Q.: You have always made movies keeping the common people in mind. How is "Halla Bol" different from your earlier films?
A.: 'Halla Bol' is different in many ways. The story of this film is absolutely new and no one has ever tried to make a movie on this subject. It's the story of responsibility of one human being towards the other. These days, people are only interested in their own matters and think they have nothing to do with others’ problems. Once upon a time, I read a few lines that told me "if someone is torturing your neighbor and you are silent, it will be your turn to suffer next". 'Halla Bol' is made on that subject. It says that if anything wrong happens in front of your eyes and you don't ever think that you have anything to do with that, it’s wrong. If you don't support others then no one will come forward in your support also.
Q.: What's the reason behind one super star always standing up against the wrongs in your film?
A.: That's the base of our story. It only says that the superstar also has some responsibilities towards the people who have made him a superstar. Moreover, his position and status in the society make people take notice of what he does and says. That's why he stands against every odd. Unfortunately, the actual scenario in our practical life is a complete contrast. The bigger the icon is, the more silent he is. He is always afraid that his words may destroy his image. In the film Pankaj Kapoor’s character delivers an important dialogue which says "when animals are hurt they cry, but it is the human beings who understand others’ pain". You can take as the bottom line of the story.
Q.: Is your film based on Safdar Azmi's play 'Allah Bol' ?
A.: Though I know Safdar Azmi, I have not read any of his plays. Maybe there are some similarities with his play, but my film has nothing to do with that.
Q.: While others are trying to give Vidya Balan a glamorous look, you kept her very simple….
A.: It's the demand of the story. She is from a small town and she marries a super star. Though she becomes a star in that way, but her life’s values remain the same. She is an inspiration for Ajay. Ajay keeps changing all through the movie, but she remains the same and that's why we kept her simple.
Q.: Ajay is working in most of your films. How do you look at that?
A.: He is a good friend of mine. At the same time, he is a versatile actor, too. His personality has a lot of variety and so whatever role I offer him, he not only plays it perfectly, but justifies it too.
A.: (Smiling) Never. I always used to run away from the scene. I can still remember that day during the shooting of ‘Lajja'. No sooner I came to know that he has planned to play a prank on me, I got away from the set and stayed out for two hours. But these approaches keep the exhaustion of shooting away and make things quite dynamic.
Q.: You are going to promote the film with ‘Nukkad’ drama. Is there any special reason for this?
A.: Pankaj Kapoor has played the role of a social worker in ‘Halla Bol” and brings the odds of the society to the front with the help of ‘Nukkad’ drama. I think that's the oldest and the most tested formula to spread your thoughts. There, one just has to stand at any corner of the street and give a speech on any current topic. That's the reason that I have chosen this media to get connected to the people. Our actors will go to any city in our country and encourage people to face their problems through ‘Nukkad’ drama. This way people will acknowledge their problems and our film will also be promoted.
Q.: Films have always been the mirror of the society. How do you think ‘Halla Bol’ will affect the society?
A.: I don't claim that my film will change the society, but I can say that it'll surely oblige people to think about the society. Most of the times we think before taking any decision, but this film will help people think in a positive way. I'm neither a social worker nor a politician. I'm just a filmmaker and my duty is to show people issues in an entertaining manner. There could be a debate on this subject. While some people would agree on that, some will disagree too.
Q.: Do you think that ‘Halla Bol’, as compared to today's movies, is a perfect movie for the present generation?
A.: I'm happy that people are accepting different kinds of movies. ‘Halla Bol’ also has that different shade in its content and I believe people will like that.
Q.: Pyramid Saimira is new in the business of film distribution. Don't you get tensed thinking that they may fail in their job?
A.: Not at all. It's quite good in business. And the company is well known for South Indian filmmakers. I'm very happy with the way they are promoting the film. I believe that it'll be a known name in Bollywood very soon.
Q.: These days comedies are very popular. What's the reason that you didn't try making a comedy movie after ‘Andaz Apna Apna’?
A.: I have a few comic stories to be made into films, but I'm waiting for better casting. Once I get proper casting I'll start making them. But you have to understand that now people are making just anything in the name of comedy.
Q.: What's the reason that you didn't make any female oriented film after 'Lajja'?
A.: Actually I don't have any such story right now. I'm trying to make such films again. Even in ‘Halla Bol’ Vidya's character is too well depicted. Women will appreciate her character, which is emotional yet very powerful.
Q.: Please tell us about your forthcoming films.
A.: I'm now busy making two films namely ‘Ashoka the Great’ and ‘Ramayan’. Besides, I have recently bought the rights of all characters of a play ‘Jis Laahor Nehi Vyakkhya’ and am now working on them.
Q.: You were making two other films – 'Prithviraj Chauhaan' and 'London Dreams'. What happened to those projects?
A.: No, I'm not working on them now. Actually other people are also thinking of making films on the same subject. So I dropped the idea. I don't want the repetition of issues like 'Legend of Bhagat Singh'. I cannot say anything about 'London Dreams' as I couldn't get dates of any actor for the film.
Q.: We have heard that Salman Khan wants to make that film with Vipul Shah….
A.: Yeah, I have also heard about that. If Salman wants it that way then I have to objection to it. On the other hand, these days I'm very busy, too.
Q.: Shahrukh also made ‘Ashoka’, but that couldn't get success. What will you do with your film to make people like it?
A.: See, the first thing is it's such a huge subject that it needs more research. Even though you are ready to try a hand at that job your mettle must be praised. No doubt they researched on that subject and we also are researching on it. But there's a hell lot of difference between their and my films. They ended their film with the war of Kalinga and our story will start from that point. The story of our film and the treatment of the story are quite unique. I think the audience will enjoy a different historical movie mainly women-oriented. It's actually based on Ashoka's last wife Tisya Rakshita portrayed by Bipasha Basu.
Q.: How do you look at your journey in Bollywood?
A.: Well, it has been quite interesting. I have seen both failures and successes. I feel proud of my films because despite being based on social issues they were appreciated by the audience. I never tried to copy any English movie and have always tried to go for unique subjects. It's an open secret that many well-known directors are simply copying English movies. And at the same time, stars are acting in them. And the most hilarious part is that they copy films even frame to frame and also never hesitate to say that they have been inspired by those foreign films.
-Rajnee Gupta (SAMPURN)