Priyadarshan broke down and wept when his academician-father K.V. Nair, a severe critic of his son's work now ailing in hospital, saw his son's work in Kanjeevaram. "My father never liked any of my films. Never. Not one. When he saw Kanjeevaram he told me for the first time he was proud of me. It was the most liberating moment of my life. I felt I had achieved all I had set out to as a filmmaker."
And now Priyan intends to make one film every year that will come straight from the heart. Akshay Kumar won't charge the prolific Priyadarshan a single rupee for the film on AIDS that they will be collaborating over in August.
This is the first time that Akshay has agreed to work gratis. Could it have something to do with recession and the way the superstar's latest film has fared at the box office?
"None of the above!" quips the prolific Priyan. "Recession has certainly hit Bollywood. My sequel to Malaamal Weekly has been shelved because it's no longer commercially viable. But a film with Akshay Kumar or Shahrukh Khan is certainly not endangered by recession. Akshay has no cause for worry. His fee, like mine, has to vary according to the nature of the project."
Priyan whose directorial charges are self-admittedly Rs.11 crores, has opted for a voluntary cut in future projects . "The price factor will depend on the project. A film directed by me starring Darsheel Safary like Bam Bam Bhole can't be sold at the same price as a film with me and Akshay. At the same time when when Akshay and I are doing, a stark film on AIDS, we both leave our negotiating abilities behind. But when we work on a big project De Dana Dan, none of us is buying the recession theory. I think a lot of producers are using recession as an excuse for underpayment."
The AIDS film which Priyan will direct in August is that one mandatory from-the-heart film that director has decided to make every year. "I've to do those films that I believe in alongside the ones that the audience wants from me. The AIDS film will be a songless 1 hour 50 minute presentation. It's for a cause and therefore worthy of a cut. Even Paresh Rawal is not charging any money for this film."
Akshay Kumar will be working for free the first time. And thanks to Priyadarshan's father who has provoked Priyan into getting gritty.