Tigmanshu Dhulia may have impressed the audiences with his directing and acting chops, but the filmmaker says balancing both the jobs in the same film is akin to walking a tightrope. The director, who played the father to the main lead (Ali Fazal) in his latest directorial Milan Talkies, said he decided to take up the part as other actors were unavailable.
This was Dhulia's first full-fledged role in his directorial venture. He previously made a guest appearance in his 2011 film Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster.
"I never wanted to do this role. In the future I will never do acting and direction hand-in-hand as it's very tough. I wanted someone else to do this role. But the issue was of the dates and everyone was busy. When I was left with no choice, I decided to act in the film," the director told PTI in an interview.
Dhulia has acted in a number of films, most notably Anurag Kashyap's Gangs of Wasseypur series and Shahrukh Khan's Zero. He believes Milan Talkies nicely deals with a father-son relationship.
"People will be inspired by my character and will wish to have such a father. Moreover, I have seen today's advertisements where the father is shown as a foolish guy who knows nothing about today's generation and the children are shown as smart. In this film, the father is a bigger loafer than his own son. His son is a cinema buff but the father is a bigger cinema buff. So they share a very strong bond."
The filmmaker said it was his daughter who urged him to make a "pure love story" as she was unable to watch his previous films due to their A ratings. "I decided to make a story on pure love as my daughter always had a problem when my movies would receive an adult certificate, even though they never contained abusive language but there was violence in them. So I said ok. The project took so much time to get made that my daughter is 20-years-old now," he said.
Dhulia's Milan Talkies went through development hell as the project was announced back in 2012. Before Fazal bagged the lead role, several names were attached to the film, from Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra to Imran Khan.
Despite the delays, the director said he stuck to base the film in the year 2010 as he believes it highlights the importance of communication. "I decided to keep the plot of the story in 2010 to 2013. Basically, the story revolves around the theme of communication gap. In today's time, we have several platforms like Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and others, where we can communicate but still we fail at it.''
"People are using the social networking sites to get into relationships. They don't even know how to establish communication with someone. So my film basically deals with how communication is important in one's life."
The film, produced by PS Chhatwal and Filmy Keeda Productions, also features Shraddha Srinath, who has made her Bollywood debut with the project. Also starring Ashutosh Rana, Sanjay Mishra, Reecha Sinha and Sikander Kherr, Milan Talkies released on March 15.