No more dishonest films for me, says Vikram Bhatt

Nov 1, 2006 Subhash K Jha

Mumbai, Nov 2 (IANS) Director Vikram Bhatt's acutely autobiographical film "Ankahee" didn't get the response he hoped for. But he's determined to do the cinema he believes in and is busy making the episodic film "Life Main Kabhi Kabhi".

"No more dishonest films for me. In my ready-for-release 'Red' I've done a thriller in authentic shades. And now I've just started a film 'Life Main Kabhi Kabhi' with a very interesting ensemble cast where the question of happiness is discussed," Vikram told IANS.

The story of five friends, played by Dino Morea, Sammir Dattani, Aftab Shivdasani, Nauheed Cyrusi and Anjori Alagh, is Vikram's first episodic film.

"I know episodic films are in vogue after 'Crash'. And we've some really interesting episodic films in Hindi like Naseer's 'Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota' and Nikhil Advani's forthcoming 'Salaam-e-Ishq'. But I chose to use that format for the first time in 'Life Main Kabhi Kabhi' because I believe a question like the nature of happiness needs a telescopic view. You can't talk about a theme as huge as happiness in an intimate linear style."

Vikram is really nervous about the new format.

"I've done innumerable films. But in this case I'm shooting five different lives on different nights and days. It's disorienting and confusing. Luckily for me, I've a terrific ensemble cast. Dino Morea with whom I did his first film 'Raaz' is back with me. Aftab Shivdasani, with whom I've done more films than V. Shantaram did with Sandhya, is back.

"Nauheed Cyrusi I've worked with earlier, and she's good. Anjori Alag (Maya Alagh's daughter) is a new discovery. She came to me through a friend of mine. She has done a lot of theatre in the US. But the real discovery of this film is Sammir Dattani. I'm completely surprised by his screen presence.

"Sammir is going to take the audience by surprise. He's very talented. I hope the film works for both of us. It tells us happiness doesn't come from material things but from people who love you. It does contain my values, but not any part of my life."

Interestingly, other directors like Sanjay Gupta are making introspective films.

"All of us who've gone through a gamut of techno-wizardry have discovered the value of an honest story. In 'Life Mein Kabhi Kabhi' there will be a lot of silences."

Regrets about "Ankahee"?

"I needed to get my own story out of my system. And I did. I wish it'd worked better. I can't say autobiographical films don't work. Mahesh Bhatt's 'Arth' did. I won't hesitate in putting another chunk of my life on screen, provided it's unique to the audience and not just me.

"I learnt something great out of 'Ankahee'... to make films from the heart. I will never make another crafty film in my life. Even if I make another comedy it wouldn't be like 'Awara Paagal Deewana' or 'Deewane Huye Paagal'. It'd be a cerebral comedy like 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai'. Great comedy like the ones of Charlie Chaplin move you. Even 'Life Mein Kabhi Kabhi' has its funny moments."

He continued, "At the end of the day, cinema is about entertainment. I'd hate to get preachy or screechy."

On a more personal note, Vikram is very happy with Ameesha Patel.

"Life is great. The two of us have gone through the grind. Now we're happy together. Marriage? Not for a long time. Ameesha has her own ambitions, and I don't want to come in the way. She wants to pursue her career. And I'm happy to just move back and give her that space. When you're in a permanent relationship, the ground rules have to be made very clear. Ameesha and I were sure we'd never come in each other's way. I'd never want her to compromise on her values or vision."

After so many years of togetherness Vikram does crave for marriage.

"But Ameesha is wonderful. She showers me with so much attention I never feel we aren't married. We're for keeps. People may keep digging into our lives to sniff out a separation. But sorry, we aren't obliging."

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