Zoya Akhtar: ‘Farhan and I are dying to do a gangster film’
Zoya Akhtar has worked with her brother Farhan in Luck By Chance, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Dhadakne Do.
Not one to follow the set norms, filmmaker Zoya Akhtar has believed in doing things at her own will and pace. She has completed a decade in Bollywood but one look at her filmography — four feature films, three anthologies and two episodes of a web series — it’s evident that Zoya isn’t running any race. “You know, I don’t feel I need to keep having a release,” she says on being asked why we don’t see her direct more often.
Zoya made her directorial debut in 2009 with Luck By Chance and she followed it up with films such as Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), Dil Dhadakne Do (2015) and Gully Boy (2019).
“I took so long to make (my first) films. So when I finally did it, I actually made two films back to back and I was exhausted,” shares Zoya, who further goes on to reveals, “Also, at that point, I was dating a Spanish guy who lived in London, so I spent lot of time away, in Europe, with him. So, it was kind of a break I took because I had been working consistently and it felt nice.”
Refusing to compare her body of work with other filmmakers, Zoya insists that she needs to get that push from within and only then she can make a film. “I have to have a story I really want to tell, and then it makes sense to put things out there. So if you see, 2018 was again crazy for me. I did Lust Stories, Made in Heaven and Gully Boy. So, I have those spurts where I get completely mad because I have those stories to tell but if I don’t have, I’m happy to kick back also,” explains Zoya, who also writes, “and hence, it takes me that much longer to get there and direct a film”.
Having explored a spectrum of genres including her last, horror anthology Ghost Stories, Zoya has certainly not put her kind of cinema into any box. And therefore, she doesn’t have a particular genre in mind when it comes to writing scripts.
“I like movies too much. I watch all kinds of films. In a way, all filmmakers are basically audience. Because you love the movies is why you’re here pursuing it as your life, your compulsion, your profession. I like most genres. So, tomorrow if I want to repeat a road movie or a rap movie, I will. I’ll do what I want. Whatever story excites me…” asserts Zoya, who currently is looking for a good gangster film story or cops and gagster drama. “Now that’s my favourite genre, but I haven’t come across any material that I want to tell, but I am actively looking for it because I want to do one.”
Also, it has been quite some time since Dil Dhadakne Do that she directed her brother, actor Farhan Akhtar on the big screen. Asked if there are any plans to collaborate soon and pat comes a reply, “I don’t know. Find me a gangster film. Farhan and I are dying to do one. We are looking for a good script.”
After these 10 years she has spent in the industry, asked how she has evolved as a filmmaker and are there are discoveries, Zoya says she really enjoys doing things she hasn’t done. “I have friends and experience from everywhere; I’ve worked in all kinds of locations and situations and in all kinds of job profiles, so there’s a varied experience that comes handy. And there’s something nice when you do something you’ve to push yourself to do it. Then, you are a little more alive, awake, a little more excited and with fingers crossed that ‘Will I get it right?’ So, it’s a good feeling.”
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