. But when I was editing 12th Fail, I started crying during the edit. I never cry. So I asked people, “Am I getting old? What’s happening with me?” Abhijat Joshi told me, “Sir, this is you. You’re seeing your life.” When I came to Mumbai, all my luggage was stolen like it happens in the film. People like me, we have reached here on our bare feet and we are more deserving than those who were given all the privileges by their fathers. There are many like us and it’s important that they realize this thing.

A scene in your film also emphasizes on the importance of using Hindi as a language of communication. It touches on the idea that those who don’t speak English are no less than those who speak Hindi. Did you craft this scene to make a pertinent statement?

No, it was a real statement made by the real Manoj in a real interview. He actually said that line. Manoj’s story is the story of every Indian living in a small town. Just like our Hon Prime Minister. I’d like the Prime Minister to see our film, too. According to him, he was selling tea on a railway platform and now he is the Prime Minister of our country, this is his story as well. He must see this film.

What’s your final word on 12th Fail?

The film is releasing on October 27 in cinemas. For 45 years, I have made, as people call them, nicer films, 12th Fail, I can say with certainty, is my best work. It is my best performed film when compared to anything I have ever done in my life.
You know, Naseeruddin Shah always tell me that I don’t know anything about film direction, but when he saw this film he said, “Ab tune direction seekh liya.” At 71, I’ve finally learnt film direction (chuckles).

Jackie Shroff, Kamal Haasan, Naseeruddin Shah attend Khamosh movie screening

Also See: Best Hindi Movies of 2023 | Top 20 Hindi Movies of 2023 | Latest Hindi Movies

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *