Life of a ‘flop’ director

Satyameva Jayate director Milap Zaveri narrates his journey after being written off in Bollywood and struggling to find work to getting John Abraham to star in his film. 

  • Published 15.08.18
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Milap Zaveri (centre) with Satyameva Jayate actors Manoj Bajpayee (left) and John Abraham (right)

Satyameva Jayate director Milap Zaveri narrates his journey after being written off in Bollywood and struggling to find work to getting John Abraham to star in his film.

Mastizaade left me in a bad space — nobody wanted to give me work and few people showed faith in me. Since I had no work as such, I had to create work. I made a short film called Raakh, which got me some respect. I had written Shootout at Wadala, Kaante, but nobody remembered that. People only spoke about the adult comedies.

A short film is just a short film. There is no box office involved. Then I started looking for work to make a feature film. I narrated the script of Satyameva Jayate to Monisha Advani and she loved it and without even asking Nikhil (Advani), she confirmed that they would produce it. Nikhil always says we conned him into producing the film!

Now, I needed an actor, but no actor wanted to work with me. That’s when Rohit Dhawan (director) suggested that I contact John Abraham. Rohit told me that John was the only actor who did not care about your last film. If he likes your film, he will do it.

When I messaged John, he immediately called me.

I went and narrated the script and I knew John had loved it. But he said he needed 48 hours to think about it. What happened after that was amazing. John called Rohit and told him that he had heard a great script, but that Milap wanted to direct it. The problem was that my last film was Mastizaade. Rohit told John that my last film was actually Raakh and that he should watch it to understand what I was capable of and then take a decision. John told me I was very lucky to have a friend like Rohit. I think John saw Raakh and called to tell me he would be doing the film.

For everyone who did not want to work with me, I understand. They all were looking out for themselves. Every Friday your destiny changes. They were right in their thought.

Since the trailer of Satyameva Jayate released, all of them have messaged me, met me, chatted with me, said they loved the trailer. They have been positive and encouraging. Some of them said sorry. I said it was ok.

A famous journalist, who had met me a few days after Mastizaade, said: “Whatever you do in your life, you will never be able live down the tag of the sex comedy king of India.” She did not mean to hurt me, but it just broke me that day. I don’t think I will ever make an adult comedy again.

As told to Noyon Jyoti Parasara 

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