Is Mr Singh Mrs Mehta your debut film as a director?
Though Mr Singh Mrs Mehta is my debut film as a director, I had earlier worked as an assistant to several sensitive film makers like Gulzar in his serial Kirayedar, Aruna Raje Patil on her film Bhairvi, Govind Nihalani in his film Hazaar Chaursai Ki Maa, Shyam Benegal in Sooraj Ka Saathva Ghoda, Manmohan Singh in his film Pehla Pehla Pyar etc.
What style did you imbibe from each one of them, as a director?
Though I have worked with all these filmmakers and learnt a lot about the craft of film making, I did not imbibe the style of any one because I was adamant that I should learn my own style of film making, because eventually one has to be on his own if one has to survive in the film industry and carve a special niche for himself or herself.
What according to you is your style as a filmmaker?
Feature film making is all about telling your story in your way. I have to invent my own style. It is only after I make three to four films that I would be able to decipher what exactly is my style .I have not made my film inspired by any real life story or incident. I always had a great fancy for agony aunt column. It struck me that I should weave a story on what happens if she has a boy friend and he sets out to cheat on her. Though I did not make a film on the agony aunt, eventually it became the triggering point for my film
Have you set out to drive home any subtle message through your film?
I did not set out to drive home any subtle message through my film, for the simple reason that I do not think that it is the job of any filmmaker to give any message through his film. I feel that as a filmmaker, it is my job to tell a story. If it appeals to the audiences, I am happy, because I am able to connect with their emotional chords. I have tried a story telling where I do not want the audiences to pre- judge the characters. I wrote the script. The problem was we were not sure whether we should make it. This script was funded. Whatever people may say about the film, very few people set out to make an adult film. I needed actors without an image, because if the adulteress gets morally judged by the audiences it becomes a big problem for the film maker
How would you evaluate your film objectively?
I do not know. I would call myself an artistic filmmaker. I have made a very linear film because I have kept very less characters. I am not in a position to evaluate my film objectively, till I am able to unshackle my head and see it. Mr Singh Mrs Mehta is a story of adultery per se. A couple of my earlier scripts did not at all work. In our country very few set out to make an adult film. I am glad that I had the backing of a gutsy producer like Manu Kumaran to back me with my project I do not want you to have any emotional connect because I want the audience to look at them as a third person.
How rigid or flexible are you as a filmmaker?
Our films are not what we want to make. Our films are what we end up making. There are many things in a room when two people are talking. What you see on the screen is in a fixed manner. Suddenly there is strong sunlight and you need to listen to your cameraman and shoot a scene in a different way. At every stage there are two hundred happy accidents and two hundred unhappy accidents. The idea you started with has evolved but the way I see the camera may not. I think it would be a lie if I say that everything happens the way I visualized it.
I have made a film called Niyati. It will be out by December with Pawan Shankar, Vineet Kumar and Swara Bhaskar and has been set in Bihar. It is a social documentary film.