Started Yaara after I received flak for Bullett Raja: Tigmanshu Dhulia

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Written by Priyanka Sharma
| Mumbai |

Published: July 29, 2020 9:11:00 pm


tigmanshu dhulia yaara Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Yaara is set to stream on ZEE5 from July 30.

The last few years haven’t been easy for Tigmanshu Dhulia. Since Bullett Raja in 2013, the filmmaker has seen a spate of unsuccessful films and also suffered a long delay in the release of an ambitious project. Yaara, which he completed in 2016, is finally set to premiere on ZEE5.

A relieved Dhulia speaks to indianexpress.com about the crushing wait for Yaara’s release, casting for the multi-starrer and how it became a response to the criticism he received for Bullett Raja.

What kept Yaara away from screens for almost four years?

It was nobody’s fault. I will not blame anyone. I won’t blame the producers. I think we couldn’t release Yaara at that time because of the economics which changed in the industry. Suddenly the satellite price went down drastically. A film that we quote for Rs 10 crore on satellite was down to three crore. That’s the reason we couldn’t release it.

How does a director cope with that wait?

It is very disheartening. It’s been happening to me since I have started making films. My first film, Haasil, got delayed. Then Paan Singh Tomar got delayed. Shagird got delayed. I am used to it now.

Now that it’s releasing online, did you have apprehensions about it? Would you have preferred a theatrical release?

I will not deny that the film was made for the big screen and I would have loved a theatrical release, But again I cannot blame anyone. These are the times. What to say? It’s nobody’s fault. The film has been bought at a fairly good price. You never know when theaters will open and even if they do open, I don’t know how many people will come to watch a film.

People are saying they will start shooting in October-November. I don’t think so. Even if the brave ones step out to shoot, I don’t think things will become normal. Only if you are desperate, you start shooting because you will have to script the film accordingly. You can’t have crowd and people making love on screen. You can’t do action sequences. So, your entire creativity will be compromised.

The 2011 French film, A Gang Story, serves as an inspiration for Yaara. What was it about A Gang Story that you felt could be told as a Hindi film?

This is the first time I am remaking a film. I was very apprehensive when Sunir Kheterpal gave me A Gang Story to watch. I told him I would not make a remake. If something has been made by someone, let’s celebrate it, and we could make something new. I told him there’s no dearth of good stories. He insisted that I watch it.

While watching A Gang Story, I felt it was also a remake of the best film ever made in the world – Once Upon A Time in America. It is a masterpiece. It’s better than Godfather. When I saw this simple version of Once Upon A Time in America, I got really excited. I thought let’s do it. Then I adapted A Gang Story into the Indian scenario.

What were the do’s and don’ts while localising the story?

There were no don’ts. It’s a journey of four friends. It starts in a period and then goes for several decades, which itself is very interesting for any writer. When you are dealing with a story across time, all departments of filmmaking come into play. It is very challenging and interesting for any filmmaker. That’s why I said yes to this film.

When you worked with this wonderful bunch of actors, they weren’t as big as they are today. They were still quite raw, which we can also see in the trailer. Was it a conscious decision to cast relatively new actors?

Yaara was a difficult film to cast. Earlier I had thought of casting older people but making them look young became a challenge. It is easier to make young people look old than the other way around. So, we decided to cast actors who were in their late 20s or early 30s. Because it’s a story of four friends, we wanted all of them to be at par with one another. Casting is something that I started in this country. I was the first casting director, starting from Bandit Queen. If you have seen that film, it has been cast really well.

You have worked with the biggest stars as well as newcomers. Would you say working with relatively new actors, especially for a film like Yaara, is easier?

In a way, you are right. The new actors like Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor and Varun Dhawan come from a different sensibility. They haven’t become stereotyped. Otherwise, the generation before, they all have become like Laurel and Hardy. You can cast them only in certain roles. So, it becomes easy for me to work with newcomers because they are not carrying any baggage. They don’t have an image of sorts.

Have you felt that the success of some of your films, like Haasil, Paan Singh Tomar and Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster, has loomed large on everything that you have done later?

No, not really because I know that’s how the world works. It happens to everybody. Martin Scorsese is always judged by Taxi Driver, no matter how many films he makes. It happens to all artistes. The newer generation will look at the new work as something fresh, especially Yaara. Yaara is a different world. I am so hopeful that people will love it. There’s so much detailing in it. And this kind of detailing has been in all the three films of mine, which you mentioned. I am very positive about it.

In recent years, some of your work hasn’t been successful. What’s your coping mechanism for failures? Do you detach yourself from a film after it is over?

No, there’s no detachment. When a film fails, it affects me.

So, how do you pick yourself up?

The next film! I made Yaara just after Bullett Raja, for which I got a lot of flak. I still love the film. I like Saif and myself in it. So much action, fun and great dialogues. But people say, ‘How could Tigmanshu Dhulia make such a film?’ If there was another director, it wouldn’t have been a problem. I started Yaara after that and I said, ‘I will show you!’ Yaara was that (project) for me, where I felt I would do something interesting.

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