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Mahesh Bhatt: The job of a mentor more fulfilling

As someone who has directed films like 'Arth' 'Saaransh' and 'Zakhm', Mahesh Bhatt says he was equally comfortable in mentoring the young team behind his upcoming supernatural erotic thriller 'Khamoshiyan'.

'Khamoshiyan' poster
'Khamoshiyan' poster. Pic/Santa Banta

Bhatt has turned presenter for the Karan Derra-directed film that stars Ali Fazal and will mark the Bollywood debut of TV actors Gurmeet Choudhary and Sapna Pabbi. The film, produced by Bhatt's Vishesh Films and presented by Fox Star Studios, will hit theatres on January 30.

"I just love working with the younger lot. Karan is just 22. He reminded me of my journey when I began in 1973. They say as you get older, you have faith in younger people. I have tremendous faith in him and Ali, Gurmeet and Sapna. They have made an unusual film," Bhatt told PTI during a visit here.

"The idea seems familiar- it is in the supernatural erotic space but so is 'Twilight' and so are many films in the west. I think this film's heart is in the right place and that is why I am with it. Last time I stepped up was with 'City Lights', which was also promoted very aggressively by me," he added.

Bhatt, 65, said he does not see a contradiction in promoting erotic thrillers as he has made all kind of films though he is famous for his more serious outings.

"I don't see any contradiction in promoting 'CityLights', which was a serious subject on rural migration and a triangular, erotic thriller like 'Khamoshiyan'. I have made all kind of films and there is once again a willingness in the audience to accept different cinema," Bhatt said.

The filmmaker, who quit direction at the age of 50, said he now enjoys mentoring young people.

"Making a film is very gratifying and intoxicating. It does great things to your self-esteem but pushing people and mentoring them to their full potential is far more fulfilling. Young people have a gaze. Every five years there is a shift in cinema space but we are slow to catch that. Young people understand that shift," he added.

When asked why Karan was zeroed down upon, Bhatt said that he realised his potential while writing Vidya Balan-Emraan Hashmi-starrer 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani' with him.

However, Bhatt had to convince Karan hard to helm the film as the newcomer felt it was too soon for him to turn full-time director.

"I wanted a younger person. So, I asked him to work with me while writing 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'. That is when I discovered that he has a lot of potential. In the beginning he was a little unsure. He felt it was premature. I convinced him saying that there is no right time. It is okay if you mess up. Failure is the way to success. I am glad that he had the courage to start," he said. Bhatt said Ali, who has a boy-next-door image thanks to his films like 'Fukrey' and 'Bobby Jasoos', was not his first choice but Derra insisted on him.

"In fact, many people in my team were sceptical about Ali. But Karan said he is not comfortable working with someone else. He really pushed for Ali's name. Ali has done a tremendous job in the film though I had to give him a dressing down as he was initially hesitant to step into that zone," Bhatt said.

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