Sudhir Mishra is a director of his own league. The realism married with a pinch of entertainment in his films, manages to captivate the audiences with the stories he wants to narrate through cinema. His 30 year long journey started with Bollywood’s unforgettable classic ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’ as a screenwriter. It was in 1987 when his debut film ‘Yeh Woh Manzil To Nahi’ which won his a National Award. He then went onto direct film like Chameli, Dharavi, Khoya Khoya Chand among many others and is all set to release his latest flick ‘Daas Dev’. The film stars Rahul Bhat, Richa Chadha and Aditi Rao Hydari in the lead.
Cinespeaks had a chat with the celebrated director Sudhir Mishra for his upcoming political thriller ‘Daas Dev’ and Leta find out what he has to say:
Q. What is the reason for the gap between your last film Inkaar and now?
Sudhir Mishra: I like to make individualistic films. I was working on a film called Mehrunnisa which didn’t work out and then I worked on another script which took a while and then the idea of making another Devdas came up. There are some films that you truly believe in and like. I’m completely consumed into it. Hopefully my next film will be bigger. I’m also working on something towards the web. I don’t want to rush into making one film after the other, there’s no point in that. Every film has to have a solid thought.
Q. How did the idea of revisiting the classic Dev Das come?
Sudhir Mishra: Just the idea of ‘Devdas’ is what you’ll see in my film. It’s not another version to it. It changed a lot in my head. Paro being there and the brothel in the second half along with Dev being put in a political environment. From alcohol the character becomes addicted to power. The Shakespeare inspiration came in where in I noticed a lot of similarities between Hamlet and Devdas. I come from a politician family and I remember my grandfather saying ‘Power is not Ours’. We lived an ordinary life and I imagined what would be my life if I had the political lineage. Chandramukhi is a present day woman who influences the politicians yet they claim they’re unaware of their existence. Such influential escorts even go on to handle their money. They’re seen in the corridors of power. The flaw in the character is her love for Dev. The story is about Dev and Paro’s political rivalry through Chandramukhi. Chandramukhi narrates the story of Dev and Paro. I’ve mentioned in the title that this film is a tribute to Shakespeare and my grandfather.
Q. How was it working with such a talented bunch of cast?
Sudhir Mishra: I’ve always worked with talented actors. I only cast ‘actors’. In the film Paro is this demure and coy girl and I saw Richa in that part. She’s done a terrific job. Similarly be it Aditi Rao Hydari, Rahul Bhat, Saurabh Shukla, Vipin Sharma, Vineet Kumar Singh, Anurag Kashyap, Anil George, Anil Sharma and many of them who make up this huge bunch of a talented cast. They take the film forward. You tell them something and they add to it. They bring a layer of their own which is remarkable. Aditi is fascinating, Saurabh is in all my films and now he is indeed a popular actor. It was great working with them because they only had to be triggered and they would take off. They were passionately involved.
Q. How is it directing another director? In this case, Anurag Kashyap for ‘Daas Dev’.
Sudhir Mishra: He’s like my younger brother. I can convey to him easily if something isn’t working out and he understands it. We get along really well. A director listens to the other director if they acted in their film. Directors are pretty mailable that way. We had a lot of fun. He is from the Indian heartland and a great actor. It’s a cameo but his part is in the beginning and the end of the film which resonates. It was a great idea to have him.
Q. Is it a risk having a not so popular actor as your lead who is heading an extremely talented cast?
Sudhir Mishra: I might be proved wrong but I think the audience is ready to accept good actors. I think it’s the right opportunity an actor waits for. There is nepotism around but talent will always prevail. I’m confident that people will come to watch Rahul. He has a hold among this amazing cast. There is a pressure too though.
Q. How confident are you about the music of the film?
Sudhir Mishra: The music of the film will slowly grow on people. We don’t have huge budgets but I request the audience to dedicate their time to listen to the songs. We have a lot of singers like Atif Aslam, Arko, Rekha Bharadwaj, Papon, Shardha Mishra, Swanand Kirkire and others who have sung to the music by Sandesh Shandhliya, Vipin Patwa, Shamir Tandon and Anupama Raag. If I’m allowed to be immodest, the music of my film is really good. Be it Chameli, Is Raat Ki Subah Nahi, Chup Tum Raho and M Cream. I mean Chameli had Mann Saath Samandar and Bhaage Re Man, So I believe I have done some good music.
Q. Apparently, Atif Aslam has refused to promote his song from the film given the controversy surrounding Babul Supriyo making producer Vashu Bhagnani avoid the song sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, a Pakistani singer, for a film of his. What would you like to say to Atif?
Sudhir Mishra: I would love Atif to promote the song.
Q. Papon, is also stuck in a controversy where he’s accused of an alleged misconduct with a minor of a singing reality show he’s judging. What’s your take on that?
Sudhir Mishra: The song he’s sung for us has been recorded an year back. I have no idea. I’m not politically inclined but I know that children need to be protected. I don’t know what happened. The Papon I know wouldn’t do such a thing. I can’t imagine him doing such a thing. I hope to God it’s untrue.
Q. What are the elements that make you confident about your film?
Sudhir Mishra: The engaging quality of the film will hold you. It’s a dramatic tale which is made on a big scale. I didn’t make a small film with Rahul Bhat. Big locations, the crowds, action, performances and songs will make for a great time. The film will engage you. You have a roller coaster ride.
Q. Sridevi is no more. How you feel about the legendary actress parting this world?
Sudhir Mishra: It is very tragic. Boney ji is like my elder brother, my heart goes out to him and his children. There is no bigger Pan India phenomenon as Sridevi, ever! And there will never be. She was the biggest Indian star in film industries of all South languages and Hindi too. She was loved from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. It’s a big loss for the family and for all of us because her second innings was just starting. She had a lot to give.