Where did the seed of your upcoming film Middle Class Love sprouted?
I have studied from Delhi Public School, Delhi. This is a very hi-fi school. While my parents, being from UP, spoke only in Hindi, could not speak English. Posh children with expensive vehicles used to come to our school to study, whose mothers used to wear jeans with chikan kurtas. This is about 80-85 years. I used to be very ashamed that my mother comes in saree and slippers and other’s moms being so modern. There used to be a complex in those times that we might not be as cool as others. I have gone through all this, but then there comes a point when you understand that parents are the ones who do life for you. It is true that the middle class saves money in everything, but they do it for the betterment of their children. Now as we were two sisters in our house, the parents had saved money for my and my sister’s wedding, but then I used to get irritated that we should feed samosas or ice cream from work. Is it stingy all the time? Then there comes a point, when children think that I am smarter than my parents, as my son has told me that he is smarter than me, then this is the cycle of life. The hero (Preet Kamani) in this film is actually living my journey. He has to be cool. This film of mine is a celebration of middle class. It is a celebration of his values.
Your first film Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana had rich actors like Rajkummar Rao along with famous heroines like Kriti Kharbanda, but this time you have given chance to a lot of new faces (Preet Kamani, Esha Singh Kavya Thapar). Reason?
This is the story of 16-17 year old age group children. It was very difficult to have such non-face, which also looks fresh. With the exception of Aamir Khan of 3 Idiots, the characters of college going students needed fresh faces. The second thing is that if we do not give opportunities to new people, then how will new faces come in the industry? I am hopeful about the film. The film has music by Himesh Reshammiya and three songs that have been released so far are being well received.
What were the challenges you faced as a female director?
There are challenges. Mail ego is there in any field. There is an ego about working under women. Even the stars can hardly give you equal status. You will either be higher or lower than them. Tell them to say, but equal status is hardly available. There are very few men who consider women equal. In my case, on the basis of my work, I have established friendship and done my work by making the other person comfortable. But I must say that when you have to handle a unit of 150-two hundred people on the set, it is not easy. You have to deal with it.
If I talk about Rajkummar Rao, how did he prove to be an actor for you in your first film?
I love secrets. The character Raj did for sure aana in marriage, hardly anyone could have played it that way. Recently I met Raj and he told me that he should go to some show or somewhere else people call him by the name of Sattu (Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’s character). Raj is a very outgoing actor, it was a pleasure working with him.
Tell us about your film journey?
I started my career directing music videos. I used to make music videos for Anubhav (his ex-husband filmmaker Anubhav Sinha) and his younger brother. Then we were doing a show. That’s when Anubhav got the opportunity to start his film journey as a director. Anubhav told me to handle the show. Then I did many TV shows. But later the car changed the way the TV worked. There was a lot of interference. Then I called off one of my running shows because I was not getting satisfaction. I produced that show. I was tired of TV shows. I wanted to bring in Middle Class Luv as my first film, but it was very difficult in this industry to make a film with new faces and a new director. But then the coming to the wedding definitely happened suddenly. I co-wrote the screenplay of Kamal Pandey’s story along with Jatin and Madhavi. Raj (Raj Kumar Rao) liked the story and the shooting dates of one of his films were cancelled, in which Raj expressed his desire to do my film and it became a thing.
How has Anubhav Sinha proved to be a support system for you?
They are very supportive. Anubhav and Zee Studios have shown complete confidence in me as a producer about this film that I can make a good film. He did not even meet the three actors of the film. All three artists come from a non-filmy background in the industry. The special thing about me and Anubhav is that both of us make different types of films. think differently. If my film is a little light, then experience puts its depth in it, in the same way if experience is heavy, then I say, make a little light. We balance each other. But never interfere.
What would you like to say on the boycott trend that is going on in Bollywood films?
The general public is not bothered by the boycott trend. This is a special class, which has its own advantage and is engaged in this trend. If I want to see Brahmastra, then I will see it. Whoever has to see, he will see. I don’t think this trend will last long. Tomorrow Shahrukh Khan’s film will come, then the whole of India will see it. Now people are going to see the ten-fifteen minute performance of Sharukh Khan in ‘Brahmastra’ itself. People will go to see Ranbir Kapoor and Alia. Social media has become very harmful in today’s era. Anything is being written hiding behind the handle. Lal Singh Chaddha has to bear the brunt of this. People should think that this is not only the loss of Aamir Khan, it is the loss of 600 people associated with him.