Filmmaker Rajat Kapoor on what makes Hindi cinema a skewed industry, revelling in the success of his latest film 'Aankhon Dekhi' and more...
Rajat Kapoor sounds relaxed but his phone doesn't seem so; it has been ringing non-stop since his latest film, 'Aankhon Dekhi', hit the marquee. Made with a modest budget of Rs 4 crore, the film has drawn encouraging reviews.
Interestingly, the actor-director claims to enjoy directing more than acting. Currently working on two separate scripts, the 53-year-old spoke to hitlist about the kind of cinema that excites him.
Rajat Kapoor. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
You were born and brought up in Delhi. Yet it took you so long to direct a film based in the capital?
That's why I love 'Ankhon Dekhi'! (Laughs) Yes, it took me years to go back to the place I grew up in. This film is special for me as is it took me back to my childhood. The entire shoot was an emotional journey for me.
Is it true that you were once considering Naseeruddin Shah for the role that eventually went to Sanjay Mishra?
Yes. There was a point when I wanted Naseersaab on board, but I soon realised that Sanjay would be a better fit for the part. Besides, when I wrote the script, I was clear that only Sanjay can do justice to it. I respect both of them because they are exceptionally talented actors.
Were you expecting such a positive response to the film?
(Pause) Not really. As a director, making a film I want to is what matters most to me. Fortunately, I have done it with 'Aankhon Dekhi'. What happens before the release is in my hands but after the release, it is out of my control. So I don’t really worry about the film’s reception. Having said that, I’m certainly overwhelmed by the feedback I’ve received so far.
With critical acclaim not always translating to box- office success, where exactly does the commercial angle seep in?
I can only hope our film garners as many eyeballs as possible. The problem lies in the whole set up of our industry. Bollywood is star-driven; nothing sells until and unless it has a known face attached to the project. Even if a movie is brilliant, it may not work at all. There are no guaranteed returns. For instance, I can’t compare Ragini MMS 2 to 'Aankhon Dekhi'. The former receives more than 12 shows a day, while the latter is allotted one or two. Then again, I’m an eternal optimist (smiles).
Speaking about returns, you managed to find a producer for your film on Twitter...
It just happened. I came across a NRI businessman named Manish Mundra on Twitter. Not only did he show interest in the script, but he also believed in the whole project. Soon, it was clear that this film would happen no matter what. He didn’t stop at investing money either; he took a keen interest in its overall development. We hope to continue working together in the future as well.