The power of four
Meet the person who got Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee together to make short films on 100 years of Indian cinema encompassed in a movie called Bombay Talkies
In the Hindi film industry
getting two big actors or actresses on board for a film is a huge task for the producer-director. Imagine getting not two but four directors on board for a movie. But as it is said the word impossible itself says I M Possible. Twenty-four-year-old Aashi Dua, who had no filmy background, got four of the biggest directors Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee to make a short movie on 100 years of Indian cinema which will be released as a film by the name of Bombay Talkies.
I was working on a television show called Director’s Cut three years ago where I interacted with different directors. It was then I came across the fact that in some years Indian Cinema will complete 100 years. So at the TV station, I was thinking what should I do to celebrate this very special occasion? That was when I got an idea to get four different directors together and ask them to do something on cinema. Be it films that inspire them or celebrities that inspire them etc. And that is how the ball set rolling.
The uphill task
Anurag Kashyap happens to be everyone’s first choice, when they are beginning their journey in films and I was no different. I too went up to him first. After chasing him for a long time, I narrated the concept of the film to him. He happily agreed to direct a story. After that I even attended a few script-writing workshops that he conducted. From there, I was put on to Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee. Meanwhile, I was also in talks with other directors but things weren’t falling in place.
Adding the K factor
For my fourth director everyone asked me to go and meet Karan Johar, as he’s so passionate about cinema. I wasn’t sure if he would like to work on my film. But I gave in to everyone’s demand and started contacting him. When I finally spoke to him he was in Thailand shooting for Student Of The Year (SOTY). After hearing the script he immediately agreed but requested that he can shoot the short film only after SOTY releases. I waited, after all. how could I have said no to Karan Johar!
Behind the scenes
All the actors in the film came on board as the story demanded. Like Anurag’s film is about a man’s journey to meet Amitabh Bachchan. So Mr Bachchan had to be a part of the film. He was so charged up that we actually shot at Prateeksha (his bungalow) for the film. Zoya’s film is with Katrina Kaif. Katrina did the film purely because of her love for Zoya. The story was about a girl who idolises Katrina for the way she acts and how well she has done in her life. Dibakar’s story is inspired by Satyajit Ray’s short story for which official rights were procured. Karan Johar’s script gives a completely different angle of Indian cinema. It brought in the fantasy world that he is known for.
Bombay Talkies releases on May 3, exactly a hundred years after Raja Harishchandra, the first Indian feature film directed by Dadasaheb Phalke was released.