Zoya Akhtar’s movies go deep into real life issues of urban lifestyle. That’s because she feels it’s important to be aware of what you want the world to be like and put it across through your films. She also says the fee structure in the entertainment industry needs to change as technicians dont get paid enough…writes Nivedita
“The one thing is fee structure. I think actors get paid a lot and technicians don’t get paid enough and I think that it should change because a good film, which is like a complete package, needs every single member of that team. I think we need to pay them more,” Zoya told IANS over and email when asked about one thing she wishes to change in the entertainment industry.
She was talking on the sidelines of the announcement of “Tape Cast”, a content series presented by Grey Goose that manifests brand’s philosophy of celebrating life through moments big and small that define the journey of life.
Curated in collaboration with Anupama Chopra, the web series unravels the working of two great minds through an off-script conversation.
Each episode opens on a philosophical inquiry, from money to love, to life – questions that trouble everyone.
Talking about the troubles, what are the questions that make Zoya think? And how can the film industry and filmmakers like her can contribute in bringing about that change?
“As film makers or any artiste that put work out there, what you are doing on your level is that you are putting consciousness out into the world. So when you look around you and you see things that bother you and disturb you or you want to give it another perspective or you want to look at something from another angle, you have that opportunity and platform to do so.
“So, I think people who are aware and I don’t mean you have to make socially relevant films and have a message in each film. Even if it’s a completely entertaining film, your politics will come out… So I think you should just be aware of what you want the world to be like and somewhere put it through your films.”
The daughter of veteran film writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar, Zoya has directed movies such as “Luck by Chance”, “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”) and “Sheila Ki Jawani”, a segment of “Bombay Talkies”. She has co-written “Talaash” and went on to direct “Dil Dhadakne Do”, a film based on a dysfunctional Punjabi family.
Her forthcoming project is “Gully Boy”, starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt. It explores the world of street rappers.
“I like the genre of music, I like the idea of coming-of-age on a sense and it’s an underdog story. It’s the story about a boy…so everything attracted me to it, every single thing. And it’s a story about my city and Mumbai is a very special place.
“It’s one place where I honestly believe that anything can happen. Like you can go this way and be up there and you can go that way and fall down. You can literally feel the heat around the corner and this place is magic. If you sit here and all of it put together, it’s just very exciting, I just couldn’t resist.”
About her cast, she said the thought of pairing Alia and Ranveer is hardly unique.
“I am sure lot of people want to pair Alia and Ranveer. We wrote the part with Alia in mind and Ranveer in mind. So there was no question and we loved that they both said ‘yes’.
There’s something different about “Gully Boy” that Zoya pointed out
“This one is different because it’s maybe because your circumstances maybe completely different and your experience in life in terms of the way you navigate it and negotiate it maybe completely different. But if you can empathise with a character and if you can emotionally resonate with that character and understand their emotional journey, I think you are home. If you can recognize that in people, I think you can contribute to their story.
“You needn’t have lived that life. I mean tomorrow if I want to make a film about a queen that lived in the 15th century, I can’t be like I can’t make it. I should be able to make it. I should take that story and find that humanity in that story because everyone is a human being and we only operate in that gamut of emotions. So if we can resonate with that, I think that’s what it is.”