The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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ĎI think Iím Godís blessed childí

Q: Promos of Traffic Signal have upped curiosity level quite a bit. What is it all about'

Traffic Signal is a two-hour, five-minute movie with lots of characters. It comprises as many as 60 people. It is based on real-life incidents that evidently take place at a traffic signal everyday. There is no storyline as such. It is a slice of life. It is more situational and character-oriented. And it definitely has a dark humour to it. It is like my other movies, Chandni Bar, Page 3 and Corporate, narrating the real-life happenings.

Q: The cast of the film is quite interesting!

Yes, it includes Kunal Khemu, the protagonist from Kalyug, Neetu Chandra from Garam Masala and Konkona Sensharma in a special appearance along with Ranvir Shorey. Sudhir Mishra plays the villain in the film. Interestingly, he is a brilliant director whom I have turned into an actor. It also has theatre artistes and real-life beggars and eunuchs.

Q: Kunal Khemu is a rank newcomer. Did you have to work hard on him'

I really worked hard on him. See, whenever I make a film; I give all details about the character like their behaviour patterns, the way they talk, body language, etc to my artistes. I give them lots of references and make them meet the real-life people. In Page 3, I introduced Konkona to various journalists to get the exact viewpoint of the people involved in the industry. In Corporate, I took lots of inputs from the corporate world. The styling of business people and their mannerisms were derived from real life. I did the same thing with Kunal. I took him to places like Dharavi, Mahim (E), Bandra slums, pipeline areas and to traffic signals to see the actual life there. I made him interact with lots of people so that he becomes aware of their language, texture and mannerisms.

Q: How did you zero in on Neetu Chandra after she was completely lost in the crowd in Garam Masala'

In Garam Masala, she was definitely lost in the crowd comprising three girls and two actors. But in my movie, she has a very substantial role. I had judged her mettle as an actor and I believe she has done complete justice.

Q: We read somewhere that one would see Konkona Sensharma abusing a lot in the movie. How easy, rather uneasy, was it for her'

Konkona didnít want to do the film initially, when she came to know that she has to use swear words and foul language. Her wardrobe in the movie is very loud. She thought it would not suit her and she was not very comfortable with the typical Mumbaiya language.

Q: So how did you eventually manage to persuade her'

I told her to copy me, the way I talk and behave. So she just started imitating me. Being a quick learner, she portrayed the character as demanded. She has done a very good job.

Q: Can you recall any incident from the sets of Traffic Signal'

You know, when we were shooting on the sets of Traffic Signal, lots of guests used to come and visit. They would actually give away money to the artistes thinking that they were actual beggars and eunuchs.

Q: How do you always land up choosing unconventional plots for your movies'

I feel there are lots of subjects in our country which are still left untouched. I believe in making different cinema by exploring such subjects that serve as a mirror to the society. I like to make films of social relevance that can be commercially successful and critically acclaimed, too. People love my work, they enjoy the kind of movies I make and I am happy about it.

Q: What about your upcoming movie based on the fashion industry'

I donít want to talk about that movie as of now. I am still writing the script and the cast is not yet decided.

Q: Your journey from Trishakti to Corporate has been quite eventful! Now you have made it to the A-list of directors. How do you feel about it'

I feel great whenever I look back. I always tell people that I started as a struggler with no godfather and no big actors to support me. In Bollywood, where people worship success from Friday to Friday, I made my kind of cinema without big names, but I still made a niche and brand for myself. Even after coming here and facing such turmoil, ups and downs and a flop movie, Trishakti, I made a name and got my place in the sun. I have got two National Awards for my movies. I really have come a long way. I think Iím Godís blessed child.


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